Pile of Priests is not a moniker that falls lightly on the ears. It doesn't take much context to realize that this band, which releases its latest EP, Tenebrous Labyrinth, tonight, Friday, November 24, at Lost Lake Lounge, hates organized religion and all that it stands for.
"We despise the role of religion in modern society and blatantly mock the ignorant, pious slaves or religious fanatics," explains guitarist and singer Evan Salvador. "We believe in upholding good morals solely by your own personal merits and without fear of repercussions from a man-made god. Religion is dark-age propaganda, an endless loophole of fictional reasoning, and is just plain childish. Metal has always been associated with the Devil and evil. Whether it's the imagery or the ideology, it has always shocked and angered those who oppose it, which further feeds the fires of opposition."
Pile of Priests is adding its own fuel to this fire of opposition with Tenebrous Labyrinth. The act's debut, Void to Enlightenment, released at the end of 2015, put it on the map as far as proggy, thrashy death metal goes. After that, the band started opening for the likes of Artillery, Vader and Immolation. Pile of Priests is proud of the way its sound has progressed on this new EP, in terms of both content and style.
Inspired by ’90s death and thrash, the trio, made up of Salvador, Patrick Leyn on bass and Evan Night on drums, initially formed as an outlet for writing about frustrating things and as a response to the "pseudo-metal" acts it despised. Pile of Priests writes about religion, historical events surrounding religion, current events and the human struggle.
"I met Patrick back in 2009, when we were working at the same place," Salvador says. "We got to talking about metal, and he invited me to come jam with him and his friend Sean Bartholomew, our former drummer. We all loved death and thrash metal, so our musicianship clicked immediately. Thus Pile of Priests was formed. Sean left the band in December of 2011, and our friend Evan from Suns of Sorath quickly jumped on board and has been our loyal drummer ever since. As far as our inspiration, we have always had the desire to create unique metal that didn't sound like mainstream, recycled crap, yet is reminiscent of the great pioneer metal bands of the ’80s and ’90s."
From there, the band recorded its debut EP, but hit a lot of snags on the way.
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"Recording our first EP in 2011 was a long, stressful endeavor," Salvador explains. "It started out great. We were recording with a pretty well-known producer in a really nice studio. After the drums were recorded, our producer became very busy with his other job and began postponing recording sessions. After a couple of months with no further progress, he passed us off to finish with his apprentice. The whole EP took us eight months to complete. All the songs were written prior to entering the studio, so it should have only taken a month or two at most."
Despite this setback, the band continued to push forward, and is now releasing Tenebrous Labyrinth.
"Our sound has evolved on every release, and we have agreed that this EP to come is the pinnacle of our sound thus far," Salvador said. "It's fast, evil, melodic and incorporates other styles of metal besides death metal."