Friday, March 27, 2009

Religious to Damn @ Wierd

In the early hours of Thursday morning, the crowd at Wierd crushed close to witness Religious to Damn's New York City return. Holed up in the studio since their last appearance in the dead of summer, the band brought a signature snarling spirit to the show that I had yet to encounter from earlier incarnations. Frontwoman Zohra Atash began the set with a bang, her pointed, shimmering sounds matched adeptly by her costumery. Guitar by Blacklist's Josh Strawn added a killer heaviness to songs like "Animal Dance," where Zohra's soprano cut scythe-like and silvery through the music with a brash sweetness akin to Kate Bush's performance on "The Wedding List." The opener was followed by her first single, the delicately seductive "Falls Down Again," and eventually the glimmering gospel, "Let the Fires Burn," which will feature a cameo by Tamaryn on record. The set ended too soon with "The Bell," where harmonium and violin ascended into heavenly noise with a delightfully sick crescendo. The tension will continue to build until Religious to Damn's late 2009 release. (For more images, visit Naomi Ramirez's photo set on Wierd Records' Flickr page.)

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