Beastmaker Lusus Naturae on Limited Edition LP
"In a world of pop music we are freaks. We do everything completely opposite of what the current formula of doing things is. We recorded and produced everything ourselves with no outside influences. We play a style of music that is underground. We are all freaks of nature." So proclaims Beastmaker singer, guitarist and mastermind Trevor William Church. Hence the title of Beastmaker's debut: Lusus Naturae, or Freak Of Nature. "When you think differently and do things unconventionally, you are an outsider," he ventures. "We wanted to bring a natural essence back into music the best way we could in a digital world."
Beastmaker hail from the unlikely locale of Fresno, California. Sweating profusely in a parched no man's land about three and a half hours northeast of Los Angeles, the city isn't exactly a cultural mecca – and yet it's the birthplace of Hollywood outsiders and weirdos like Sid Haig, Slim Pickens and director Sam Peckinpah. Still, it suffers from an unsurprising dearth of musicians interested in heavy rock.
Though Church had the concept for Beastmaker as far back as 2006, it wasn't until he and drummer Andres Alejandro Saldate, aka Juan Bonham, hooked up with bassist John Tucker in 2014 that the band was fully realized. "I was really inspired by old bands and metal," Church explains. "From the Zombies to Slayer, from Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons to Black Sabbath. I was really into NWOBHM and what bands like Witchcraft are doing now. After many failed attempts and at least five bands in between, we found John and finally had a solid lineup."
Bleak and burly overtones of Sabbath, Pentagram and Witchfinder General ring through Lusus Naturae like echoes from a haunted past. Slow-rolling bruisers "Eyes Are Watching," "Arachne" and "It" set the tone of doom and despair with nods to heavy '70s classics, cult horror flicks and the inimitable work of one Mr. Glenn Anzalone. "When it comes to genre, I think of us as a much slower version of the Misfits or Danzig, but I've come to love the word ‘Doom' whether or not it really relates to us," Church offers. "It just feels like home."
Beastmaker's lyrical landscape is awash in imagery from midnight movies and the dark arts, but that's only part of the picture. "I like to make up stories," Church says simply. "I use horror movies and the occult as influences but rarely directly. For instance, ‘Mask of Satan' is me paying homage to the great horror film Black Sunday very directly. On the other hand, ‘You Must Sin' is about a woman longing for love and finding it in the most bizarre place, but John will tell you it's a political song. I like to think that people come up with their own interpretations of what the songs mean and let their minds run free."