Post-punk, dark goth powerhouse Executioner’s Mask are back following their powerful debut full-length, Despair Anthems and their latest album, Winterlong, released this June on Profound Lore, was well worth the wait. Winterlong features, in the band’s own words, a “less raw,” more polished sound, highlighted by double-tracked vocals and other studio tricks. But in no way has it lost its signature grit and backbone.
“The themes of the record are really a symbolic death and rebirth,” says vocalist and project mastermind Jay Gambit. “That in a destructive world, we can spiral downwards through into a new self, creating flashes of beauty within the insanity. To me, it was kind of an emulation of what it was like to kind of just exist within the past few years with everything going on, and environmentally as well. And I recently had a spinal surgery, which put a lot of my world into a new perspective. Winterlong to me is very much an album that is reflective. There’s a lot of inner turmoil played out the only way you can, which is externally.”
The themes of rebirth are not only personal, but extend to the scene in general, and Gambit couldn’t be happier to witness the scene flourishing after a period of pandemic stasis.
“I think that the global post punk scene is so fruitful right now,” he says. “We’re in such a wonderful position that it reminds me of 2013 and watching bands like Full of Hell explode and change art in underground music as we know it. I’m seeing the same thing within the post punk world. And it’s just a real honor to be able to be somebody that is listened to and spoken about within a community that’s so diverse and so powerful right now. I couldn’t want anything more as a musician and as a fan of post punk and dark music.”
Moving from polished symbolism into new, exciting directions, Gambit is already thinking ahead and towards the next phase of creative output.
“The next record is going to be a lot less compositionally rigid than this one,” Gambit says. “Not that there’s anything wrong with being straightforward, but I think we are going to move in a more amorphous direction with how everything gets structured.”
With the promise of even more music in store in the future, Gambit leaves us with words of wisdom for humanity during this still-trying time.
“Now more than ever is a time for kindness and community. The brutality of the past year or two was unwavering, and everyone is trying to rebuild and/or redefine their lives. If you can make someone’s life better, do it. Try to help some creature every day to have a better future than their past and present would dictate. It could be something big like fostering an animal or small as a positive comment on an independent creator’s YouTube video for the algorithm. We are all helpless in a grand sense, but it’s better to be bludgeoned by that helplessness knowing that you’re at least actively and tangibly trying to make the world better.”
Watch the video for “Your Ghost” here:
Photo courtesy of Paper Tiger