Long Island, New York, quartet Sigils make highly emotional doom full of soaring vocals, melancholy guitars, and lyrics about witchcraft and ghosts, told from a marginalized perspective. The band grew out of the meeting of vocalist Salvatore Rex and former Shai Hulud/Hollow Earth guitarist Tom Colello, who started writing music together, initially with the intention of keeping it to themselves, but then Rex began to realize that the deeply personal songs might be worth sharing. The stunning new single, "Faceless," which premieres here, is representative of the band's sound and spirit, as captured on its debut album, You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves, due March 22nd (you can pre-order it here).
"When I wrote 'Faceless,' I was going through a particularly difficult time," Rex says. "I was talking to a close friend who was also going through some things of their own. We talked about these terrible night terrors we both had. A lot of our anxiety was about growing up and the fear of losing ourselves in adulthood and its trappings. I took the ideas and feelings from these dreams we talked about and made them into a kind of ghost story for grown ups."
You Built the Altar, You Lit the Leaves draws on the singer's experiences as a queer person coming of age in the often hyper-masculine and actively unwelcoming world of metal and hardcore, and his efforts to come to terms with his "feeling of otherness" and to heal old wounds. "A lot of these songs are about my process of discovering ritual as a part of my day-to-day experience," Rex explains. "There's a lot about the concept of witchcraft, the history of women who were persecuted and murdered for their nonconformity. And a little bit of awe in these old practices, rotes, rituals and smells. It's all oddly healing, in a way.
"Writing about these historically persecuted people came out of me thinking critically about the feeling of otherness. Growing up as a queer kid and going to metal shows, it was not the most welcoming environment. It was a culture that praised masculinity above all else. The women who dared to go to metal shows were frequently harassed and belittled. I never met anyone who didn't identify as straight who hung around very long. When I was 21, I went to some little local metal show — I can't even remember who was playing. I remember watching one of the bands when some guy who was quite well-known around these parts walked up to me, called me a faggot, punched me in the face and spit on me. No one did a thing. I swore off the whole thing for a long time.
"After I met Tom Colello and we became as close as we have, I decided to rethink my hiatus from a scene I felt thoroughly rejected by. We had lots of talks about my experiences with homophobia in that world. We started writing this music with the idea that it would be private, for us. Then, after getting to know more people involved in this scene, I thought it was far more important for me to be here, to be a person that even one weird, scared kid can look at and say, 'Well, if there's someone else like me here, maybe I deserve to be here, too.' I don't think I'm going to change metal music. It was just important for me to reclaim something I love, on my terms."