Colorado Springs sits on a densely creative stretch of highway, in between artistically and musically rich Denver and New Mexico, and sometimes these scenes merge and work closely with one another. Excruciatingly heavy sludge outfit ORYX, originally from Las Cruces, New Mexico, was used to traveling up here for shows and now resides in Denver. Their bassist lives in Colorado Springs. From touring DIY to supporting doom legends Electric Wizard on their U.S. tour, and now signing with a killer indie label, ORYX has been making moves... spicy moves.
Metal magazine Decibel just premiered their new song, “Misery,” featuring guest vocals from Erika Osterhout of Scolex and Chthonic Deity. It’s the perfect dark blend of melody, bleakness and crushing heaviness. It’s so heavy, even a bro in a Monster Energy hat and a Tapout tank top wouldn’t be able to lift it.
“Misery” is the first single off the upcoming ORYX album Lamenting a Dead World, which is their third full-length and their first with Philadelphia-based record label Translation Loss Records. The band has always done things DIY but being on a small, independent label works.
“Translation Loss Records is the best fit for us right now, because we have had strong DIY roots as a band and want to retain our autonomy and be as hands-on as possible,” says drummer Abby Davis. “The way that they give such incredible attention to detail and enhance the creative vision of the artist with extra effort in layouts and color-splattered vinyl really called our name for a partnership. We couldn’t be happier.”
ORYX started with Tommy and Abby Davis (voted heavy metal’s hottest power couple four years in a row by me!). In 2018, the duo became a trio after recruiting Colorado Springs master shredder Eric Dodgion (Blighter, Hellhound, Rhogog) on bass.
“Exactly when we met Eric is kind of a blur. It seems like we’ve been best buddies with him for a lifetime now. But I do know that our first CO Springs show was at The Triple Nickel in 2013 with Rhogog and Blighter, and that one was memorable despite the copious amount of alcohol,” explains guitarist/vocalist Tommy Davis.
“Years later, we needed a resident strongman to help us load gear and sling merch and he joined us for a short stint through Arizona and New Mexico. In 2018, we played our first show with him as our bass guitarist opening for Sleep at the Ogden Theatre. Over the next couple months and a lot of tequila, we convinced him that it totally wouldn’t suck to join as a permanent member and he’s loved every minute of it,” laughs Tommy.
After that first show, bonds were made and ORYX were no longer strangers to the Springs.
“We started coming up to Colorado Springs and Denver from Las Cruces, New Mexico, to play and attend shows about nine years ago,” Abby says. “We had our debut album Widowmaker’s record release show in the Springs at one of our favorite venues ever, the Flux Capacitor. That show was so killer and means so much to us, because of the lifelong friendships that were built from then on.”
“The Flux crew and community are a big reason as to why we chose to live here,” she adds. “You don’t find that kind of camaraderie and vibrant scene often! We moved to Denver about six years ago and haven’t looked back since.”
Lamenting a Dead World is a very thought-out, mature album. “It is a complex album by our standards. We were able to spend more time with it due to COVID-19 halting the world around us. Recording got delayed by several months and we spent the time introspectively,” says Tommy. “We also used the extra time to bring in collaboration from friends Erika Osterhout, Paul Riedl [Blood Incantation], and Ethan McCarthy [Primitive Man]. The result is a heaviness and eclecticism that I hope will define us for the foreseeable future.”
The album was recorded in Denver at Juggernaut Audio by Ben Romsdahl and mastered in Oakland by Greg Wilkinson. Lamenting a Dead World will be released on vinyl and digitally April 30. You can preorder through Translation Loss, translationloss.com/products/lamenting-a-dead-world.
In more Colorado Springs/Denver crossovers, hardcore hunks Mindz Eye released their new EP True Blue in December. Half of the band’s members live in Colorado Springs, the other half in Denver. The album is a great blend of spacy shoegazy vibes mixed with groovy hardcore reminiscent of bands like Turnstile and Angel Dust. It was recorded in Colorado by Taylor Hahn at Hahn Audio and mastered by Seth Munsen. The awesome cover art is done by Colorado Springs artist Caleb Butcher. You can find the album on all major streaming services.