Karyn Crisis Readies New Book, Plans Signing Events

Gospel of the Witches, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Karyn Crisis is a name synonymous with brilliant artistry, be it music, visual arts, poetry, clothing, or really any endeavors she has set out to tackle in her 25 years+ career. Known as much for her musical output with Crisis, Ephel Duath, and The Gospel Of The Witches, she is now bringing her new book Italy’s Witches and Medicine Women: Volume 1 to the masses. Get the details on pre-orders, special merchandise, and a non-traditional book tour which include performances, readings, signings and much more. Continue reading

On The Road… with Karyn Crisis – The Gospel Of The Witches

Gospel of the Witches, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Gospel of the Witches, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

On a hot summer night in New York City; Queens to be exact saw the mighty return of the one and only Karyn Crisis. She didn’t really go away anywhere, as she has continued to work and create music for years, if somewhat under the radar. While the denizens of The Big Apple might recall the death wail that was her voice at the front woman/force of nature at the helm of death metal legends Crisis in the 90s, Karyn’s new project is no less deadly, yet in different ways. The Gospel of The Witches is a different kind of brutality, one with all the shades of her soul on display. Several years in the making, The Gospel of the Witches’ album Salem’s Wounds (Century Media) seemed destined to be made by Karyn and her partner Davide Tiso (Ephel Duath). Joining them for this live performance were Ross Dolan (Immolation) Bob Vigna (Immolation), Charlie Schmid (Tombs) and Larry Burns on sound. The crowd at Blackthorn 51was enraptured by Karyn et all and their rituals, as captured here by photography Omar Cordy for Ghost Cult.

Gospel of the Witches, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Gospel of the Witches, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Gospel of the Witches, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Gospel of the Witches, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Gospel of the Witches, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Gospel of the Witches, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Gospel of the Witches, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Gospel of the Witches, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Gospel of the Witches, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

Gospel of the Witches, by Omar Cordy/OJC Pics

[slideshow_deploy id=’31478′]

Karyn Crisis’ The Gospel of The Witches – Salem’s Wounds

karyn crisis gospel of the witches salems wounds

After speaking with Karyn Crisis back in April, regarding the beginnings of lifting this very special project of hers off the ground, it’s a beautiful thing to see it fully manifest into this unique occult masterpiece. From the countless hours spent, hand writing cards, creating original art work and hand crafted, bark and moss covered lyric books to thank her financial supporters, the dedication to this creative calling has been crafted into a powerful ghostly presence; an ode to the Tuscan Witch who brought her on this journey. Accompanying her are husband Davide Tiso (Ephel Duath,) guitarist and collaborator, Bob Vigna (guitar) and Ross Dolan (bass/backup vocals) from Immolation, Mike Hill of Tombs on vocals, Larry Burns (sounds) and Charlie Schmid (Vaura) on drums. Out on Century Media Records Karyn Crisis’ Gospel Of The WitchesSalem’s Wounds is set to be released March 24th, 2015.


Influenced by the elements and their omnipresence, ‘Omphalos’ approaches symbolic power in a haunting cry to the earth, seeping into the soil like to remain hidden or emerge as flame to ignite, spreading like wild fire to consume all things. “I am no one, I am nothing, I am nowhere. I am everything, I am everywhere, I am everyone,” she chants.

Back to back, tracks ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’ weave the origins of the gospel of the witches together.

From a word which carries such nurturing and love, ‘Mother’ is our primordial creatrix. The goddess of the moon, Diana, is transformed into a sacrificial display of of gorgeous atmospherics and powerful growls, chased with layers of death choir backing vocals. ‘Father,’ a plea to Lucifer, god of light, emanates much brighter with it’s atmospherics, tones shimmering off of distant drum skins that hold an even tempo throughout, without lacking accession or climax, maintaining accretion of identity.

Pillars’ pulls apart the turmoil and blessings that bind us to our physical form, finding comfort in post-apocalyptic ruin. Angelic vocals battle those of conflict, which Tiso and Vigna’s guitar work weave through nicely to form my favourite track on the album.

Ending the ceremony with ‘The Ascent,’ slowly summiting into a luminous vortex of evocative melody and progressive guitar work. I’m sort of unsettled by the break near the end and feel like the ‘pitter patter of little feet’ sound effect sort of took away from the momentum and power this album held for me throughout but I suppose a little deviousness and trickery is called for from the witches. Salem’s Wounds succeeds summoning a voice, conveying the history behind paganism as well as Karyn’s own personal journey within, to discover her own gifts and allow her spirits to guide her, even when they may have had different plans.



Meditations on Death- Mike Hill of Tombs


Tombs_Jason_Hellman- band

One of the leading bands of heavy music today, Tombs, released what is surely to be one of the top album releases this year when Savage Gold dropped from Relapse in June. We certainly hyped the album ourselves before we ever heard a note, including it as #1 in our “Top Albums To Watch” list for this year in January. Now at Ghost Cult we interview a ton of artists, since we find this is the way to uncover the most insights about bands that fans want to know about. Tombs front man Mike Hill is a guy we have chatted with many times, so there was familiarity there that we don’t always get to have with others. His speaking voice has a certain authority to it, not unlike you imagine a judge or an college professor has. Always generous with is time, we covered a lot of ground. At the same time Mike is a no-nonsense type of guy who takes his art very seriously, and we afforded him the consideration and respect he deserves.

Listening to Savage Gold the first thing that jumps out at you is the power, clarity and immediacy of the music. We started our chat by asking Mike about the sonic changes from the last few albums and what spurred the move in this direction:

With the last couple of records there was a lot of atmosphere. We relied more on a lot of effects and reverb, sort of far away sounds. And I feel on a lot of the recordings especially, there was a lot of the details in the recording was lost. For instance some of the drum performances are almost inaudible because of the spacial effects and the atmosphere, things like that. So one of the things I wanted to achieve with this record, was to bring those details that were lost on the last records, like the technical playing.. all these little subtleties and bring them to the forefront. The way we achieved that was to go more minimal, and to scale back the effects. So we allowed just the performances of the songs convey the power, nothing else. In order to achieve that we wanted to clean up our sound to highlight those things. That was what our approach on the production side of things. That was exactly what we were hoping to achieve.”

savage gold

We found the choice of Eric Rutan, know for his pristine death metal production work to be an inspired choice:

I think John Congeleton who produced the last album, he had a pretty big hand and definitely brought a lot to the table for that record; helping to sculpt the sound and producing a very moody album. On the new album, with this kind of production, we really wanted an articulation and a detail orientated sound.”


Rutan is a guy I have admired for many, many years. I have been a fan of every band Eric has worked in, starting with Ripping Corpse, then his work with Morbid Angel, and all his stuff with Hate Eternal. They are all great bands. And I am a real fan of his production work, most notably his work on the Goatwhore records. The production of those particular records really piqued my interest in working with him. You can hear everything, and all of the the details are there. They are very brutal records, but very clear. That’s what gave us, sort of the idea, to move on with him. I think the combination of us working with him is a really great team. And I’m looking forward to working with this team more in the future.”



Tombs often has wide-ranging concept albums and we wondered if Savage Gold was any different. Also, we got a sense from repeated listens that this album was much more personal for the band. Hill explained:

It’s not a concept record the way Rush- 2112 is a concept record (laughs), but yes, it is a concept record. The songs are always related because the material was written over a period of time that was everyone’s life. We were all living together during the period of time of making this album, so all those things going on with us were the themes that made it on to the record. And there was a lot of death and dying of friends and family going on around us, a lot of people in our camp. It was never our intention to write about it particularly. But that kind of environment inspired the lyrical content on the record. And you just find yourself thinking about things differently, when people pass away. This record in general is definitely a mediation on death and beyond and infinity. The lifespan of people. We looked at this borderland between life and death, and explored that idea.”

That’s right, it’s definitely fair to say that (it’s more personal) since all of us having experienced losses these last couple of years.”
tombs logo

Where previous efforts by the band beat up your ears sonically only to stem the tide occasionally, the new album has a a sequence and a track flow that highlights the dynamic changes between songs.


It’s just a natural exploration of the things we are interested in. I’m really into playing fast and brutal, but at the same time I am really into giving things space, and subtlety and expressing myself in other ways. Maybe on the next few records, I might want to explore even more with dynamics. And I would love to have more of that in the future, more things that are there to polarize to people even more. It’s all really just different sides of the same coin.”



Savage Gold is the first album with Garrett Bussanick and Ben Brand in the band. We weren’t sure how much the guys contributed to creating the new music, based on the timeline of when they joined.



Oh absolutely, they did contribute quite a bit. The main ideas: the riffs and song structures are all stuff I wrote and always come from me. Andrew (Hernandez II) helps refine them.”


Let’s take a look at each guy. We’ll start with Ben first: Ben’s bass playing style is a real departure in style to what we’ve had in the band in the past. Carson (James) was a really awesome, solid, tone-orientated straight ahead player and Ben is more busy. His position in the rhythm section definitely helped the band improve dynamically. And Garrett’s parts and solos definitely added a lot to to the atmosphere of the songs. All of his parts and overdubs added a lot to the sound. That is how each guy contributes to the dynamic flow in the band and on this album.”




We also asked Mike about his vocal contributions to the much talked about debut solo album from Karyn Crisis, The Gospel of The Witches:

It’s great! Crisis was a legendary band here in New York. I really enjoyed their music and I thought they were very unique, especially during the time period when they existed in this city. I always admired Karyn’s artwork, but I never really got to know her until this project. The forces of the universe just aligned and allowed us to work together on this music. It’s been a real honor working with Davide (Tiso) and Karyn. Everything I have heard is great! So far I have only done backing vocals on two songs, but I am really looking forward to hearing the finished project when it’s all mixed and mastered and finished.”


Tombs on Facebook