Religious To Damn is the project of Afghan-America vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Zohra Atash, Josh Strawn (Blacklist, Vaura), Charlie Schmid (Vaura), Allegra Brenchley, and Lea Ivanovi?. The debut full-length Glass Prayer also features Tamaryn on a couple of tracks, Secret Machines’ Brandon Curtis (who co-produced, mixed, and played keyboards), and others. Atash writes the songs, though, and you’ll generally see her alone in the promo photos (and videos and the above album cover). It’s billed as “Gypsy rock.” I’d maybe call it “Gypsy goth.” Or “Dead Can Dance pop.” Or work the Cocteau Twins in somehow. Or, really, whatever you’d want to call Swans’ “In My Garden.” Atash was a touring vocalist for A Storm Of Light and a couple of her RTD core makeup half of shoegazing black metal/post punk-inflected outfit Vaura (along with Kevin Hufnagel), but Religious To Damn is heavy in a different sense. Hint: Investigate the shadows in the Mick Karn-influenced (RIP) title track.
Here’s the video for another song from the album, “Drifter.”
Glass Prayer is out 2/8 via M’Lady’s. The free release party takes place Thursday (1/13) at Glasslands. The band will be joined by “special guests” Tamaryn and Kevin Hufnagel (Dysrhythmia, Gorguts, Vaura). Jonathan Toubin (New York Night Train), Jeralyn Mason, Anna Copa Cabanna, and WIERD records head Pieter Schoolwerth will handle the DJing. They also have a show 2/23 with Cobalt side project Man’s Gin at Union Pool.