Review: “Trinity” by Sons of Perdition
Zebulon Whatley and company, otherwise known as Sons of Perdition, have ventured from the shadows into the daylight to introduce an all-new full-length album, “Trinity,” on Gravewax Records. “Trinity,” a wholly creative and inspired body of work in sixteen movements, is without doubt the best Sons of Perdition effort thus far. And with an altogether idiosyncratic sound marked by dark roots, gothic Americana, and apocalyptic country, Zebulon has managed to pen the original arrangements for an album that is to fringe music what Arthur Rimbaud’s “Season in Hell” is to classic literature and what William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming” is to poetics. And, categorically speaking, I can say without hesitation that “Trinity” is on the level of other albums such as Those Poor Bastards’ “Behold the Abyss” was released in 2012 by Tribulation Recording Co. and Slackeye Slim’s “El Santo Grial: La Pistola Piadosa” was released in 2011 by Farmageddon Records.
Zebulon Whatley’s sound isn’t so much a product of the recent roots revival as it is one of the bastard sons of roots music, and even among them it stands a black sheep. This is not a bad thing, mind you. In essence, it proves that Zebulon’s Sons of Perdition project is unique and unorthodox, meant for those outsiders that have strayed far from the pack. As such, it is also far removed from the music mainstream. And that is something to be both admired and respected, as some of the best music in the world comes from the fringes…the very same place where Sons of Perdition’s “Trinity” was born.
“Trinity,” the third Sons of Perdition album to date, weaves myth and fact into the tattered fabric of song. Zebulon Whatley, who is the original Son of Perdition himself, not only knows all too well the importance of writing compositions whose dusty desert soundscapes prove ideal settings for the interesting characters and bizarre imagery of his mad and interconnected storylines, but also how imperative it is that they fully complement the visceral and elaborate lyrical content to which they are assigned. “Trinity,” as such, is a bible for the damned; a well-conceived tale conveyed through sixteen chapters of song. In fact, this album is the third installment and conclusion to Sons of Perdition’s Dissolution Trilogy, which began in 2007 with “The Kingdom is on Fire,” and then continued with the 2010 release of “Psalms for the Spiritually Dead.” All three were released by Gravewax Records.
Over the years, Zebulon has developed the process which defines every Sons of Perdition album thus far. Quite simply, Zebulon, as an artist and multi-instrumentalist, writes the tales and composes the music, then brings in friends and fellow musicians from throughout the scene to take part in the recording of the songs. For “Trinity” he enlisted the help of Simon Brach of Fall of Serenity, Peter Michael Murphy of Peter Murphy’s Carver Combo, Sophia Cacciola of Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, Sophie Nadaud of Madame B, Seth Fleming of Cowboy Bob & Trailer Trash, El Demento of KAOS Radio’s Smooth and Demented Show, solo artist Lacy Rose, solo artist Victoria Athmann, and even Mrs. Whatley. The instrumentation contributed by these musicians is pretty much what one would expect from such a roots album: upright bass, violin, viola, piano, and backing vocals. And all of the acoustic guitar and lead vocal portions belong solely to Zebulon, as do those involving the lap steel, electric guitar, banjo, melodica, ukulele, keyboard, percussion, singing bowl, and so on.
“Trinity” by Sons of Perdition is scheduled for a November 12th, 2013 release. It comes in a nicely designed gatefold case with outstanding cover art, inside print relevant to the tale, more artwork, and tracklisting on the back panel. Inside the CD case one will find a tarot card specially designed for this release by gifted German artist Christoph Mueller. And if you’re more of a digital download fan, it is available in that format as well.
For fans of: Those Poor Bastards, Slackeye Slim, Tears of the Moosechaser, Bad Luck City, Munly & the Lee Lewis Harlots, etc.