Band of the Week ― Cult of Dionysison September 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm
What’s in a name?
An appropriate title identifies, defines and helps us familiarize ourselves with something. In the music industry today, it is clear that many bands have simply given up on the entire process of carefully selecting a worthy moniker.
Not so for an underground band based in Galax, Va. This group is not content with selecting simply one band name. It currently has three.
The Cult of Dionysis ― aka “C.O.D.” aka the “Metalcult” ― have created an original blend of heavy metal music that is alternately described as “Blackened Voodoo Hardcore Death Rock” or “Geek Thrash” (they have their own comic book!) and “Stache Core” (an ode to the founder’s facial hair, the unofficial fifth member of the band.)
Because they publish an independent comic book series, “Metalcult Comix,” about the band, they’ve also earned the description of “The Justice League of Metal.”
Dionysis (aka Dennis Warren), the founder and current drummer of the band, elaborates on the selection of the band name: “Well, all the good names seem to be taken. So in 2006, when the band was coming together, I knew it had to be something really different. I wanted it to be stronger and last longer than just your average band, which dies when one or two members break off from the group. “Anyway, I had been using the name ‘Dionysis’ for several years, and that’s how a lot of people had really been introduced to me. So, I knew I wanted to continue using that.
“The whole idea of using ‘Cult’ came from the concept that this project had to be tough, it had to be dedicated, it had to really want to survive beyond the timespan of a normal band. It had to be a cult!”
Dionysis quickly discovered the fatal flaw ― no one could spell it.
Also, some people seem to be offended with the use of the word “cult.”
So, they started using the abbreviated “C.O.D.” and the fans ended up providing the other moniker.
“We heard some friends talking about ‘Metalcult’ or just ‘Cult’ and were delighted to find out that’s what they were calling the band,” Dionysis said. “So, yeah, we have a lot of names, and we use ‘em all. I think it’s good to have multiple identifiers. Maybe it makes us a bit more memorable.”
Since 2006, the Cult of Dionysis has released several discs, a music video and launched a comic book series. They have been listened to by people from countries all over the world and have toured Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
This 100 percent “do-it-yourself” band has accomplished the vast majority of this without the assistance of a corporate record label or management company ― a fact they are very proud of.
In 2007, the Cult of Dionysis released a three-song EP titled “CCCXXXIII,” which featured the single “7Doors,” with Dionysis on lead vocals.
A year later, the whole band dynamic had changed as Dionysis moved to the drum kit while James Huff picked up bass and vocal duties for the group. Cult of Dionysis began touring the local region in 2009 and by the end of 2010 they had released a six-song LP record titled “Alchemy.”
Along the way, they were joined by guitarist Scott Mays and new lead guitarist Heath Hash was recently inducted into the Cult.
Dionysis says their musical influences include bands both theatrical and heavy, with a lot of “classic,” old-school metal icons ― KISS, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Sepultura, Pantera, Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, Testament, Lamb of God, Gojira and Faith No More.
In 2011, the Cult of Dionysis published the first two issues of their comic book series, “Metalcult Comix.”
The books are written and illustrated by Dionysis, and feature band articles and a bizarre, psychedelic, science-fiction/superhero storyline about the band. For example, a recent issue features the band visiting a planet of mustache-headed women, yet another homage to Dionysis’ Salvador Dali-esque whiskers.
In 2012, the band entered a studio with producer Peter Wichers (Nevermore, Soilwork, Darkest Hour) to create a new single, “Behind The Mask.” The limited edition disc was released along with issue #3 of “Metalcult Comix.”
The group just released issue #4 of the comic book series, with a Metalcult Comix Special #1 planned for Fall 2012.
(Check out “Metalcult Comix” here: www.facebook.com/MetalcultComix)
Dionysis says that, in the end, it’s not the name that matters ― it’s the music. “This band will answer to whatever you choose to call them.”
Just don’t mistake their willingness to poke fun at themselves and have a bit of a good time as a lack of focus. This is one band that is very serious about their work. Given their tenacity, and consistent output of compelling material, we may see the best is yet to come.
Cult of Dionysis is winding down their 2012 tour now, but still has a few live performances scheduled locally in Virginia and North Carolina:
• Sept. 8 ― Headbangers Bowl at Blue Ridge Lanes, Galax, Va. ― CANCELLED
• Sept. 13 ― Amos’ South End, Charlotte, N.C. ― with Annabell Leigh, Kellen Heller and Vindictive Sovereign. $8 at the door. 7 p.m. All ages.
• Sept. 15 ― Screamers Bar & Grill, Radford, Va. ― with The Reasons Were Legion, The Gaffer Project, Friends of Friends and Pyro Ohio. $5 under 21/$3 over 21 at the door. 9:30 p.m.
Check out Cult of Dionysis live from Blue Ridge Lanes in Galax, Va., at the first Headbangers Bowl on July 28, 2012:
The band released a music video for the single “7Doors.” Watch it here:
Band website: www.metalcult.net
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/cultofdionysis
Downloads on Loudtrax:
Listen for FREE on Reverb Nation: www.reverbnation.com/cultofdionysis
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