The brainchild of Stu Folsom, a Las Vegas native, Spiritworld’s debut album for Century Media Records, Pagan Rhythms, is as unrelenting and hellishly dangerous as its birthplace. A blisteringly hot cacophony of metallic hardcore and thrash, this ferocious onslaught provides the soundtrack to something Folsom has lovingly labelled his “Death Western.”

Discovering Folsom has Cherokee blood running through his veins and a musical upbringing that saw him weened on a diet of everything from George Jones, Slayer and 7 Seconds, goes a long way to unravelling the album. Punk meets thrash meets hardcore meets country, Pagan Rhythms is a nasty record full of dark tales summoned up from the darkest depths of Folsom’s mind. Matching the weight of his words, musically Pagan Rhythms veers between pure punk rage and chugging Slayeresque thrash, where the likes of “Unholy Passages” and “Godless” will chew you up and spit you out into the sweltering Las Vegas desert without a second thought.

As Folsom explains how he writes albums for the “loners, outcasts and misfits,” every moment you spend listening to him drag out what is in his mind onto tape will have you engrossed. From his almost demonic howls to the smash-you-in-the-face hardcore thrash, this country-punk outlaw creates an almost animalistic wall of noise. Furthermore, his use of audio samples throughout the album are effective, haunting and perfectly placed as they break up the musical attack but never stray from the sinister world Folsom has created with his lyrics and music.

Folsom’s mauling delivery has already won the band fans in Slayer guitarist Gary Holt and Soulfly metal icon Max Cavalera who have both openly raved about Pagan Rhythms. Honestly, though, it’s easy to see why the world is falling under the spell of SpiritWorld as the album closes with “Ritual Human Sacrifice” where Folsom howls to “open the gates of hell” and we unquestioningly follow behind with the sounds of gospel ringing out through the feedback-drenched conclusion of this nasty album.

Pagan Rythms Track Listing:

1. Pagan Rhythms
2. The Bringer of Light
3. Unholy Passages
4. Night Terrors
5. The Demon Storm
6. Armageddon Honkytonk & Saloon
7. Godless
8. Comancheria
9. Ritual Human Sacrifice

Run Time: 31:12
Release Date: November 5, 2021
Record Label: Century Media Records

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.