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Utah band Cult Leader, formerly of Gaza, sign to label Deathwish

Published December 19, 2013 3:53 pm

Local sounds • Members of metalcore band Gaza have a new name, a new album and a record deal.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Salt Lake's widely praised metalcore band Gaza broke up in March, leaving fans of its grinding, brutal and cleverly technical music with three great albums, but little hope for more tunes.

But three-quarters of the band quickly reassembled as Cult Leader, with former bassist Anthony Lucero taking over vocals for the departed Jon Parkin. Not only that, they've already been signed to the label Deathwish Inc. and plan on bringing fans a new release in April. Cult Leader also will be playing Urban Lounge on Friday with Light Black, Oxcross and INVDRS.

"We sent [Deathwish founder Jacob Bannon] the music Cult Leader had just finished recording, and literally the next morning he told us the Deathwish doors were open to us," Lucero said via email, "so we jumped at the chance and it's been moving ahead full steam ever since."

Bannon, also lead singer of the genre-defining hardcore punk band Converge, runs the label, which seems to feature the more offbeat metal genres — like, of course, Converge — as well as thrashier acts like Loma Prieta and successful melodic black-metal newcomers Deafheaven. Lucero said they've been friends with him for some time.

It was an open question whether Cult Leader would keep traveling on the extremely aggressive, metal-punk path Gaza forged, but it looks like the answer is "yes." When they announced the signing, they also gave fans a taste of what's to come with the track "Skin Crawler," slated to be on their April release. If anything, it's heavier and more fluid, but exactly what fans have come to expect from guitarist Michael Mason, drummer Casey Hansen and Lucero, with the addition of new bassist Sam Richards.

"I don't think there's been too much of a change in the way we present music to each other and work on it as a group, but I think the attitudes surrounding the music have changed quite a bit," Lucero said.

That's not to say that it's the same band altogether. Since the breakup, Lucero said Cult Leader has been able to make things even more aggressive and depressive, hinting that some of the changes would be more obvious when the new album, called "Nothing From Us Here," comes out next year.

"In Cult Leader, we got to start over with a sonically clean slate and explore musical ideas that we didn't really feel would have worked in the past."

The circumstances surrounding the breakup can be described as murky at best, and Lucero said the band wouldn't be discussing them publicly — at all.

Parkin, meanwhile, has not disappeared from the scene either, providing vocals for the local metal trio Day Hymns. —

Cult Leader with Light black, Oxcross and INVDRS

When • Friday, Dec. 20

Where • Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City

Tickets • $5, available from all Graywhale locations and online at 24tix