CRUZ DEL SUR MUSIC To Release Ex-TROUBLE Singer ERIC WAGNER’s Posthumous Solo Album, ‘In The Lonely Light Of Mourning’



Cruz Del Sur Music will release legendary former TROUBLE singer Eric Wagner’s posthumous solo album, “In The Lonely Light Of Mourning” in March 2022.

Recorded at Alpha Sound Services and Aardvark Recording, “In The Lonely Light Of Mourning” was completed and delivered to Cruz Del Sur Music a month before Eric’s untimely passing. Initially scheduled for a November 2021 release, Cruz Del Sur Music — in cooperation with Eric’s manager, Mike Smith — agreed to move the release date to March 2022 to give it the attention it deserves.

“It has been a great honor to have the chance to work with Eric,” says Cruz Del Sur Music owner Enrico Leccese. “He has been a reference in my life since, as a fan, I bought his TROUBLE albums back in the 1980s. I must give WHILE HEAVEN WEPT’s Tom Philips 100 percent credit for Cruz Del Sur Music being able to release Eric’s solo album. Eric really put all himself, his passion, his deepest emotions and his skills into this release. I must also thank Mike and Ron Holzner for the extremely mature talk we had after Eric’s passing. His loss has been a tragic event and we hope that this album gives justice to his career.”


The solo endeavor — a long-time goal of Eric’s — serves as a fitting testament to one of doom metal’s most respected voices. Eric tapped former TROUBLE/current BLACKFINGER drummer Dave Snyder to help him assemble the album’s eight cuts. Along the way, Eric brought in some of his favorite musicians as guests — including past and present members of TROUBLE, BLACKFINGER, THE SKULL, LID, PENTAGRAM, DEATH ROW and PLACE OF SKULLS.

“In The Lonely Light Of Mourning” travels down Eric’s hallowed, familiar doom roads, flanked by melancholic acoustic guitar arrangements. It makes for an album of color, depth and heaviness that will please fans of Eric’s work. “I’d say this album is an amalgamation of TROUBLE, BLACKFINGER, LID and THE SKULL,” says Phillips. “There’s a little bit of each all swirled together. Basically, there’s a little something for everyone!”

“He was excited about the songs,” adds Snyder. “He and I worked on this project for a little over four years. It took that long, mostly because we did it over the phone. Either he would be in Chicago or New Mexico, and I’m in West Virginia, so I’d send him demo riffs, and if he liked something, he’d give me arrangement ideas, and I’d re-demo to fit his vision to place the lyrics. I already miss the process of working with him! Before Eric left for the last THE SKULL tour this summer, he told me about the record and said, ‘It jams. I’m turning it into Cruz.’”

Smith says that if Eric was ever going to do a solo record, it would need to involve the people he’s worked with — and some he hasn’t. The wealth of guest musicians explains why he was particularly excited about having a “family reunion” that tapped into nearly every era of his storied career.

“We have guests representing every band Eric has worked with over the years, and even extended family member @Victor Griffin, which really brings things full circle,” says Smith. “This was not the original plan by any means, but as the process started to unfold, it became apparent that this was exactly how it should be. How it was meant to be.”

Eric’s THE SKULL and former TROUBLE bandmate Ron Holzner, guests on the album. Ron says “In The Lonely Light Of Mourning” was “more personal” to him than his BLACKFINGER and LID output, two albums that enabled the frontman to work outside of the boundaries of TROUBLE.

“The LID record [1997’s ‘In The Mushroom’] was a break from Trouble and his first tastes of freedom. The BLACKFINGER records were more of a sideband to express himself differently than THE SKULL. It’s been a long journey lyrically for Eric and his story was coming towards the end. He sensed his time was short. The new record was his career coming full circle, in a sense. He included musicians from all his records and never intended this record to be a band. It was more a solo record than anything he ever did before. He needed to share his journey since this record was to be the end — he was contemplating retirement. The new THE SKULL record would be the epitaph to his story.”

Eric’s untimely passing this past August left behind a musical legacy that has influenced countless bands while providing comfort and solace for those impacted by his lyrics. Alongside CANDLEMASS, TROUBLE is arguably the most impactful post-BLACK SABBATH doom band. Their first four albums are undisputed classics, making Eric the solitary voice for the downtrodden and disaffected. 

“There’s no doubt that he will be rightly remembered as one of the most iconic voices of metal —  not just doom metal considering he had the power to traverse anything he sang over from psychedelic to somber, from acoustic tenderness to bone-crushing metal,” says Phillips. “Of course, he’ll always be tied to the legacy of TROUBLE and thus, considered by nearly everyone — including myself — as one of the founding fathers of the doom metal genre. But for those who knew him, we’ll also never forget his laid-back personality, sense of humor and ‘Eric-isms.’ It’s a staggering and totally unnecessary loss, but he lived by his own rules and spent 2021 doing all of the things he loved doing the most, so there’s some solace in that.”

“He did what he wanted, said what he wanted, lived like he wanted and wrote what he wanted…his way,” says Holzner. “He touched a lot of souls with his life and death.”

“He was a friend to everyone he met,” adds Snyder. “He always would hang out with fans and, through his music, helped a lot of people through tough times, including myself. His lyrics were always thought-provoking and his voice was one of a kind. When you heard it, you knew it was Eric Wagner! Ultimately, his legacy to me is his work with TROUBLE. I am eternally grateful to have been close to him at times, to have finished this record and to have worked with what many call the ‘Godfather of Doom.’”

“Eric was a dear friend, and I miss him immensely,” closes Smith. “This solo album became so much more than we initially expected, and I hope fans will be able to listen with open hearts and realize how lucky we all were to have Eric in our lives. 

When Eric and I signed off on the album back in July and delivered it to Cruz Del Sur Music, Eric said something I will never forget: ‘If this were to be my last one, it’s a perfect final chapter to the story.’

“In The Lonely Light Of Mourning” track listing:

1. Rest In Place

2. Maybe Tomorrow

3. Isolation

4. If You Lost It All

5. Strain Theory

6. Walk With Me To The Sun

7. In The Lonely Light Of Mourning

8. Wish You Well

SPELLBOOK to release “Magick & Mischief” album in Spetember

SPELLBOOK – “Magick & Mischief”
RELEASE DATE: SEPT 25, 2020
FORMAT: CD / LP / DIGITAL
PRE-ORDER: 
CD: https://tinyurl.com/y8jblwc9
LP: https://tinyurl.com/yaawkc4o

Vintage, adventurous proto-metal that taps into the deep well of ’70s rock!  

Formerly known as Witch Hazel, SpellBook marries Black Sabbath, Pentagram and progressive rock for seven songs of entrancing classic metal!

During the writing process for what would eventually become Magick & Mischief, the members of York, Pennsylvania vintage proto-metal purveyors Witch Hazel realized there was no better time than the present to change their name. The idea had long rested on their mind, but the risks in changing a band’s name are numerous, if not painfully obvious. After all, since their 2007 formation, Witch Hazel independently released three studio albums, Forsaken Remedies (2012), Nocturnity (2015) and Otherwordly (2018), and had already generated buzz in the doom metal underground. But, with the confidence that the material they created for Magick & Mischief was the strongest of their career, Witch Hazel reached back into their past for the song “The Spellbook” from Forsaken Remedies and rebranded themselves SpellBook. Soon, a deal with Cruz Del Sur Music was signed, and the band started a new chapter that begins with the release of Magick & Mischief.

Recorded in May 2019 at Developing Nations with Kevin Bernsten, Magick & Mischief is the embodiment of a band going further than before, honing in on their obvious strengths as songwriters while exploring new territory in the sprawling classic metal and vintage heavy rock landscape. SpellBook, who feature vocalist Nate Tyson, drummer Nicholas Zinn, guitarist Andy Craven and bassist Seibert Lowe, followed a fairly simple approach when writing the album: There is no formula. There are no rules. Write what feels good. The best songs win. As a result, Magick & Mischief is a varied, adventurous body of work, reeling in Iron Maiden and proto-metal vibes on “Wands to the Sky” and “Ominous Skies,” an epic concept piece in the form of “Dead Detectives,” which appropriately recalls Alice Cooper at his theatrical peak, along with regular crowd-pleaser “Amulet,” which the band honed in the live arena before committing it to tape. Elsewhere, doom, acoustic guitars and sterling lead vocal work from Tyson are interwoven with ease, all the while staying true to SpellBook’s impeccable list of influences of Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, Blue Oyster Cult, Kiss and Pentagram.

The album artwork was created by Chad Keith, who dutifully melded each of Magick & Mischief’s songs in visual form to comprise the cover. It’s a fitting representation of an album that puts a fresh twist on a classic style.

Magick & Mischief track listing:

LP version
Wands to the Sky
Black Shadow
Ominous Skies
Not Long for This World
Motorcade
Amulet(Single Version)
Dead Detectives

CD version
Wands to the Sky
Black Shadow
Ominous Skies
Not Long for This World
Motorcade
Amulet/Fare Thee Well
Dead Detectives

SPELLBOOK (formerly WITCH HAZEL) Signs With Cruz Del Sur Music

Cruz Del Sur Music is proud to announce the signing of York, Pennsylvania vintage proto-metal purveyors SPELLBOOK. The band’s debut album, “Magick & Mischief”, is due for release in September.

Originally formed in 2007 under the name of WITCH HAZEL by lead singer Nate Tyson and drummer Nicholas Zinn, WITCH HAZEL had three self-released albums to their credit, “Forsaken Remedies” (2012), “Nocturnity” (2015) and “Otherwordly” (2018). The band, rounded out by guitarist Andy Craven and bassist Seibert Lowe, nearly changed their name before the release of “Otherwordly”, but decided to make the switch to SPELLBOOK when its current formation started writing the material that would become “Magick & Mischief”.

“Eleven years named one thing wasn’t easy to get past, but we realized to take this to the next step it was necessary,” says Zinn. “We liked the idea of having the song ‘The SpellBook’ from ‘Forsaken Remedies’ being the representing name that ties the past, present and future together. We’re very proud of our past, though, and plan to still play some WITCH HAZEL songs live, especially those from ‘Otherworldly’.”

SPELLBOOK was brought to Cruz Del Sur Music directly by the label’s A&R rep and WHILE HEAVEN WEPT main man Tom Phillips who reveals how he was “tipped off” about the band: “A good friend of mine Mike Smith pulled me aside to suggest I check out this band WITCH HAZEL he recently had included as part of a tour package… more or less raving about how good they were…and boy, was he right! In an age where we’ve seen a number of retro-inspired acts rising in popularity that ultimately come across as stale or reeking of gimmicks, WH ticked all the right boxes for even MY jaded ears; equal parts BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE, B.O.C., ALICE COOPER, and THIN LIZZY – songs so well-crafted and capably performed that I immediately reached out to Enrico saying “We NEED to sign this band immediately!” – because “Magick & Mischief” totally blows away the already awesome “Otherwordly” in every possible way!”

Zinn describes “Magick & Mischief” as the band’s “most dynamic offering yet.” From proto-metal jaunts such as “Wands To The Sky” and “Ominous Skies”, to the epic doom rocker “Not Long For This World” and already-crowd favorite “Amulet”, it’s easy to see why SPELLBOOK is eager to hit the road in support of the album.

“We’re a unique band and we’re proud of that,” closes Zinn. “There is no formula; there are no rules. We write what feels good and we are tapped into a creative high right now, already writing for the next album. However, the release of ‘Magick & Mischief’ in September is priority number one and we’re excited for everyone to hear it. It’s rewarding this label is taking us on and recognizes the potential. We’re thrilled!”.

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