Last summer, the metal community learned that legendary SOLSTICE guitarist Rich Walker needed crucial surgery. WHILE HEAVEN WEPT leader Tom Phillips and a few friends came up with an approach to assist Walker in offsetting his mounting medical expenses: A GoFundMe campaign, series of exclusive compilations and lastly, a collection of hand-picked limited-edition LPs re-releases. Phillips has teamed up with Cruz Del Sur Music to release for the very first time on vinyl, ORODRUIN’s 2003 “Epicurean Mass” debut and PALE DIVINE’s heralded third album, “Cemetery Earth”. The releases will be available in late May.
“These titles are doom metal classics that are long overdue for the vinyl treatment,” said Phillips. “‘Epicurean Mass’ firmly established ORODRUIN as a powerful force out of the gate at the height of doom metal fever. And, ‘Cemetery Earth’ represents the culmination and consolidation of everything PALE DIVINE was building towards — a rock-solid package that was ‘all killer, no filler.
“The premise here was to do our best to make these companions to the original CD pressings rather than rewriting history. However, there were some subtle changes to both records after much dialogue — both to ensure the best LP listening experience possible and also to rectify some details that had always been intended but for one reason or another didn’t happen for the original releases.”
ORODRUIN frontman John Gallo says the band was first introduced to Walker when he reviewed SOLSTICE’s “New Dark Age” album for his “Born Too Late” website in 2000. From there, Walker was a regular advocate of ORODRUIN. The re-release of “Epicurean Mass” holds special significance for Gallo and his bandmates — the album effectively put ORODRUIN on the map and charted the course for the rest of their career.
“We’ll never forget how it opened many doors for us,” he says. “To host the debut Born Too Late Festival and premier our band alongside PENANCE, REVELATION, WHILE HEAVEN WEPT, PALE DIVINE, THE GATES OF SLUMBER, UNEARTHLY TRANCE and SOULPREACHER to having our first United States ‘Doomination’ tour with THE PROPHECY and MOURNING BELOVETH. In 2004, we went out to Europe to support PENANCE along with our label master at ‘psycheDOOMelic’, the man…Mark Hegedus! It was an amazing ride and we even played ‘Doom Shall Rise II’ in Germany! I pray and hope for new exciting adventures with my band of grim-doomed hobbit-foot brethren! May doom rise from the ashes of the eternal flames from the heart of Mount Doom!”
PALE DIVINE’s Darin McCloskey said Walker has been there for the band “since the beginning.” Upon recommendation from Black Tears distribution head Russell Smith, they sent Walker an advance of their debut “Crimson Tears” demo for inclusion on one of Walker’s Miskatonic Foundation “At The Mountains of Madness” compilations. Walker soon became one of the first overseas supporters of PALE DIVINE, something McCloskey will never forget.
“He brought us into what would grow to become a doom metal family,” says McCloskey. “Rich always held true to his convictions and had no time for nonsense. He was a soldier for truth and integrity in a constantly compromising music scene. He held a quality of standard that oftentimes polarized him from the ‘herd,’ something that he often wore as a badge of honor.”
Now is the time to get your hands albums that have never been available on vinyl — until now. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Walker’s medical expenses right away.
“The first two stages of our fundraising efforts for Rich have been fairly successful, but the vinyl was always going to help get us over the top,” says Phillips. “These 2021 editions were a team effort across the board. Don’t miss your chance to grab these doom metal monoliths — they’re ‘one-offs’ and, quite frankly, they deserve a place in any respectable collection of the genre!”