Gothic Neo-Folk, Dark Americana, and Daimonic Body Music from Houston, Texas
BLACK FIRE EP
Four great songs to lament the death of the old world and illuminate the apocalyptic times before us.
Album cover art by Komodokat
Asmodeus X is:
Paul Fredric – Vox, Acoustic Guita Rhythm
Vasquez – Vox, Acoustic Guitar – Lead
Joel 313 – Vox, Acoustic Bass
All songs recorded between 2019 – 2020 at the 313 Blue Room Studio on the South Side of
Behind the Music
Best known as a local Houston Dark Americana and Gothic Folk band, Asmodeus X and their sound have developed and grown in popularity since 1999. Influenced by the community, culture, and sounds of their hometown, they perform music that speaks to fans across the musical spectrum. Their signature style has become synonymous with a diverse collection of melodies and compositions. Always pushing boundaries, and defying expectations the continue to amaze.
Best of the Best
DARK IDES OF SUMMER
THE BRIGHT ONES
HOUSTON CHRONICLE – PREVIEW BY JEF ROUNER
APRIL 28, 2020
February 1, 2014
One of the few active bands left from the heady days of Texas goth-electronic around the turn of the century is Houston’s Asmodeus X. Known for scholarly esotericism and high-energy darkwave shows, the band has not been seen a local stage in quite a while. That said, it has continued to record, dropping a surprise album called “The Dark Ides of Summer” in 2018.
Its latest release is sure to divide fans though. “Black Fire,” available May 4, is a mostly acoustic EP, the tip of a full-length album of such material to come.
I’ve covered Asmo for some 15 years, and since the “Morningstar” album in 2004, I’ve begged singer Paul Fredric (known affectionately as Fritzi in the Houston goth scene) to record an entire album like the acoustic mix of the title song that was a bonus track on that record. It harked back to the band’s neo-folk roots and offered something very different in spooky music at the time. Though the wave of dark Americana I always said was coming never happened, Asmo offered the best chance by wedding the spirit of its machine music with a troubadour style.
“Black Fire” is definitely that record. It has an interesting origin story. Fredric was feeling nostalgic for the early days of the band when he would simply jam with the late guitar player Frank Faust, a country-music fan who loved Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. Fredric then took a deep dive into outlaw country as a musical pilgrimage, at the same time dedicating himself to bettering his own guitar playing.
“I thought, you know, after all these years it might be a good idea to actually get good at it!” Fredric says.
Fredric no longer cuts the diminutive vampiric figure he did in his youth. His chiseled, Teutonic face has been covered with wizard’s beard, though his Gary Numan voice hasn’t changed, save that more and more Texas twang creeps into it. Frantic hedonism has softened into a more
sagelike approach. He’s currently working on his second book, a money-management tome called “The Nebu Generator: A Pharaonic Formula for Wealth Creation.”
As he was relearning the guitar, he began running his old material through the Chordify app. To his surprise, he starting finding much deeper musicality in his dance tunes than he was aware of.
“I didn’t know my own music,” he says.
Shortly before the pandemic hit, Fredric joined guitarist Chris Vasquez and bassist Joel 616 at their studio, Blue Room. They began jamming on old tracks such as “The Bright Ones” and “Fallen Angel.” The experience was potent enough to start a whole new writing spree.
“Black Fire” features three new tracks and one Asmo cover. The new work is rough, but the genius is there. Vasquez was only just able to include lead guitar lines before quarantine hit, and the backing vocals of Joel aren’t as polished as they could be. Calling it a demo is not unreasonable, even if it is a very, very good demo.
That said, for a proof of concept leading up to a full-length release at the end of the year, it is phenomenal. Such songs as “Farewell to the West” and “Riding Out of Hell” are a new kind of folk music: dark, rich and full of Western music traditions.
“I started to wonder why I had never tackled our own folk-music traditions,” Fredric says. “We were always doing Germanic stuff. Now we get to look at where we’re actually from.”
The result is akin to when Cash started covering artists including Nick Cave and Trent Reznor. The music is haunting and unapologetic. Fredric refers to “Black Fire” as the most apocalyptic song the band has ever written.
What could have been a vanity project for three dudes stuck at home is instead a remarkable new iteration on one of the city’s most enduring acts. The work is stark and cold as winter, but it’s raw brilliance and adherence to Texas music traditions make it essential. I am definitely looking forward to the full-length album on the other side of this apocalypse.
Jef Rouner is a Houston-based writer.
INTERVIEW WITH INES IN TERRA RELICTA
March 4, 2010
Asmodeus X. A name that strikes you and speaks to you, doesn't it? With a memorable name and a unique musical style, giving the classical darkwave meets EBM more of a cosmic and even psychedelic touch, this Houston, Texas based ensemble has been present in the scene since 1999 and have released six full length studio albums up to this day. The band, which draws influence from Slovenian industrial legends Laibach, as well as the big names you all ought to know well, such as Kraftwerk and Death In June, has so much history and stories behind its name, I simply won't lose any more words and just leave you to the words of Paul Fredric, who really poured his efforts into our conversation and gave us a very detailed and intimate view into Asmodeus X as well as himself as an artist.
AFTERMATH: ASMODEUS X AT NUMBERS BY JEF ROUNDER
October 27, 2008
Though billed as a Halloween spectacular, there were precious few costumes on display at Numbers’ Underworld, the monthly Goth night that hosts some of Houston’s most entertaining performers and audience members. For a group of people whose chosen dress tends to be viewed as costumes throughout the other 11 months of the year, the appeal of dressing otherworldly is somewhat dampened. However, everyone did have one thing in common: a great anticipation to see Asmodeus X return to a Houston stage after more than a year.
Asmodeus X, formed from the ashes of Chicago’s Morphine Angel but now based here, limits its hometown engagements to ensure that every show is one to remember. “You have to weigh the variables in selecting a show,” said Asmodeus percussionist and sampler Joel 313, “and learn from your previous judgments which gigs are going to give the audience what they’re worth.”
Saturday was only the second Houston show to feature the latest member of Asmodeus’ darkwave musical family: keyboardist and programmer Chris Vasquez. Vasquez originally came to Paul Fredric, Brad Marshal and Joel 313’s attention by contributing remixes for Asmodeus’ album The Greater Key. After Vasquez attended several of the band’s studio sessions, he was literally kidnapped from his home and asked to become the fourth full-time member.
Never miss a beat.
ASMODEUS X: THE STORY
Asmodeus X first embarked on their musical voyage of discovery together as a cohesive Gothic Industrial band in 1999. But their origin goes back earlier to when the band members grew up listening to a variety of music genres that played an influential role in shaping their paths as musicians and ultimately led them together. As Asmodeus X, they have collaboratively developed their signature sound, and offer something different and unique to their fans by creating and sharing original music they are proud to call their own. For more information please get in touch.