Sibyl - The Magic Isn't Real EP [Interview + Review]
New Psychedelic Doom act Sibyl recently released their Debut EP “The Magic Isn’t Real” through Flowerpot Records. To roll out the carpet in introducing the Richmond, Virginia quartet Sibyl to the scene, we decided to bring you an exclusive interview with the band as well as an EP review from our friends at Sleeping Village Reviews!
MHW: Thanks for taking the time to speak with Metalhead World! Congrats on the release of your debut EP “The Magic Isn’t Real”! For those that may not know, tell us a little about yourself…
SIBYL: Hey MHW, thanks for taking the time to interview us. We’re Sibyl, a 4 piece heavy psych rock/doom band from Richmond, VA. We’ve been writing music together for about a year and we’re excited to be putting out more material soon. The band consists of Violet on vocals, Chris on guitar, Mike on bass, and Ben on drums.
MHW: What are your main musical influences in your songwriting?
SIBYL: We all have different musical influences that all end up informing the music. Mike and Chris come from a fairly punk background, Ben is more into the heady psych tunes, and Violet comes from a mix of heavy shit like Monolord and jazzier pop tunes like Cat Power and Amy Winehouse. but ultimately, I think we just write whatever emotion the lyrics are provoking (we kinda stumbled into genre instead of choosing it if that makes any sense)...but also Black Sabbath.
MHW: Is the songwriting process a collective effort or is there a primary songwriter?
SIBYL: Initially Violet writes the songs acoustically and then we just take rips and write riffs and time bends and an hour or so later the song is complete.
MHW: It seems that horror and older movies is a lyrical theme along with some Wiccan undertones. What type of vision did you have in mind in the lyric writing?
SIBYL: Definitely enjoy some good horror, but the main theme in Violets lyrics would have to be overcoming abuse and mental illness. A lot of the Wiccan overtones probably come from just use of metaphor and Violet being raised around Irish Catholics and practicing mediums.
MHW: Violet, you have a very fitting style of vocals that blends perfectly with the vintage sounds the band produces. What is your background as a vocalist?
SIBYL: (Violet) Well, Sibyl is my first band and I actually didn’t start singing in front of people until a couple of years ago. I had a pretty bad psychosis the other year and after my hospitalization I had an unreal moment of clarity where I thought “what if I never came back from that?” So soon enough after the music was just flowing out of me and Sibyl was born.
MHW: Do you plan on doing any type of tour or shows soon in support of the EP?
SIBYL: Absolutely! Looking to set up a tour for this summer. We are currently working on two quick heaters for a split if anyone is interested in hopping on one with us. Not sure if we will be touring on that or The Magic isn’t Real EP, but this is definitely just the beginning for us.
MHW: If you were to book a festival and you get to choose any 3 bands to headline with Sibyl, either current or past. Who would you pick?
SIBYL: Black Sabbath, The Well and The Melvins
MHW: Is there anything else you would like to add?
SIBYL: Thanks again for interviewing us! It was a pleasure and we’re thankful for the opportunity.Check out The Magic isn’t Real on Bandcamp, YouTube, Spotify, etc. There may still be cassette tapes available! [Click on the link to purchase a cassette]
MHW: Thanks again for talking with us! It was a pleasure talking with you! We wish you the best of luck on your future adventures!
SIBYL: You as well!
[We do want to take a moment to credit Bob Quirk at F12 Studios for the recording and production of the The Magic Isn’t Real! Kudos!]
The Magic Isn’t Real (written by Sleeping Village Reviews)
Given a certain tendency to recycle old ideas and rely on the good grace of riff worshipers, relevancy in Doom Metal is a difficult shroud to penetrate. In a world brimming with bands whose identity rests solely on imitation, I’m pleased to note that from the moment Violet’s voice weaves
through funk-leaden bass, it’s abundantly clear what Sibyl is all about. While undeniably rooted in convention, The Magic Isn’t Real nonetheless explores an occult ambiance with assured and clean confidence, balancing ethereal vocals, a thick bottom end, and the occasional psychedelic solo. It’s a professional package, and it’s clear that Sibyl have placed emphasis on writing tracks that speak for themselves.
Rather than relying on hefty distortion and foggy fuzz to carry the weight, a distinct attention to intriguing instrumentation remains the primary draw. The guitar itself has a deliciously understated tendency to pull back, allowing the spacious vocals room to breath and billow, weaving melodies in a gently undulating fashion around muscular bass. Opener “Blood Moon” displays a Doomy forthrightness, but the (appropriately entitled) “Pendulums” takes that momentum to a crisply gentle side of the spectrum, before swinging back into the realm of subtle aggression. The ability to grow upwards and outwards marks this track as a personal favorite--it’s a delightful journey, both haunting and gratifying. “Sexpionage” and “Spinning Webs” round out the later half with further sonic exploration--the former touching on drone, the latter leaning into desert-rockin’ riffage. Throughout, I’m reminded fondly of Messa--vocals become introspective and detached, giving the whole affair a lost-in-the-woods quality that is hard to replicate.
Despite effective songwriting, The Magic Isn’t Real isn’t here to kick down doors or scale genre- defining fences. Rather, it serves as an undeniably solid entry into the canons of psychedelic doom--and if this is the criteria by which we judge Sibyl’s worth in the field, this EP is an obvious success. More so, as an EP, The Magic Isn’t Real serves a very real purpose:. While Sibyl may not be dealing with the most original mise en scene, they’ve effectively set the stage with these 4 tracks, and I’m excited to see where the next act takes them. If you enjoy Doomy ambiance and Psychedelic strains, The Magic Isn’t Real is certainly worth your witching while.