released August 3rd, 2010
from the album - Gravedirt On My Blue Suede Shoes
from all music
A crucial figure in the Southern branch of the extreme metal community, Dax Riggs was born in Evansville, IN, on October 15, 1973, where he lived with his mother after the divorce of his parents. As Riggs edged into adolescence, he began to question his mother's devotion to the faith of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and he moved to Houma, LA to live with his father. While initially Riggs didn't care for life down South, in his teens he developed a passion for rock & roll, and after singing with a pair of short-lived local bands, Riggs became the lead vocalist with the pioneering sludge metal band Acid Bath, featuring guitarists Sammy Duet and Mike Sanchez, bassist Audie Pitre, and drummer Jimmy Kyle. While Acid Bath's punishing but trippy, groove-laden sound would prove to be deeply influential, the group's audience was frustratingly small during its existence, and the band called it quits in 1997 after the death of Audie Pitre in an auto accident. After fronting a short-lived group called Daisyhead & the Mooncrickets, Riggs re-emerged on the music scene with Agents of Oblivion, which also included Acid Bath guitarist Mike Sanchez as well as Alex Bergeron on bass, Jeff McCarty on drums, and Chuck Pitre on keyboards.
Agents of Oblivion's sound was as doomstruck as Acid Bath, but the approach was more subdued, showing the influence of traditional hard rock and blues in its slower tempos and smoother melodies. Agents of Oblivion released one album in 2000, but broke up not long after completing a tour to support it. After the collapse of Agents of Oblivion, Riggs formed a new band, Deadboy & the Elephantmen, which sported a stripped-down, blues-based sound and featured Riggs playing guitar as well as singing. The group's first album, 2002's If This Is Hell Then I'm Lucky, was a full-band affair, with Riggs joined by Jason Dupre on guitar, Chris Gautreaux on bass, and Jeff Lecompte on drums, but he pared the group back to a duo for 2005's We Are Night Sky, with Riggs joined by drummer Tess Brunet. In late 2006, Brunet quit the band, and as Riggs was recording Deadboy & the Elephantmen's third album with a rotating crew of musicians, he opted to abandon the group moniker and release the music under the name Dax Riggs. Featuring some of Riggs' most powerful and emotionally incisive music to date, We Sing of Only Blood or Love was released in the summer of 2007. For 2010's Say Goodnight to the World, Riggs recorded in his home studio with Austin, TX locals Charley Siess (drums) and Kevin Fitzsimmons (bass).
Anyone familiar with Dax Riggs’ work in Acid Bath, Deadboy & the Elephantmen, or his solo debut We Only Sing of Blood or Love knows that his music is unfailingly intense. However, on Say Goodnight to the World, he finds different ways to channel that power, emphasizing the magnetic pull of his voice and melodies instead of relying on the blunt force of cranked-up guitars. That’s not to say that Riggs doesn’t rock out here — he does, especially on the album-opening title track which pairs a bluesy, tumbling solo with decidedly metallic power chords. It’s just that tracks like “Let Me Be Your Cigarette,” “Gravedirt on My Blue Suede Shoes,” and the stormy “No One Will Be a Stranger” are crisper and more nimble than his usual modus operandi, digging back to punk and rockabilly for malevolent saxophones and pounding pianos that evoke Jerry Lee Lewis and Iggy Pop. Say Goodnight to the World’s quieter tracks are arguably even more powerful than its late-night rockers, with a narcotic haze that can convey creeping dread (“I Hear Satan”) or star-crossed romance (“Like Moonlight,” “You Were Born to Be My Gallows”). For the most part, Riggs pulls off the subtler sounds and emotions of Say Goodnight to the World with ease, with only the cover of “Heartbreak Hotel” getting too slow and somber for its own good. With so many years of metal and hard rock under his belt, it’s satisfying to hear Riggs find new ways of approaching the themes and sounds that have been a life-long fascination.
1 Say Goodnight to the World 4:19
2 I Hear Satan 2:59
3 You Were Born to Be My Gallows 2:53
4 Gravedirt on My Blue Suede Shoes 2:21
5 Like Moonlight 4:09
6 No One Will Be a Stranger 2:58
7 Heartbreak Hotel Axton, Durden, Presley 4:17
8 Sleeping with the Witch 3:57
9 Let Me Be Your Cigarette 2:48
10 See You All in Hell or New Orleans 4:46