Rhyme Report

Published on November 16th, 2017 | by Jerry Doby


Sludge/Doom Metal group ATALA announce new album, ‘Labyrinth of Ashmedai’

Get ready for a wild and descriptive ride into doom and despair with crazy dope metal group ATALA! Based outside of a military town (Twentynine Palms) in the middle of the desert, the group has a way of speaking on the world’s ills and troubles that pulls no punches. If you are pissed at the system and understand that it’s not made for the common man, perhaps you’ll be able to vibe with these cats! Trust me, beyond the uber-aggressive sonics, this group is saying what many are feeling about our experiences in this world…it ain’t local folks! ~ JD

Here’s the official line on the group and their impending release in January

After years of turning heads in the subterranean metal scene, Twentynine Palms, CA-based sludge/doom metal group ATALA are rising above with the release of their most confident album yet – the full-length crusher Labyrinth of Ashmedai – out January 26, 2018, via Salt of the Earth Records. Pre-orders for Labyrinth of Ashmedai are available now via https://saltoftheearthrecords.com/salt-of-the-earth-records-store.

ATALA have released two music videos and a mini-documentary showcasing music from the new album. Get a taste of the heaviness that is Labyrinth of Ashmedai here:

“Grains of Sand” music video:

Mini-Documentary + “Tabernacle Of” music video: https://youtu.be/-BGs7UMe63o

Conjuring grit-laced sludge inspired by their barren and often oppressive desert backdrop, ATALA grips the listener with reflective, crushing doom atmospheres dripping with stoner rock and experimental influences to boot. As with their last record, Shaman’s Path of the Serpent, Labyrinth of Ashmedai was produced by Billy Anderson, recognized for his work with colossal bands such as Sleep, Melvins and Mastodon.

ATALA draws inspiration from their local environment, but not in the way other bands from the area do. “Contrary to popular belief, we aren’t from Joshua Tree, the tourist-trap,” starts guitarist/frontman Kyle Stratton. “Unlike our silver spoon-fed, trust-funded neighbors, we’re from the blue collar side of town. Twentynine Palms is a military base area – our surroundings inspire our music in a way that is pretty different from the way other local bands describe their own inspirations. It’s not all meditation and serenity out here.”

Stratton continues, “We feel more sullen in our outlook. Not only do we deal with weather reaching nearly 130 degrees, we see and experience the effects of true struggles – war, poverty, death, drugs, gang violence, prostitution, and murder – quite often. Gun stores, casinos, churches, liquor stores, bars, wild animals and greed-based-politics just touch the surface of what our town offers. Without going into too much detail… it’s no easy life for us out here. Our music is a mirror that reflects the truth of our personal life experiences.”

Stratton says working with producer Billy Anderson gives ATALA a great advantage, because not only does he bring out their best, he understands their background on a personal level. “Billy was born and raised in Twentynine Palms, so not only does he understand our feelings of despair, he understands the heaviness we are trying to express musically. He helped mold us; he knows how to package heavy in a palatable way. You can hear his industrial stylings and noise contributions adding to the experimental vibe we have on this record. Because we are so comfortable with him, he is able to push us and bring us to a higher level.”

Art by ATALA Frontman Kyle Stratton

Art by ATALA Frontman Kyle Stratton

Labyrinth of Ashmedai track listing:

1. Grains of Sand
2. Tabernacle Of
3. Death’s Dark Tomb
4. I Am Legion
5. Wilted Leaf
6. Infernal

After honing their chops in other touring bands, the members of ATALA came together in 2013 when frontman Kyle Stratton, who owns two tattoo shops in their hometown, met up with drummer Jeff Tedtaotao, the brother of one of his shop’s tattoo artists. After joining up with their first bassist, the band quickly linked up with producer Scott Reeder (Kyuss, The Obsessed), and released their self-titled first full-length in 2014. In 2016, the band followed up with the release of their well-received sophomore album, Shaman’s Path of the Serpent, this time with current producer Billy Anderson (Sleep, Melvins, Mastodon) at the helm. After the departure of their previous bassist, current bassist and fellow tattoo artist Dave Horn joined the ranks. Now signed to Salt of the Earth Records, ATALA seeks to reach new heights and expand their horizons with the 2018 release of Labyrinth of Ashmedai, their most charging and conceptualized offering yet. ATALA have truly found their path, and their groove, with Labyrinth of Ashmedai.

ATALA have performed at festivals such as Maryland Doom Fest and Holland‘s Roadburn Festival, and have shared the stage with bands such as Pallbearer, Baroness, Chelsea Wolf, The Obsessed, Coven, 16, Coliseum, Green Jelly and many others.

Take it from the press: The Obelisk calls ATALA‘s new music, “…among their most aggressive and lumbering works to date,” and Pure Grain Audio touts the band as “…completely catchy, doomy desert rock.”




Kyle Stratton (Guitar and Vocals)
Jeff Tedtaotao (Drums)
Dave Horn (Bass)

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About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.

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