On the eve of the release of their debut album’s release, deathrock project Executioner’s Mask have shared with us a track by track breakdown of each of the 11 songs on the record courtesy of the band’s guitarist Craig Mickle.

The album stream for the aptly titled Despair Anthems, follows the band’s video for “No Funeral”, a chilling synth-infused melody, driven by scythe-like guitar hooks overlaid with deep dark crooning gothic rock vocals, along with a track premiere of the tenebrous “Bury Me A Grave”, and a visualizer for the tempestuous melody “Hatred of Self”, and song that invokes the classic line spoke to Agent Cooper by Twin Peak’s dark heroine Laura Palmer in the confines of the mysterious Black Lodge:

“When you see me again it won’t be me…”


While some may describe their sound on Despair Anthems evoking Pornography-era The Cure, The Sisters Of Mercy and Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Executioner’s Mask to our ears cast even darker shadows, conjuring imagery of Christian Death at their peak, and The Mighty Sphincter. whose Vampiric Doug Clark joined Rozz on the other side only just this past March.

Read below the track by track breakdown from Executioner’s Mask guitarist Craig Mickle:

The Defilers

“So, I dropped the ball on this track initially… Jay had sent me the file at least a month before I flew out to Philadelphia to record the album with them, so my guitar is basically improvised on the spot after learning the main progression and while Jay had been blaring AFI a lot through in morning prior to my tracking with that kind of sound in mind for this (I think). I wanted to go in a way more mid era Sonic Youth direction. I believe it worked out swimmingly, what a moody motherfucker of an opening track.”

No Funeral

“Upon first listening to the bones of this song I was very confused about how to go about my guitar work for it, everything I wrote just ended up sounding like slimy 80’s melodic leads. I ended up running with that idea and what came of it is what I think is our most Sisters Of Mercy-shiny black leather-dyed black, teased, and drenched in hairspray-track.”

Bury Me A Grave

“Club thumper with my favorite guitar lines from any of the songs.”


“Slick and oozing, makes me want to ride a stripped-down bike through the desert with a guitar strapped to my back. I love every element about this song.”

In The Night

“This song went through a real metamorphosis in the studio, from a jangly dreamy thing to a very polished anthemic rocker. This song utilized repetition in a hypnotizing way and I don’t think we ever discussed ‘the sound’ we were going for on any of these track, but we definitely all ended up on the same wave length on this one. This is the final scene in your favorite campy horror movie.”

True Blue

“Fluid, melancholic driving melody. The overdubs on ‘True Blue’ experimented heavily with fuzz and headspace. Lots of improvised Neil Young worship for the real ones.”

Growing Distances

“If the name ‘Cowboys From Hell’ wasn’t previously utilized, I would find it a very appropriate description for how this song feels and sounds to me— even with the little New Order repetitive chord strumming in between the more cutting leads.”

Hatred Of Self

“Easily my favorite track on the record. Dynamics on dynamics on dynamics, anthemic and strong. This is what happens when you get some extreme metal, noise, and punk musicians together to have a go at ‘post-punk.’”


“Initially we joked about naming all of the songs after old horror B movies hence the name ‘Ratboy.’ A rock song turned on its head and painted black.”

Freight Of Fire

“In all honestly, I had never heard The Scud Mountain Boys’ original version of this when I was writing my parts but I think it pays tribute in a sincere way. Equal parts dreamy jangles and straight forward edge, thats the sound, MAN.”

Desperation Rising

“Loose and shaking, like trying to break some awful news to someone you love. A somber love letter. Also a love letter from me to some of my favorite 90’s emo tracks.”

Listen to Despair Anthems below:

Executioner’s Mask

is the brainchild of three unusual suspects: Jay Gambit of noise metal unit Crowhurst on vocals, Ryan Wilson from Intestinal Disgorge on synth and drum programming, and LACE and Cop Warmth’s Craig Mickle also on guitar.

Added to their live lineup on drum duties is Samus Clintonov, in addition to Joshua Bosarge on bass, and Jim Reed on the second guitar.

The band released their demo ‘True Blue’ in 2018.  Shortly after the demo was issued, the trio re-imagined and re-recorded those tracks, and completed 7 new songs that would round out their debut, which is set for release tomorrow via Profound Lore.

Despair Anthems is available for pre-order here ahead of its release date this Friday, July 10th.

Despair Anthems, Track Listing:
1. The Defilers
2. No Funeral
3. Bury Me A Grave
4. 1988
5. In the Night
6. True Blue
7. Growing Distances
8. Hatred of Self
9. Ratboy
10. Freight of Fire
11. Desperation Rising

All songs written by Executioner’s Mask except “Freight of Fire” which is by Scud Mountain Boys.

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