Throughout the past two decades, Huntington, WV musician John Lancaster put in a fair share of hours fronting and playing guitar in local bands such as Guru Lovechild, Earth to Eros, and Cincinnati’s Semi-Automatic. But perhaps his most recognized project was with one time Century Media recording artists Chum, who successfully merged crushingly heavy riffs with hook laden yet soulful melodies courtesy of Lancaster’s vocals. Chum had a well-received yet relatively short run but still managed to capture the attention of a few name folks in the music industry as well as some of their respected musical peers. As time rolled on through the post-Chum era and projects came and went, all became gradually quiet on Lancaster’s musical front as he devoted more time and energy towards his personal life.
In July of 2010 after a couple year hiatus with music, John returned to the fold with his first solo album titled “Phantom Moon”. Approximately 3 years in the making, “Phantom Moon” featured guest appearances by dUg Pinnick (King’s X, KXM, Pinnick Gales Pridgen), Dave Angstrom (Luna Sol, Hermano, Supafuzz), Matt Wolfe (Byzantine) and many more. Even though it was initially intended to be just a studio project, the desire to play the songs live quickly reached a fever pitch. A couple of months after the release of “Phantom Moon”, John assembled a live band that consisted of Mac Walker on guitar (Chum, Hyatari), Barry Smith on bass (Hybrid Zero, Guru Lovechild), and Josh Adkins on drums (Abdullah, Erase the Grey).
After about a year and a half of refining their live show in local and regional venues, John and the band headed into the studio and began recording his second solo release, the EP “Crash Test in Progress” which was then released in November of 2012. Reviews were positive and the record even found its way into many “Best of 2012” lists among both their peers and critics alike. The band went on to playing some well received shows over the following two years with the likes of Karma to Burn, Lo-Pan, Dream the Electric Sleep, Valley of the Sun and Byzantine to name a few.
Fast forward to January of 2015, which brings us the release of John’s third solo effort, another EP titled “A Penchant for Hell on Earth”. The heavy/melodic formula that Lancaster has been known for is still evident on these 6 new songs but with arguably more of an edge than the previous releases. “Overall, I feel that the way everything came together in the final mix is a closer representation of what the band sounds like live,” said Lancaster. The gritty, layered and unconventionally heavy sound that has been revered at the band’s live shows stands front and center on songs like “A Penchant for Hell on Earth pt.1” and “Jerusalem Syndrome” while maintaining the lush, melodic sensibilities on tracks like “Penny Drops” and “Water Under the Burning Bridge”. Early into the first listen of “A Penchant for Hell on Earth” it is once again evident that Lancaster’s influences are vast yet cohesive in the end result. “I’ve always listened to a wide range of music since I was kid,” he said. “You never know, you can always find inspiration in the most unlikely places. I suppose those unlikely places will sometimes subconsciously make an appearance here and there (in the music). In the end, it’s just a natural part of the process for me.”
–January 15, 2015