Cleveland doomgazers HIRAM-MAXIM unveil their first single, “Alpha,” from their forthcoming Colder record. Colder sees release on April 7.
About the track, Hiram-Maxim vocalist Fred Gunn says, “When Balmer built the patch on their synth they named it “Alpha.” I used that title as a theme for the lyrics and kept it as the title for the song.”
Balmer adds, “I thought there was no way I was gonna get away with using that arpeggios and now it’s the foundation of the song.”
Drummer John Panza shares, “I’ve waited since our formation in 2014 to deploy two things on an album: a blast beat and a disco beat. On ‘Alpha,’ I chose the latter.”
HIRAM-MAXIM were invented by a completely random process as part of the 2013 Lottery League, a combination band draft and musical circus held every couple of years in Cleveland. Immediately the band shed its league name (Kill It With Fire), chose HIRAM-MAXIM as its soniclodestone, and signed to Aqualamb Records out of Brooklyn, New York.
Two albums were released and then Covid hit. Original member Lisa Miralia left in 2021 and was replaced by multi-instrumentalist Balmer of Cleveland’s Pleasure Boy. An EP followed immediately, featuring covers of Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes” (mixed by Bowie engineer Mario McNulty) and Nine Inch Nails’ “March of the Pigs” (mixed by Spotlights’ Mario Quintero). With Balmer in the fold, HIRAM-MAXIM began writing and recording the songs that would become its 2023 release, Colder.
While on its 2015 debut, the band tended more toward improvisation, the sound on 2017’s Ghosts has come to fruition on Colder in a propulsive, laser-focused intensity. While still unapologetic champions of noise and doom, HIRAM-MAXIM’S goal for Colder was to lean in on its industrial side, reflecting the town from which they come, the old drill bit factory where they practice, the medical struggles drummer Panza has endured since losing his right lung in 2012 to the very industrial cancer mesothelioma, and the sonic possibilities provided by digital sampling and patches, stand-up bass, and electronic percussion.
Colder was recorded at BCStudio in Brooklyn, New York, by Martin Bisi (Swans, Sonic Youth, Unsane) with further recording by Panza in his own Cleveland studio Dark Current. The album was mixed by Bisi and mastered by Brad Boatright (Audiosiege) in Portland, Oregon. Unlike the hurried sessions of old, Colder is the result of a more nuanced, unrushed studio experience. The result is an album with twice the songs of the band’s debut but retaining all the hallmarks of HIRAM-MAXIM’s noisy sound, a sonic sturm and drang reflecting the band’s varied influences.
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Photo by Bryon Miller