Meet the Maggots: SpiritWorld aim to unleash Death Western In Birmingham - Knotfest
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Meet the Maggots: SpiritWorld aim to unleash Death Western In Birmingham

Posted by Ramon Gonzales in Culture on July 28, 2022

Bridging the grim frontier of the old west with element of the occult, the practitioners of ‘Pagan Rhythms’ preview their planned pummel ahead of Pulse of the Maggots UK.

Nestled somewhere between Slayer and the cinematic grit of Sergio Leone, SpiritWorld shine. The collision of heavy riffage and an affinity for the desolation of the Western frontier, the band was forged behind the vision of Las Vegas native Stu Folsom with the intent to bridge to two worlds.

Upon the release of the band’s formative full length, Pagan Rhythms, the project instantly resonated among royalty of the genre with legends like Max Cavalera and Gary Holt not only taking notice, but heaving their praise. Over the course of the last year, the band’s trajectory has hit a steep incline, starting their 2022 as an integral part of the Decibel Magazine Tour supporting the likes of Obituary and Municipal Waste.

In the months since, the band’s reach has only splintered, with confirmed international plays secured for celebrated heavy music pilgrimages including the Czech Republic’s Brutal Assault and the iconic Bloodstock at Catton Park, UK.

A potent meld of old school sensibility delivered with contemporary flair and a unique aesthetic make for the perfect combination that positions SpiritWorld to have a profound impact on the landscape on the heavy music. That is evident given that the shelf life of Pagan Rhythms only seems to swell as time passes, with the songs still translating as crushing and fresh as ever – and when they rip live – whew.

Ahead of the band’s UK arrival and their performance at this year’s Pulse of the Maggots in Birmingham, Stu Folsom revisited the last year for the practitioners of Death Western. He detailed what is on the horizon for the band, the excitement of winning over an international audience and how his love for OSDM, thrash and hardcore helped to create a his SpiritWorld.


In the last year, the band has lined some important international shows – some of the first for Spiritworld. What is the anticipation like for some of the marquee festival plays and is there any one in particular that stands out?

I try not to think about how many people will be there or I get in my head and create unnecessary anxiety, (Laughs)! The demand for us playing live has been pretty insane since we dropped ‘Pagan Rhythms’ so we have had to go straight to playing big, gnarly shows. It’s cool though. I like the challenge of leveling up the live show really fast. At the end of the day, the live incarnation of SpiritWorld is a bunch of my closest friends so it is really a blessing and hella fun to just get the chance to travel and play music together. I am most excited for Bloodstock. I have always wanted to go, just as a fan and to be playing it this year is pretty special. I cannot wait! Our guitar player Matt has always wanted to go to Brutal Assault and see the fest/fortress so it’s the same for him. We’d be happy to just be at the show kickin’ it, let alone getting to play!

Given the band’s western aesthetic and how tied to American culture that is, is there any concern that some of that may not translate well for an international audience? 

Sure! I think anytime you do something different, you run the chance of it not coming across in a way that works and looking like a jackass but that is half of the fun! We could wear black long sleeve band shirts and nobody would ever say anything negative about it but they also wouldn’t be transported into something strange when we walk on stage, either. I have been really enjoying the process of taking this fictional world I created that is set in the old west, that pulls from my horror and occult influences as well and finding ways to bring it off the page and into the band’s live show.  It’s okay with me and totally expected that some folks won’t get it, but hopefully they can still bang their head and enjoy the groove.

You have been able to tour with a broad spectrum of bands spanning from OG death metal to modern thrash – What about Spiritworld makes genre less relevant?

I am a huge fan of live music. Especially aggressive or extreme stuff, so I just pull from all the live shows I have seen and try to take what works and inject it into our show. I actually didn’t think about playing live much when I wrote Pagan Rhythms, I just wanted to make the most relentless, heavy riffs I could. I think the fact that I pulled from all my influences that range from OSDM, thrash and hardcore makes our live set more dynamic than if we focused on one style of music. If you like hard riffs and banging your head, there are some pretty tasty parts to sink your teeth into.

Pagan Rhythms has existed in the world for a relatively long time and yet people are still just discovering it. What about the music loans itself to a healthy shelf life?

It is hard for me to say. I know the goal was to make a record that I would freak out about and want to listen to front to back. Full length albums these days are really hit or miss for me. It is pretty rare for me to find bands that can hold my interest for an entire album.A Lot of times I end up just grabbing the two or three songs that I like and jam them on a playlist full of bangers. So, it has been really rad to see people react to this album in such a positive way! 

Pulse of the Maggots is a about diversity and discovery. What kind of value do you put on being included on this showcase? 

It is a really big honor to be included and pushed by something as carefully curated as Pulse, that is full of rad bands! Knotfest and 5B have been incredibly supportive and important in getting the word out about SpiritWorld. It is going to be so fun to rip this show and then get to hang out! I am really stoked to see Sylosis too. Worship Decay is the jaaaaaaaam!!!!!!

For fans just discovering your band – what can they expect from your live show come August 10th? 

Being pummeled by hard ass riffs.


Spirit World takes the stage at Pulse of the Maggots Birmingham on August 10th.


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