Heavy music is experiencing a renaissance of innovation and creativity, while most of contemporary music genres have stagnated in recent years.
Case in point: Holy Water, a powerful new step merging heavy doom guitars, stoic experimentalists like Caspar Brötzmann Massaker and Khanate mixed with early 80s proto-industrial sounds like Psychic TV and The Leather Nun, metalgaze melodies and hints of Wovenhand’s gothic folk. Yes, that’s a wide range of styles, but it shows just how deftly Holy Water, the nom-de-tune of vocalist/guitarist Jasper den Hartigh cuts its own sonic space.
Jasper den Hartigh was previously a member of critically praised New Orleans post-punk band Heat Dust, which released a handful of recordings on The Flenser label and toured with Thou and The Body.
Holy Water’s 11-song eponymous album was self-recorded in 2021, at home and at den Hartigh’s Austin rehearsal space. Help on drums came from Andrew Stevens, guitar from Neckbolt’s Ben Krause, and vocals from den Hartigh’s wife, Sarah Contey.
“The album came after an extensive creativity exercise I did called Compost-Turn,” den Hartigh explains. “In which I put out 7 releases from friends and myself as physical bookmarks. When it came time to work on a self-titled solo project, this helped the songs appear rapidly. This album was my attempt at making a pop-record, while trusting my gut, using lessons learned over the course of my entire musical life. From being in punk bands, to playing slowcore, to ambient noise, and heavy metal. The songs all have references to Dutch fairy tales but also contain more personal writing.”