Photo: Talia Burkett Helvey

Santa Barbara’s RIVAL CULTS are here, peddling their distinctly west-coast brand of energized gothic rock, and bringing back the rock ‘n’ roll that has somehow been forgotten in this era’s dark rock movement.
After years spent touring with bands like Uphill Battle and Exhumed since high school, and another decade and a half of playing in his own local Portland metalbands, Cole Barrington (whose goth cred dates back to 4th grade, with his cameo in his uncle Andrew Fleming’s 1996 film The Craft) felt he’d lost his grounding – spinning his wheels with metal projects that never really achieved his vision. In the summer of 2020, his oldfriend Adi Tejada (Uphill Battle, Sutratma), who was living in Santa Barbara, CA, asked if he would be interested in singing for a new band that he’d been cooking up with their mutual friend Casey Shropshire (Uphill Battle, ex-Sutratma). Casey was living in Camarillo, CA and had been writing songs by himself, but sending them all to Adi for his input. Cole was instantly inspired after hearing the instrumental tracks, and immediately put pen to paper. By Halloween they had demo tracks for an entire EP.
But in November of 2020, Cole had bottomed out with alcohol. He felt a darkness enveloping everything around him andhe knew that the party was officially over. Much of his lyrical content has since been inspired by his epic struggle to climb out of the swamp of addiction, and the elation of being on the other side, yearning to enter the world as a new beast with sharpened senses and a fire to press on. With this renewed vigour, they completed and self-released their self-titled EP in April of 2021. They soon rounded out their band with bassist Cabe Fletcher (of mid-90s Santa Barbara emo heroes Embassy) and drummer Ricky Rhiger, and in 2022 they began to unleash their darkened rock on the unsuspecting local music scene, who were immediately enthralled.
With baritone vocals that recall Sisters of Mercy’s more passionate moments over rock ‘n’ roll that challenges The Cult for their throne atop the dark rock kingdom, Rival Cults come together to represent that burning fire of inspiration that had been mere embers inside the band’s members for so long — a universe of possibilities can be unlocked by one’s will to overcome the goblins of chaos that can reside in their own unconscious.

The band has now teamed up with eclectic LA record label Dune Altar, who are thrilled to announce the release of the RIVAL CULTS debut album Indoctrination on April 21, 2023. Pre-order HERE


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