Nameless Friends raise holy hell with their new single and video Demons — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
The rock band from London, Ontario, leave no altar un-scorched with their latest single, a scathing critique of right-wing, religious discrimination toward 2SLGBTQIA+ people. The closest thing the band’s debut album Blasphemy has to a title track, Demons is relentless in its assessment of queerphobic ‘Christianity.’ It’s a six-minute, gospel prog epic satirizing gaslighting and toxic positivity in organized religion, that devolves into a wicked organ solo halfway through (think Deep Purple meets Dream Theater meets Boston).
And just in case that didn’t make the band’s point clear enough, the accompanying video features a “sexy gay baptism,” 12,000 rainbow rose petals, an “unhinged”, televangelist-style sermon from ‘the Rev. Chad’ and a stunning performance from Toronto drag queen Jordana Myles, filmed on the altar of converted-church-recording-studio Catherine North in Hamilton.
Clearly the band — who perform under the aliases of Number One, Number Two, Number Three, Number Four, Number Five, Number Six and Number Seven — intend to make a statement with this debut.
“Blasphemy is a concept and protest album about the surge of right-wing, religious bigotry in politics and popular culture,” they explain. “Nameless Friends has female, queer, and immigrant members, members of colour, and members with chronic illnesses and neurodivergence. We wrote this album in solidarity with the communities being targeted and oppressed in the name of capitalist, patriarchal, white supremacist ‘religious freedom.’ ”
And they are willing to put their platform where their mouth is. In the weeks preceding Demons release, the band amassed hundreds of thousands of views on social media for speaking out against Saskatchewan new school naming policy, which many civil rights organizations argue harms transgender children. They are also donating all ad revenue from the Demons video to two “life-saving” queer support organizations, Rainbow Railroad and Trans Lifeline.
But that doesn’t mean Nameless Friends, or their music, is bleak. The band push back that calling out negatives doesn’t have to be gloomy. “Joy, hope, and love are also vital human experiences,” says Number One, the band’s frontwoman and Blasphemy’s producer. “We’re trying to present those truths with as much courage as the hard stuff… We’re trying to make music about the justice we want to see in the world, that’s also really bloody fun to listen to.”
If you ask them, Blasphemy sounds like classic Queen, early Pup or Rage Against the Machine fronted by Ann Wilson. “The production is bright, bold, clean, and classic: less hyper-compressed than the big rock/pop records, and energized with unvarnished performances, including no tuning software or pitch correction on any of the lead vocals.” The group had help from a talented team — Andrew McLeod (aka Sunnsetter) mixed their album, while Darcy Proper (aka the first female engineer to win a Grammy) mastered it.
The band know exactly who they wrote Blasphemy for: “If anyone has ever dared to tell you that their sky daddy doesn’t love you, this record is for you.”