by Sarah A. Peterson
Like a magician conjuring from the dark depths of a top hat, so too came the name of Parlier metal band, Spirit Descending, but instead of a white rabbit or a levitating deck of cards, the hands of Fate pulled out the evolution of a sound five years in the making.
“When we all started playing together, we weren’t sure what band name we would go with,” says vocalist Krystin Dulay, “so we actually drew some ideas out of a hat. When we saw the words ‘spirit descending,’ we took it and ran with it.”
Spirit Descending (comprised of Dulay, drummer Erik Garibay, guitarist Elaine Garcia, and keyboardist Amanda Rostykus) is the brainchild of its two founding members. “Elaine and I used to play in a Gothic metal band called Gnostic Envy,” says Garibay, “but after a couple of years, that project came to an end. She and I decided to continue playing together, so we started a new project.”
Dulay and Rostykus soon rounded out the foursome. “I and our former bassist were contacted by Erik through a musician exchange website,” Dulay says, while Rostykus was introduced to the group by a friend at a local show.
Their collective musical backgrounds are wide-ranging and diverse. “I started piano lessons when I was about six,” says Rostykus, “then did marching band and choir later on. I eventually picked up guitar and started playing with some metal groups in high school.”
Garibay has played a variety of genres, from Spanish rock to Gothic metal, and Dulay honed her craft as a trained vocalist in opera, choir, and musical theater. And as for Garcia, “I grew up listening to and learning to play all different styles of music, but metal is my heart and soul,” says Spirit Descending’s guitarist.
Dulay describes the band’s sound as Melodic Metal. “And there are so many stunned faces when I say that,” she says, “mostly because there isn’t too much exposure to our style around here, at least not with a female vocalist.”
Song-writing is a collaborative process. “Our songs usually start with some guitar riffs,” says Garcia, “a vocal or keyboard melody, or drumbeat. From there we work together in structuring a song. Krystin writes all of the lyrics, though.”
Favorite songs of the group include “Revenge, She Said,” “Petrify,” “The Descent,” and “Godless.” “I love everything about ‘Godless,’” Garcia says. “It’s dark, aggressive, and the vocals kill.”
The band’s debut was self-titled, and their second EP, Creatures of Habit, is set to release later this spring, after a gradual release of its singles. “Each song is a chapter, a part of the whole,” says Dulay. “They’re about ignorance, envy, bigotry, death, and a chance at redemption. Overall it’s about triumph over tragedy.”
Spirit Descending has performed all over Fresno, with venues at Babylon, Audie’s Olympic, Starline (now Strummers), the Mezcal Lounge, and Fulton 55. They are currently gearing up for their Creatures of Habit tour, and can be found on Facebook and at www.spiritdescending.com.
Check out more local band & musician profiles in KRL’s music section.