Gig Seeker Pro


Band Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Locals Only: Hierophant"

Hierophant's debut CD, Portals, is a good introduction to a group with an eclectic Rock sound that's all over the musical map. Their influences range from Pink Floyd to Sonic Youth to Tom Waits to Guided by Voices, and these and more can be heard in the band's music.

According to singer/guitarist/bassist Chris Storms, the soundscape of styles on Portals was unintentional, and is partly attributed to each member's ability to write songs.

"Most of our songs were one person's idea, and are fleshed out by the rest of the band," Storms says. "Each member writes songs differently, and all of the styles come out."

Hierophant's members, Storms, singer/guitarist/keyboardist Brad Bowman, main bassist Scott Fuhr and drummer Bob White, attribute their sound not only to sharing songwriting duties, but also to sharing instrumental duties.

Storms, formerly of acclaimed local band, Ditchweed, began recording music with Bowman in 1995. They asked Fuhrs to join the project and played as a three-piece for a short time, but were looking for a drummer. Bob White heard the band practicing from across the street and introduced himself.

"We were actually auditioning someone else that night," says Bowman. "So when Bob walked up to us and said he could play drums, we thought he was some weirdo. Then we heard him play, and we were blown away."

Hierophant has existed in its present form for three years. When asked about the meaning of the band's name, Bowman agrees to take the question.

"I was looking through the dictionary one day and came across 'hierophant,'" he explains. "I thought it was ambiguous enough to describe our sound. There are bands like Radiohead and Coldplay, whose names just seem to define their sound. That's what we were going for." It's actually an ancient Greek word describing someone who reveals mysteries; in many Tarot card decks, the hierophant is personified as a pope or a high priest.

Bowman, a journalism major, says writing about other people's lives affects his songwriting. "Some of the songs I write have stemmed from a conversation with myself, and others from a character or motif that we've discussed. We don't write about what we don't know -- we write about what we know through our own and other people's experiences."

In response to a question about Cincinnati's music scene, Storms hesitates. "I think a lot of good acts have come out of Cincinnati, but if you look back to 1990 or 1991, the local music scene was much more involved," he says. "Part of the problem is that a lot of national acts seem to stay away from Cincinnati, and people don't really come from far away to see local musicians."

Bowman concedes, "Audience interest seems much less than it used to be. The scene here has the potential to be great, but it is limited as far as national exposure is concerned."

For a band that is only three years old, Hierophant has achieved a number of accomplishments. The first and foremost, says Storms, is recording a disc on their own.

"I think it's a stepping stone, both to more exposure and another CD, which will probably be more ambitious," he says. "Also, we feel like we've achieved above-demo quality on this CD, so it doesn't sound like we recorded it in someone's basement."

Concerning the band's future, Bowman is optimistic.

"Since this project has started, I think we have progressed from one goal to the next, so naturally, we'll continue to progress. I know that we won't sign on to a record label just to be on a label. We plan to record a new CD in the winter, and we have about half of that material already. I think that, unless the right situation comes along with the right label, we'll always be a grassroots band, doing everything ourselves. But it would be incorrect to stop where we are. Music is something we have been doing since we were 15 years old, and I can't see us just stopping now. I think in some ways, we do this because we have to." - Cincinnati Citybeat

"Review of "Popular Astronomy""


Hierophant: Popular Astronomy

by Ezra Waller

What would happen if a band spent five years doing nothing but listening to Art Bell and writing music? It's impossible to be sure, but Hierophant's Popular Astronomy would be an educated guess, with the emphasis on educated. There are layers upon layers of musical and intellectual geekery here, interacting to birth luminous jewels like a distant stellar nursery. Clustered together, they form an engrossing journey with impressive scope.

Hierophant trains its lenses on every corner of the rock galaxy, refracting a sound that is not derivative, but rather all-encompassing. You don't just hear influences, you are actually transported to different eras, often several in one song. Listening to the disc, it's not hard to imagine them in the context of early psychedelic rock, the heyday of prog, the new wave and punk of the '80s or later indie and alternative rock. In fact, it's hard not to imagine it, as the band dons a multitude of musical costumes as the disc progresses.

The opener, "Given the Business" sounds like Steely Dan set on evil. The next cut, "Scanning the Skies," recalls the Brit-prog of Genesis before descending into a brief, bluesy instrumental strut that Jim Morrison would have been proud to inhabit. The next track, "Starshot," would be right at home on Space Oddity. After a couple of Sugar-esque tunes, "Exhumisson" provides a nice little trip-hop/breakbeat inspired respite. Later on, the malicious verse/chorus of "Pure" sounds like John Wayne Gacy fronting Guns ‘n’ Roses, and the majestic "Portals" sounds like Pink Floyd's contribution to the Rocky Horror soundtrack. The last few songs provide a suitable cool-down period, sliding along reminiscent of Pearl Jam's Binaural.

Usually I'm hesitant to list so many stylistic analogues, but the fact that they're so widely varied clearly implies that Hierophant are far from copycats. Plus, if you stuck these songs in the catalog of any of those artists, they'd be standout tracks. Finally, it's an indicator of the broad appeal of Popular Astronomy, doubly impressive for such an exploratory work. Despite their far-flung nature, they still have a very cohesive sound. The binary forces at work here are the fact that the band is full of songwriters (and vocalists) and that they have had plenty of time to meld their styles and forge a characteristic sound. They are substantive but fluid, with change being the preeminent constant.

Nearly every song has an abrupt, major stylistic shift, as if Heisenberg himself suddenly gazed upon them. Sometimes they come back to where they started, other times not. This unhinged quality helps create a flow that is tumultuous, but flows nonetheless. It also leads to the illusion that the album is much longer than it is, and with 15 tracks spread over an hour, it is really pretty long. But with all of the interesting phases the disc moves through, it's never tedious.

The complexity of the songwriting is matched both by the recording quality and talents of the instrumentalists. Bob White (a.k.a. Roberto Blanco)'s drumming in particular is at the forefront of the music, changing parts up constantly, both in subtle and overt ways. Guitarists Chris Storms (former Ditchweed) and Brad Bowman (former Razor Smile) intertwine crashing and soaring riffs, while bassist Scott Fuhr makes major contributions both melodically and rhythmically. The instruments tend to go in different directions frequently, rarely playing follow the leader but neither sounding dissonant.

On the first few listens, the only lyrics that pop out are the science/space-oriented ones because, well, you don't hear Erich Von Daniken and "binomial nomenclature" name-checked very often in song. A closer inspection reveals some well thought out content: witty, hyper-literate and dripping with meaning, all served up with wonderfully sarcastic delivery. In the sunshiny ballad "Reply to All," they sum up informed frustration with the lines, "Why do so many people / Not know what the hell they're doing? Why are people that don't understand / Allowed in positions so grand?" As mentioned earlier, the four members rotate vocal duties, but blend really well. They range from breathy and understated to acerbic to speak-singing and often packing a healthy Mark Arm-style holler.

As a whole, Popular Astronomy is offbeat but somehow uplifting. Listening to it seems to tune out the rest of the world, like Hierophant has discovered how to interfere with the frequency of life. If any band can do it, they can. They have direction, know what they want to sound like, and make purposeful music that is never aimless or grasping. - Cincymusic.com

"Lessons in "Astronomy""

Lessons in "Astronomy"

By Mike Breen

Locals Hierophant officially release their debut full-length, Popular Astronomy, on Friday at the Mad Hatter in Covington. In keeping with a "Friday the 13th" theme, the band is joined by The Thirteens and Le TechnoPUSS13S. The group's spark was first kindled over a decade ago when guitarist Chris Storms (then with legendary local trio Ditchweed) and singer Brad Bowman (formerly of Razor Smile and fresh from a stint in Austin, Texas) started writing and recording together. Bassist Scott Fuhr (it should be noted that all of the members share singing, writing and instrumental duties, so "bassist" is a relative term) teamed with Bowman in 1999 to form a "full working band" and Bob White (also referred to as "Roberto Blanco") cemented the lineup in 2000. The group's first release was the 2003 EP, Portals.

Flexibility and diversity are the keys to the success of Popular Astronomy, which pulls influence from the full spectrum of Rock & Roll and then stitches it all back together so they are barely recognizable. Most bands that do this either end up sounding like lost musical tourists ("Here's our Surf song ... here's our Ska song ...") or come up with something so far-reaching and esoteric it's alienating. Popular Astronomy is challenging but far from impenetrable; even with the multifaceted input from each member, a "Hierophant sound" is definitely achieved. It's a weird, almost otherworldly brand of Rock, but the "live" feel of the album gives it a captivating intimacy and the strong but slanted melodicism adds to the allure. While kaleidoscopic, winding and occasionally busy, the album in never jarringly off-the-wall, as the fluid writing creates an streaming, natural flow.

The band is wildly imaginative, coloring each of the album's 15 tracks with varying hues that constantly keep you guessing what's coming next. The songwriting seethes elasticity, as does just about everything else on Popular Astronomy. The guitars shift from textural atmospherics to soulful Hendrixian flutter to buzzing, grungy Post Punk rumble (to name but a few touchstones), while the versatile, time-changing drumming provides so much more than just a simple backbone. The vocal-sharing makes it difficult to tell who's singing what without a scorecard, but all of the singing is impressive and the vocalists do a fantastic job of adjusting their voices to the mood of the song.

Popular Astronomy is an album you can get lost in, the type of CD you'd give any of your friends who claim that Rock & Roll is played out and stuck in a boring rut. It's a bit early, but Hierophant's first long-player is already a strong contender to be one of finest locally produced discs of 2006. (hierophantsound.com) - Cincinnati Citybeat


Portals (2003) 7 song CD
Popular Astronomy (2006) 14 song CD


Feeling a bit camera shy


Hierophant delivers a multi-dimensional rock experience with a variety of influences. Described in Cincinnati Citybeat as "melodic, careening rock," members Brad Bowman, S.W. Fuhr, Chris Storms, and Bob White share instrumental and vocal duties, making for an eclectic mixture of textures and styles. Delivering a combination of dynamic atmospheric rock, flailing post-punk, power pop, ambient soundscapes, and even backporch woodshedding, their aim is to cover a wide spectrum of genres while still retaining the "Hierophant Sound."

Hierophant began when Brad Bowman and Scott Fuhr got together with intention to form a group to play out in the Cincinnati area. Chris Storms, who was at the time playing with Cinci legends Ditchweed, came aboard to play drums on a temporary basis. One night, when the group was auditioning a new drummer and cooking up some barbecue chicken, a mysterious stranger appeared. Emboldened by the BBQ, the stranger claimed he could play drums, and Hierophant gave him a shot. Thus Roberto Blanco was initiated into the band, and Storms moved over to guitar.

Fueled by a mutual interest of all kinds of music, conspiracy theories and alien activity, (and of course, barbecue chicken) Hierophant began playing shows and recording their diverse brand of rock. The band soon created their own record label, Cuban Fan Belt, to release a debut album, ‘Portals’. Cuban Fan Belt also is the home for various other efforts of the band members, including dub, electronic, cinematic and other music projects. The band released its debut EP "Portals" in 2003, and a more ambitious full-length CD, "Popular Astronomy", in 2006.

As Cincymusic.com put it in a review of ‘Popular Astronomy’, “Hierophant has discovered how to interfere with the frequency of life. If any band can do it, they can. They have direction, know what they want to sound like, and make purposeful music that is never aimless or grasping.”