After five album releases and 15 years of touring the US and Europe blitzing audiences with their famously dynamic live shows, Philadelphia’s instrumental power trio Stinking Lizaveta (named for a Dostoevsky character) has become an institution in the heavy rock scene. Their eclectic style of music incorporates post-rock, metal, sludge, prog, stoner and doom with jazz stylings and eastern influences. RockDetector’s book, ‘History of Stoner, Goth, and Doom’, categorizes their music as ‘doom-jazz’, a label that the band have taken to citing when asked to describe their music.
Stinking Lizaveta’s numerous fans include Steve Albini, who recorded their debut album, ‘…hopelessness and Shame’, and their most recent album, Scream of the Iron Iconoclast released Spring of 2007. Their first three albums were released on the now-defunct Tolotta label (Spirit Caravan, The Obsessed, Dead Meadow, Othrelm) run by Fugazi bass player Joe Lally. An invitation from Steve Albini brought the band their European debut performance at the UK All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in March 2004, where they played a storming set that created a stampede to their merch table.
The trio comprises brothers Yanni and Alexi Papadopoulos on guitar and electric upright bass and Cheshire Agusta on drums. Yanni elicits an impressive range of sounds from his electric guitar, from heavy Sabbath-y riffs to graceful winding melodies, with periodic departures into stoner groove territory. He also provides the only ‘vocals’ in the band by singing/screaming into his pickups. Alexi also gives his electric bass a versatile workout, using fingers, bow and effects pedals to create an array of different sounds and moods – from the heavy doom of ‘Side Naked’ to the light jazziness of ‘Someone’s Downstairs’. All of this is underpinned, exploded and interruped by the inventive drumming of Cheshire Agusta, who combines ‘pile-driven polyrhythms’, dextrous cymbal work and complex fills to keep things varied and exciting. Stinking Lizaveta is what you get when you put three strong willed individuals together and get them to agree however briefly to build something that stands up while each carves his or her name in the center with deep gouges using impertinent lettering. Audience members find fascination in each player and in the end have to give each equal time.
Touring experience includes 15 years in the US, Mainland Europe and the UK and numerous opening spots for such bands as Clutch Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity, Don Caballero, and The Hidden Hand.