Cult of Mary: Venerations and Devotionals Through Noise


Hailey Magaña’s new project, Cult of Mary, released a 3 track EP and video earlier this month. The project is a departure for Hailey, who last year gained attention in the Harsh Noise scene with Ritual Chair, which she describes as a “noise project that is uncomfortable and anxiety-creating… she yells about past pain to force you to feel it with her.” 

Cult of Mary is a term from the Catholic practice of extreme devotion or worship of Mary. This EP is dedicated to Mary and is quite heavy in tone and subject. This project does not feature the vocals and cathartic stories of Ritual Chair, but in their place are equally powerful samples of Gregorian chant, giving the religious theme a solid base.

The titles of the EP’s three track consist of crosses, further emphasizing the mystical nature of the music. Serene, beautiful liturgal chants sweep across the stereo spectrum, and are quickly blended with harsh distortion and crackling bursts of audio resmebling a corrupted audio file. The cohesion of the two styles is not easily done, and lesser skilled artists would be prone to produce a song that sounds like two unrelated tracks being played simultaneously. 

The noise element does not constantly overpower the chant, but at times retreats to mechanical sounds evocative of the relentlessly running generator in Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Overall, these 10 minutes make for a powerful statement that will surely be in regular rotation for fans of noise and experimental music in general.

The video released to accompany the EP is shot on Hi8 and has a simple 1990s home video feel with Hailey using a knife to keep the viewer attentive and a bit uneasy. Other scenes show her lighting candles and continues the worship theme. 

While only a few years active, Magaña’s growth in that time is astonishing. Cult of Mary shows another side of her talent, leaving listeners in want of a full length in the near future. 

Give the full EP a listen here:
https://ritualchair.bandcamp.com/album/cult-of-mary-demo

– Jeff Brown

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