Rich Howells

VIDEO PREMIERE: Metal band Prosody and author Steve Corbett release the demon of ‘Blood Red Syrah’

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For decades, Steve Corbett shook up newspapers and radio waves in Northeastern Pennsylvania with his strong political views and in-your-face reporting before transitioning into a less brutal and bloody profession last year – horror/thriller novelist.

“Blood Red Syrah” was released in September of 2018, and while Corbett is just as opinionated and rabble-rousing as ever, a different side of the infamous “outlaw journalist” from Scranton emerged in the form of Syrah, “a vicious personal demon who taunts and pushes” the book’s protagonist, Wally, “through tangled vineyards of bloody vengeance and deadly despair” in “a far-out literary acid trip for some, a brutal cut of harsh reality for others.”

Fans of this dark story of wine and murder include Wilkes-Barre thrash metal band Prosody and James Callahan, head of local music promotion and production team Camp Rattler, who teamed up to deliver their own take on the book in a song and music premiering exclusively on NEPA Scene, appropriately on Friday the 13th.

“When I realized horror/metal fans comprised the most rabid audience for my novel, ‘Blood Red Syrah,’ I asked [guitarist] Chris Rosenko from Prosody if his band might be interested in recording the title song I wrote. Chris and I train aikijujutsu together. He’s a second-degree black belt. I am a fourth-degree black belt. He ran it past his bandmates and they agreed,” Corbett told NEPA Scene.

“In the meantime, James and I spoke about a video. When all the dark stars lined up the project came together with James’ partner, Kristin, playing the surreal role of Syrah. The final result is even better than a corkscrew in the eye of a snooty chardonnay drinker.”

Doused in blood throughout the video, Prosody vocalist Ken Ebersol embraced the twisted tale almost immediately and realized it was a creative match made in hell.

“Steve is a brilliant writer and an outstanding lyricist. It was not hard to put his words into musical form at all. I had a few doubts at first, but as I read the lyrics he wrote, I knew I could definitely work with him. And I strongly urge anyone reading this to go purchase and read ‘Blood Red Syrah.’ It’s an amazing read guaranteed to keep you awake at night!” Ebersol said.

“The Camp Rattler team was extremely professional and absolutely amazing to work with. Their outstanding artistic vision is exactly how we as a band want to be perceived. They did things I never thought were possible, and I am so excited for everyone to see it!”

For those who haven’t read the book yet, this visual adaptation is careful not to give away any major spoilers while rewarding those who are already familiar with Wally’s “psychedelic pilgrimage through California’s Central Coast wine country.”

“Steve’s story deals with a voice in the main character’s head driving him to commit dastardly crimes. We attempted to capture that feeling of events transpiring out of your control without giving away Steve’s storyline. We have, however, dropped a few Easter eggs for the horror fan who has finished Blood Red Syrah. Plus, it’s a partial lyric video,” Callahan explained.

“We believe all the elements came together like a psychotic fruit cake in our brother company Video Ninja Productions’ intimate editing studio.”

Like Syrah, the boundary-pushing author is pleased with the gruesome results.

“Kenny Ebersole worked with the lyrics I sent him and produced a tight, killer rendition,” Corbett said of the song.

“After spending decades as a newspaper columnist writing about the terrible violence people inflict on each other and the planet, I know the real horror of existence is the horror of everyday life. Metal fans understand. In my worldview, life comes down to reading, writing, and fighting to stop the bleeding.”

Learn more about the creation of “Blood Red Syrah” and Corbett’s controversial career in journalism and radio in Episode 80 of the NEPA Scene Podcast: