Anoxia, a hard rock band from Maryland, recently released an intriguing and powerful single called “Tears, I Bleed”, and a creative music video to go with it. This song is an anthem for anyone who is trying to get through being hurt in a relationship.
Vocalist Chrystal James founded ANOXIA in 2004. The band was a force in the Baltimore local music scene for ten years before an eight-year hiatus. Chrystal refers to that hiatus as "The Quiet", which has led to the title of the band's upcoming album, Relinquish The Quiet. ANOXIA has made a return now with Chrystal and her “Guardians” – “Relic” (guitars), “DeKay” (bass), “Dust” (guitars), and another Guardian to be named soon. Chrystal calls them her Guardians instead of a band – it is ANOXIA’s gimmick and her way of continuing to create her music without anyone else having control or holding her back.
Despite having a journalism degree, this writer had to look up the definition of the word anoxia. It is “an absence or deficiency of oxygen reaching the tissues”. Regarding the band’s name, Chrystal admits that it is fitting due to her stage fright. “You know that feeling when your foot falls asleep?” She says it’s only momentary – a moment to literally “flip a switch”. She shares that it’s a high she can’t really explain.
The lyrics and vocal melodies for “Tears, I Bleed” were written, performed, and recorded by Chrystal. All electronic composition was created and produced by Tony Correlli. Guitars were written and recorded by TJ Darpino and “Relic” and performed by “Relic”. Bass guitars were written, performed, and recorded by “DeKay”. The track was mixed and mastered at Deep End Studio in Middle River, Maryland. The video was filmed and produced by Darpino Media/TJ Darpino. Chrystal says TJ was formerly a member of ANOXIA before the hiatus and now does all videography, and can also stand in as a musician if needed.
Chrystal says “Tears, I Bleed” was written prior to the band’s hiatus. She says, “It was one of those songs I couldn’t let go. It was new and fresh and really had a lot of emotion that was the driving force primarily.” She does share that for the version that was released, she had to re-write lyrics on the spot, something she had never done before. She says she found herself outside of her comfort zone and actually can’t wait to do it again.
When I listen to “Tears, I Bleed”, I hear a song about a relationship gone bad. The main subject in the storyline is trying to get over the pain and heartbreak, but at the same time is hoping the other person is hurting the same way. It’s also a song about strength and moving on, as reflected in the lyrics in the bridge: “It’s better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved anybody at all I know now I must be strong But I’d still love to know what the Hell went wrong”
Chrystal has a beautiful voice that is strong yet also ethereal. The emotion of the lyrics is at times woeful and at other times venomous. The guitar riffs combined with the rhythm of the bass are complex, and the electronic elements throughout the song and piano melodies at the beginning and end add an interesting twist.
The video won The Sound 228 Grudge Match three times in a row, including a victory over Chrystal’s husband Corey’s band CARBONSTONE. Those three wins put the video in The Grudge Match Hall of Fame. Chrystal came up with the concept for the video. She says she wanted to look like a warrior of sorts who has had enough and will now make someone pay. She states, “Picture Nancy from the movie ‘The Craft’. She is marching into the party where Chris Hooker is to avenge Sarah. Yeah, that’s where my head was.” Part of the video is Chrystal singing, backed up by her “Guardians” playing their instruments. In other scenes where Chrystal is kneeling behind burning candles, it makes me think of a ritual meant to get rid of the pain and demons from the failed relationship.
Currently Chrystal is spending as much time as she possibly can in the studio, putting everything she has into the aforementioned upcoming ANOXIA album Relinquish The Quiet. She is super excited about this project, because it’s her first full length album. She says, “I really want to make sure I do all the things. I don’t want to leave anything out.” Chrystal shares that the album will tell a story and really give listeners a glimpse inside her heart and soul. She is hoping to throw a huge album release party sometime in early-to-mid 2023.
PHOTO CREDIT: Beth Starner Photography