Devil’s advocates 

Should the Satanist-proposed monument of goat-headed idol Baphomet make its way onto the Capitol steps, Oklahoma City has just the band for its unveiling.

Norman’s own Rainbows Are Free calls its brand of doomsday dirges and post-apocalyptic poetry “the devil’s music,” setting stoner rock riffs to hellish tales of mind-bending torment.

In the minds of these purveyors of Southern-fried metal, a shrine to the dark side would be good for Oklahoma.

“My natural inclination was to support it because it would piss off the status quo,” guitarist Richie Tarver said. “I think it’s good to shake up this monolithic, Oklahoman infusion of politics and religion … even if it means supporting the Church of Satan.”

But before you go hiding your wife, kids and pets from the five-piece, realize that its tongue is planted pretty firmly in its cheek.

There are no animal sacrifices or blood pacts to be found at rehearsals, but jokes and laughs abound from the dudes who are known to take the stage dressed as wizards or the Village People in the name of channeling their “inner Parliament-Funkadelic.”

“There’s not a lot of brooding in the darkness,” Tarver said of the band’s collective demeanor. “We can’t help it. We just can’t take anything too seriously.”

Like some sort of wicked escapist pornography, Rainbows Are Free’s music and lyrics are born more out of a place of fascination than darkness. Its allegiance to metal and psych-rock figureheads like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and 13th Floor Elevators assures an earnest final product and a searing sound capable of impressing even the blackest hearts in the crowd.

“There are those austere, cutthroat dudes who live in a van and breathe heavy-metal Satan and that’s it at shows,” Tarver said. “We get our respect, nonetheless.”

The strength of material found on Believers in Medicine, the band’s 2010 full-length debut, has something to do with that. That legacy is cemented with Waves Ahead of the Ocean, its new album, celebrated with Saturday’s show at Opolis.

Waves finds the band as heavy as ever, only recharged with a sinful lust for rhythm and groove right up Queens of the Stone Age or Mastodon’s alley.

“This one has a little more of a rock ’n’ roll vibe and less psychedelicinfused metal,” Tarver said. “It’s crafted a little better, and there’s less reliance on ambient effects. It’s more of what the band would do live.”

The plans for the coming year are still up in the air, although the band said regional touring is sure to happen. Requests for lyrics are pouring in, even from teenagers across Brazil, Germany and the United Kingdom. This has them pining for a trip across the pond, all while stewing in the irony of America’s most conservative state bearing some of the world’s finest devil-music.

“To find that we have fans in those places, where metal still really thrives, to have that exposure and recognition is weird to think about,” Tarver said. “It’s a bewildering thing to have people listen to us that might not even know our language.”

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Joshua Boydston

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