Elysia has released "Lion of Judas," a CD with a "dark aura."

Zak Vargas, vocalist for death-core band Elysia, said he grew up listening to a lot of hard-core bands, but the one that stuck with him was Converge.

"I was 14 and also got into a lot of local bands here in Sacramento," said Vargas during a phone interview from his home. "Music has always been important to me. And the reason why I'm doing what I'm doing is because of the music.

"Sure, if the money was good, I'd be in music for the money, but it's not."

Since it's inception in 2003, Elysia, which was originally called Elysium's Revenge, has been through some lineup changes.

"There is a whole list of people who have played in the band," said Vargas. "And it has been frustrating to me because I had been wanting to record a new album for two years.

"Luckily we were able to stabilize the band, and I was finally able to record a new album with them."

The new album, "Lion of Judas," is the band's follow-up to 2006's "Masochist." The band's lineup is Vargas, drummer Steven Sessler, bassist Jon Malinowski and guitarists Garrett Gilardi and Chris Cain.

"I was excited to get back to the studio, and we contacted a producer to help record it," said Vargas.

The producer was none other than Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou.

"We talked with him and told him what we wanted out of our sound, and he know exactly what we needed," said Vargas. "He got the tones right and helped me with the rhythms."

The album was recorded in seven days, said Vargas. And Ballou didn't know if he had done enough to garner a production credit.

"But when the CD was finished, he felt like he didn't do very much and told us to take the production credits."

Still, said Vargas, this album was a departure for his songwriting style.

"In the past, when I wrote my political songs, I was pretty straightforward," he said. "But we wanted this album to have more of an aura — a dark aura. So the songs are more metaphoric. The songs are still about issues, but they are more symbolic. And the album is very pessimistic. It's like there's no hope in the world."

If you go . . .

What: Ferret Records Young Guns Tour

Where: Ritz, 2265 S. State

When: Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.

How much: $12

Phone: 467-8499, 800-888-8499

Web: www.smithstix.com

E-mail: scott@desnews.com