(From left to right) Tyler Lee Ryan, Nathan Walters, and Samuel Stevens have come to melt your face. Anne-Marie Sokol

I don’t want to be like, “You guys! There’s a new stoner rock revival going on in Fort Worth!” because that implies that the one that materialized in the mid-to-late 2000s like a skunky cloud from beneath some high school football bleachers was huge enough to leave a noticeable hole when it receded. There were indeed a lot of those kinds of bands back then that don’t exist now, but I’m sure that if you ask anyone who goes to shows at Growl Records, there is no shortage of active, heavy bands at the moment, including — especially — One-Eyed Monsters.

The trio just self-released its debut album onto streaming services. While all six songs can stand alone as documents of brain-melting guitar power, when listened in its entirety, the 35-minute-long Ambrosia turns into a spacey journey across the cosmos of your imagination. It’s like activating a time-travel spell carved into a megalith. Or, if you’re not permastoned, this is a band wielding a lot of interesting melodic ideas in the service of a guitar rock epic.

With Samuel Stevens on guitar, Nathan Walters on guitar and vocals (and drums in the studio), and Tyler Lee Ryan on bass, One-Eyed Monsters came together in this iteration around 2021, after a few years of Stevens and Walters jamming with bassist Mike Lima and drummer Ian Brothers, who still backs the band onstage. Stevens and Walters knew each other in high school — Walters is a few years older and taught Stevens some jazz guitar — and that turned into the two figuring out how to write songs and record them.


At the time, Walters fronted a pop-rock band called Big Red Ants, who made an album at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas with Kent Stump and Nolan Thies, which inspired Walters to become an audio engineer himself. When the Ants fizzled out, he and Stevens started jamming and tracking their ideas. The two played some shows in 2018 and 2019 and later recorded a couple tracks that would end up on Ambrosia: “Bongilogy” and “Forever Midnight.” After that, One-Eyed Monsters was headed into a state of aimlessness. That changed when Stevens started working on amps for Ryan.

Ryan, who’d gone to Texas A&M to study electrical engineering, had learned the basics of amp repair through building his own as a hobby and working for local electronics wizard Michael Earhart of famed Arlington shop Earhart Electronics. A colleague of Earhart’s known colloquially as Frank the Tank had an amp repair shop inside EMP Studios, a rehearsal space just north of East Lancaster Avenue.

“We got word that he died,” Ryan said, “so we went to the funeral, and the guy who owns this building was like, ‘I need to get a guitar and amp tech like you to run the shop down here,’ and I thought about it, and I decided I was ready to start my own business, so I bought Michael Earhart’s old inventory — he had it all in storage because he had retired. I had worked with him for a year and a half, so I knew how to run a shop, and I knew how his inventory worked and just hit the ground running. And then seven years later, here we are.”

Ryan’s company, Dragon Amplifiers, is a combo repair service/custom shop. Because of the ebb and flow/drought and flood intrinsic to that kind of business, he needed to hire a contract worker to help him with his backlog. Enter: Stevens.

“I have a vintage Fender amp that had some problems at the time,” Stevens said, “and [Ryan] was working on it. [Ryan] was really backed up at the time with repair jobs, and when I went to pick up my amp, I showed him some of my music. He was really into it, and then he said, ‘Do you want a job?’ So I said yeah, and he trained me, and now I do contract jobs for him.”

Ryan showed Stevens how to fix guitar amps but was still thinking about One-Eyed Monsters.

“It was about a year after [Stevens] started working for me,” Ryan said, “and I was like, ‘Hey, what’s going on with the band?’ ”

Ryan was really impressed with the riffage Stevens had shown him. “I thought whatever these guys have going on right now, it’s serious chemistry. It’s Sabbath and Pink Floyd coming together. The jazzy, heavy rock thing … that’s what I’ve always been looking for.”

One-Eyed Monsters, Walters said at Dragon recently with his bandmates, was Stevens’ “brainchild, and then this permutation turned into a different band. It felt like it had a new aim.”

“It became a heavier band,” Ryan added, “like, more serious and intimidating when I joined.”

Ryan had been in a doom-metal outfit called Southern Waste in the 2010s, for which he wrote a song that found its own evolution in the hands of his new bandmates. Overall, One-Eyed Monsters said Ambrosia’s songs came together really quickly. Stevens described their sound as “garage-psych … that got heavier, slower” with the addition of Ryan.

Their gear, Ryan said, is a big component of their sonic aesthetic, adding that Stevens “plays through stuff that he’s built. I play through stuff that I’ve built. … We have a specific sound because of those amps.”

Working at Echolab in Denton, Walters tracked, mixed, and mastered the album, and the band transferred the tracks to cassette tapes themselves — “they’re cooler than CDs and cheaper than vinyl,” Walters quipped — using a Tascam Portasound. Beyond getting their album out, One-Eyed Monsters wants to tour.

“We want to get on the road,” Walters said. “Right now, we’re just trying to find bands to network with to play shows out of town.”

But their shows at home — notably at places like Martin House Brewing Co. in Fort Worth and Growl Records in Arlington — are helping spread the word.

“If you’re a heavy band, you can play at Growl,” Stevens said. “We’ve played some packed shows there. People were really into the music. … If you can get the word out there’s a metal show, a heavy rock show, people will come to it.”