Monday, March 31, 2014

ABIGAIL WILLIAMS Currently Embarked On East Coast Tour




American horde, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS, is currently crusading through the Eastern half of the country on tour now. Having already killed towns through the Midwest and into upstate New York, the band will storm Brooklyn tonight, continuing to inundate the rest of the East Coast and through the Gulf Coast states through April 12th.

ABIGAIL WILLIAMS will go back out on the road from mid-May through mid-June with Lecherous Nocturne and Panzerfaust.

Following three massive LPs through Candlelight -- In the Shadow of a Thousand Suns [2008], In the Absence of Light [2010] and Becoming [2012] -- among several EPs and singles since their inception exactly one decade ago, ABIGAIL WILLIAMS' all-engulfing delivery of the black metal craft is ever-morphing, navigating its own path amid subgenre categories and cult traditions on a continually expanding course of sonic exploration. Fronted by sole founding member, guitarist/vocalist Ken Sorceron, also currently of Lord Mantis, the band's lineup also includes guitarist Jeff Wilson (Chrome Waves, Wolvhammer, Doomsday), touring bassist John Porada (Nachtmystium) and touring drummer Charlie Fell (Lord Mantis).

ABIGAIL WILLIAMS' fourth full-length album will be completed for release later this year.

ABIGAIL WILLIAMS Live:
3/31/2014 Saint Vitus - Brooklyn, NY
4/01/2014 Webster Underground - Hartford, CT
4/02/2014 Empire - Springfield, VA
4/03/2014 The Bowery - Knoxville, TN
4/04/2014 Hooligans - Jacksonville, NC
4/05/2014 Ground Zero - Spartanburg, SC
4/06/2014 Brass Mug - Tampa, FL
4/07/2014 Will's Pub - Orlando, FL
4/08/2014 Churchill's Pub - Miami, FL
4/09/2014 Handlebar - Pensacola, FL
4/10/2014 Siberia - New Orleans, LA
4/11/2014 Walters Downtown - Houston, TX
4/12/2014 Texas Independence Fest - Austin, TX

ABIGAIL WILLIAMS w/ Lecherous Nocturne, Panzerfaust:
5/15/2014 The Metal Grill - Cudahy, WI
5/16/2014 Take 20 - Cherry Valley, IL
5/17/2014 The Loving Touch - Ferndale, MI
5/18/2014 Hard Luck - Toronto, ON**
5/19/2014 Cafe Chaos - Montreal, QB**
5/20/2014 Broadway Joes - Buffalo, NY
5/21/2014 The Depot - York, PA
5/22/2014 31st Pub - Pittsburgh, PA*
5/23/2014 Thompson House - Newport, KY
5/24/2014 The Mad Magician - Saint Louis, MO
5/25/2014 TBA
5/27/2014 Riot Room - Kansas City, MO
5/28/2014 TBA
5/29/2014 Seventh Circle - Denver, CO
5/30/2014 Sunshine Studios - Colorado Springs, CO
5/31/2014 TBA
6/01/2014 Cheyenne's Sallon - Las Vegas, NV
6/02/2014 5 Star Bar - Los Angeles, CA
6/03/2014 Elbo Room - San Francisco, CA
6/04/2014 LaSalles - Chico, CA
6/05/2014 TBA
6/06/2014 Funky Winkerbeans - Vancouver, BC**
6/07/2014 Dickens Pub - Calgary, AB @ Calgary Metal Fest**
6/08/2014 Machinery Row - Great Falls, MT
6/09/2014 The Filling Station - Bozeman, MT
6/10/2014 TBA
6/11/2014 Every Buddy's Bar - Chippewa Falls, WI
6/12/2014 The Hideout - Omaha, NE
6/13/2014 Vaudeville Mews - Des Moines, IA
6/14/2014 The Brass Rail - Peoria, IL
*Abigail Williams and Lecherous Nocturne only
**Abigail Williams and Panzerfaust only

DWELLERS: Heavy Rock Trio To Release Pagan Fruit This May Via Small Stone; Preorders + Track Previews Available



 


Salt Lake City-based, self-dubbed "gut rock" trio, DWELLERS, is pleased to spread the seed of their sophomore full-length, Pagan Fruit, later this Spring via the amplifier-advocates at Small Stone Records.

The nine-track long player was recorded and engineered by Andy Patterson (SubRosa, Catholic Girls) at The Boars Nest in Salt Lake City, Utah, mixed by Eric Hoegemeyer (Luder) at Tree Laboratory in Brooklyn, New York and mastered by Chris Goosman (Sasquatch, Early, Five Horse Johnson, Acid King) at Baseline Audio Labs in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Swathed in the chilling, alluring otherworldly cover art by Adrian Brouchy (Kongh, Black Cowgirl, Dead Rooster), Pagan Fruit follows in the still-echoing sonic shockwaves of DWELLERS' enthusiastically received 2012 debut, Good Morning Harakiri, which saw the newly-assembled trio of vocalist/guitarist Joey Toscano, bassist Dave Jones, and drummer Zach Hatsis pooling together their impressive prior musical credentials (Toscano with psych-metal adventurers Iota; Jones and Hatsis with doom/goth atmospheric bandits, SubRosa) with staggeringly powerful and memorable results.

Now, the terrible triplets are confident they can one-up themselves with Pagan Fruit: An album that both exceeds the lysergic power chord trip initiated on that first album, and expands the band's collectively creative horizons into realms heretofore unexplored. Beyond the multifaceted influences, both subliminal and overt, picked up by discerning listeners on Good Morning Harakiri - influences ranging from Hawkwind to Soundgarden, Monster Magnet to Captain Beyond, Sons of Otis to the Screaming Trees - the songs/seeds found on DWELLERS' Pagan Fruit reveal novel, dynamically varied musical touchstones as far reaching as vintage Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Goat's Head Soup-period Stones. Commends Blurt Magazine upon early inspection, "the record filters doomy blues rock through a blotter of shimmering desert psych, balancing Toscano's skilled axework with songwriting stepped up several notches from the group's 2012 debut."
 
Pagan Fruit Track Listing:
1. Creature Comfort
2. Totem Crawler
3. Return To The Sky
4. Rare Eagle
5. Son Of Raven
6. Devoured By Lions
7. Spirit Of The Staircase
8. Waiting On Winter
9. Call Of The Hallowed Horn

DWELLERS:
Joey Toscano: vocals, guitars, harmonica
Dave Jones: bass, organ
Zach Hatsis: drums, vibraphone, Rhodes piano, synth, tambourine
Additional Musicians on Pagan Fruit:
Genevieve Smith: cello on "Spirit Of The Staircase"
Raven Quinn: vocals on "Call Of The Hallowed Horn"

Ascend to a higher plane of consciousness with the aid of your helpful guides, DWELLERS. Pagan Fruit will be available for consumption via Small Stone May 6th, 2014. Preorders as well as a taste of tracks of "Creature Comfort" and "Rare Eagle" available at THIS LOCATION.

IRON REAGAN: Present Free 13-track Spoiled Identity EP via Decibel Magazine



Band to Tour with Ghoul and Occultist

In conjunction with Decibel Magazine, crossover maniacs and recent Relapse signees IRON REAGAN announce today the release of their Spoiled Identity EP available now for free through the band's Bandcamp page. Hammering thirteen riotous songs into about seven minutes, the EP was mastered by Scott Hull (Pig Destroyer, Agoraphobic Nosebleed). Spoiled Identity will also be available as a 7" EP as part of the Decibel Flexi Disc series.
 
Additionally, the band is days away from a solid month of touring with Ghoul and Occultist. A complete list of IRON REAGAN Tour Dates is available below.

Listen to the Spoiled Identity EP on Bandcamp HERE. Subscribe to Decibel HERE.


Spoiled Identity Track Listing:
1. Tounge Tied
2. The Living Skull
3. I'm Regret
4. Zero Gain
5. One Shovel Short of a Funeral
6. Spoiled Identity
7. Your Kids an Asshole
8. The Hungry Male (of Wall St.)
9. Cops Don't Like Me, I Don't Like Cops
10. Declaration of War
11. I Spit on Your Face/Grave
12. Court Adjourned
13. The Hill Witch

 
Iron Reagan Tour Dates:

Iron Reagan and Occultist
4/2/2014              Richmond VA @Strange Matter
4/4/2014              Harrisonburg, VA @ MACROCK
4/5/2014              Nashville, TN @ The End
4/6/2014              Little Rock, AK @ Vino’s

Weapons of Thrash Destruction Tour ft. Ghoul, Iron Reagan, Occulitist
4/9/2014              Tempe, AZ @ Club Red
4/10/2014            San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
4/11/2014            Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room
4/12/2014            Camarillo, CA @ Rock City Studios
4/13/2014            Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy
4/14/2014            Sacramento, CA @ Midtown Barfly
4/15/2014            Portland, OR @ Branx
4/18/2014            Oakland, CA @ BRAINSQUEEZE

Iron Reagan and Occultist
4/22/2014            Salt Lake City @ Ginos
4/23/2014            Denver CO @ Moe’s
4/24/2014            Lawrence KS @ Replay Lounge
4/25/2014            St. Louis MO @ Fubar
4/26/2014            Munster In @Three Floyd's Brewery
4/27/2014            Chicago IL @ Cobra Lounge
4/28/2014            Toledo OH @ Frankie’s
4/29/2014            Columbus OH @ Ace Of Cups
4/30/2014            Pittsburgh PA @ Smiling Moose


IRON REAGAN signed with Relapse Records earlier this year and the Richmond, VA crew are in the midst of recording their highly-anticipated second LP. The record will be self-produced before being mixed by Converge's Kurt Ballou for an expected fall release. 


For all North American press inquiries, please contact bob@relapse.com.  For all UK inquiries please contact Becky@pioneermusicpress.com and for all EU inquiries please contact Frank@pettingzoo.nl
 

Pale Divine - Cemetery Earth 2-CD Reissue



Pale Divine has a very special place in my heart. Ever since I heard their debut, 'Thunder Perfect Mind', this Pennsylvania band has been one of my all-time favourites. And thats's not a small accomplishment considering they are rubbing necks with Thin Lizzy, UFO and Rush. The follow-up, 'Eternity Revealed', only increased my fascination with the band and when 'Cemetery Earth' was originally released in 2007 my love for Pale Divine was well and truly cemented. Unfortunately the album has been out of print for a few years, so when the good people at Shadow Kingdom Records announced the release of this enhanced reissue I just about had a heart attack. 'Cemetery Earth' is one of the most complete recordings I have ever listened to and for it to be available again is...well life is back to good!
This gem comes in the shape of two discs. The first is the album proper in remastered shape while the second disc is full of demo songs and live recordings. As a diehard supporter this type of deal is a treasure chest indeed, but in all honesty, if you have never listened to Pale Divine before the second disc might be overkill. A remedy for that is available though and quite a simple one at that. Plug disc 1 over and over again and let these maestros mesmerize, captivate and absorb you with their magic. When that is accomplished disc 2 will make so much more sense. On the other hand, if you already worship at the altar of Pale Divine you will revel in this holy grail.

Great albums comes around ever so often but few have the qualities that makes them timeless. Those qualities differs album to album but they are all tied together by sheer excellence. And that means the songwriting, the production and the performance are of the highest standards. 'Cemetery Earth' is one of these gems where everything the band touches turns into gold. From the magnificient opener 'The Eyes Of Destiny' to the excellent closer 'The Conqueror Worm' Pale Divine's other-wordly amalgamation of 70's heavy rock, psychedelic blues, heavy metal and doom simply oozes class and 7 years after it's original release it is still as vibrant and amazing as ever!
The lyrical themes focuses a lot on death and misery as well as questions about life and our existence. The slow, bluesy but thunderous 'Soul Searching' and the riff fest that is 'The Eyes Of Destiny' are prime examples of this. For the fomer, death and misery, 'Cemetery Earth', (I Alone) The Traveler' and 'Broken Wings' are hauntingly beautiful tales of despair. It doesn't get much better than this. In fact, the title track is one of the best songs ever written if you ask me.

"Walking like the living dead their faces cold and gray.
Sickness to insanity they watch their world decay.
Soldiers of misfortune tell me what is your life worth.
Buried and forgotten in this cemetery earth."

Greg Diener, vocals & guitar, and Darin McCloskey, drums, started Pale Divine back in 1995 and their long partnership is so evident on this album. What I mean is they know exactly where they have each other. Therefore, every chord, riff and solo, every drum pattern and every single word comes so natural which subsequently keeps the music at such a nice flow. Taking their time and not rushing things might be a key element in all this I honestly don't know, but I do know this album is genuine work of art.
Assisted by bass maestro John Gaffney paid dividends as well since his thick, thunderous sound and style of playing appears more like a second guitar than a regular bass. And that's a trademark of the band. Greg obviously takes the centre stage being the singer and guitarist, and he does so magnificiently, but the rhythm section doesn't operate traditionally. Instead, both Darin and John goes off on their own excursions, maybe not doing proper solos but they step away from constantly being rhythm masters. Listen to them closely and you'll hear passages where they are playing along with Greg rather than simply backing him up.

Disc 2 starts of with Demo 2006. It consists of 5 songs that all made it onto the proper album: 'The Eyes Of Destiny', 'Broken Wings', 'Cemetery Earth', '(I Alone) The Traveller' and 'Fire And ice'. Definitely in rough form being a demo and all, it is really exciting to hear them in this shape. There is a clear difference between the demos and the completed songs, but already in these early stages you can hear distinctly what was to come. The disc ends with 3 live songs recorded in Pittsburgh in 2011. Two of them are from 'Cemetery Earth', '(I Alone) The Traveller' and 'Soul Searching' making it three appearances on this release for the former. These renditions are great as always showing the band in excellent form before leading into a cover of Marmalade's 'I've Been Around Too Long'. Maybe not your first choice for a cover but that's Pale Divine for you, they never take the obvious route and that's another trait that sets them apart from rest. Their version is how you should do a cover: keep enough of the original and mix it with your own sound.

To tie it up with the beginning of this review with Pale Divine being one of my favorite bands I suggest you get all of their releases. These guys deserve higher recognition if anyone does. However, if you have never listened to them before this reissue is the perfect introduction. If you're into metal period and 'Cemetery Earth' doesn't rattle your bones I don't know what's wrong with you because this is as good as it can be.

- Swedebeast




Sunday, March 30, 2014

Vardis Confirmed Headline Appearance on Friday 25th July at The Rock & Blues Festival

This is just too cool.  I hope many of you remember Vardis, the kickass NWOBHM band and their crazed guitar hero, Steve Zodiac.  Man, "100 MPH" was one of the most mind-blowing moments of my early NWOBHM existence.

Anyways, the band is playing again and here's the information:

Vardis have just confirmed a headline appearance on Friday 25th July at The Rock & Blues Festival at The Coney Grey Show-ground. Pentrich, Derbyshire UK. This year this event will be celebrating its 30th show on the British festival scene and takes place from 12 noon Thursday 24th to Saturday 26th July 2014. More info here: http://rockandbluestickets.co.uk/website/friday-line-up/


Saturday, March 29, 2014

STONEBURNER: Portland Sludge Bringers Drop Another New Ode Via Metal Hammer


     
STONEBURNER

The focused sludge rage of STONEBURNER is again revealed this week as Metal Hammer premieres another track from their forthcoming second full-length, Life Drawing.

"An Apology To A Friend In Need" is a seething concentrate of bold leads and restless riffs, annihilatory fuzz and total destruction kept at bay only by the spot-on groove the Portland sludge crew excel at, throwing their monumental weight around with deadly accuracy.

About the track the band remark: "This song is one of our favorite pieces to play. Riding the line between the crunchy, aggressive riffs and the more subdued, fragile sections gets us high as hell. Lyrically, 'An Apology...' is just that. It's a reflection on those times when it takes everything you've got just to get out of bed, with no room left for others. The dark times when you turn your back on a loved one's pain, because all you've got to give is the poison of your own shitty problems."

You can stream all eight minutes of "An Apology To A Friend In Need" AT THIS LOCATION. Direct SoundCloud link can be found HERE.

You can also listen to the sonic severity of "Some Can," premiered last week, and now streaming at The Portland Mercury HERE.

The follow-up to their 2012 debut, Sickness Will Pass, features nine rumbling hymns of bottom-heavy hostility, diseased rhythms and emotional decay as well as an array of talented guest vocalists including Krysta Martinez (Transient/Landmine Marathon), Benjamin Caragol (Burials/Hang the Old Year) and Joshua Greene (Bastard Feast, Ephemeros). Recorded, mixed and produced by Fester at Haywire Studios, mastered by Adam Gonsalves at Telegraph Mastering - both in Portland - and swathed in the visually abrasive cover art of J.J. Shirey, Life Drawing promises to hurl STONEBURNER's habitually chest-caving sludge mantras to entirely new realms of earth-deteriorating heaviness.

STONEBURNER's musical ancestry winds through Buried At Sea, Buried Blood, Heathen Shrine and others. Named after a subterranean weapon from the novel Dune, STONEBURNER delivers a wholly organic orchestration of captivating, crusty doom metal, their torrid hymns bathed in internal agony, anguish and despair.

Life Drawing will be unveiled in North America via Neurot Recordings on April 15th, 2014 (April 14th in the UK/EU). 

"Churning elements of sludge, doom and crust in a charred and emotionally charged study of turmoil, fearless self-examination and a determined drive to wring some genuine human essence from the modern-day vale of tears, Life Drawing is a daunting yet ultimately exhilarating album for anyone who believes that music should be as challenging and potentially transformative as life itself." - Metal Hammer  

"...a bottom-heavy, cracked, ground-crawling rager dipped in mire and slime." - The Portland Mercury

"At times quite spooky, at others downright teeth-grinding, Life Drawing is rough and seething. Repeated thrusts of your face into the soft moss of a dying log somehow protect you from the obvious: Hope and promise aren't merely stained. They've been properly diluted and washed out with thick piss. The truest of sludge deliveries opens a rusty door, but STONEBURNER have invited us into our own nightmare. The deceptive lounges hardly provide comfort, and you're better off just cooperating when the rhythms crash. Get in the van and stop with the fucking questions. Yes, there IS a world this ugly." - HeavyPlanet

"The songs are free form expressions of the darker side of life where not everything works out in the end. The cover is quite evocative and one can imagine this album chronicling the life and times of the figure in the painting. Which is possibly why the album sounds so bleak, yet with moments of uplift; even in a drab life there are moments of color... " - Wonderbox Metal

For further info on STONEBURNER/Neurot Recordings in North America contact liz@earsplitcompound.com, in Germany contact ansgar@community-promotion.com, and across the rest of Europe contact lauren@rarelyunable.com.

http://www.facebook.com/neurotrecordings

MOS GENERATOR: Ripple Music To Reissue Classic Album ‘Songs For Future Gods’


Mos Generator

Ripple Music and MOS GENERATOR have a long history of teaming up to bring the world the best in heavy stoner rock! Now, their latest collaboration is being unveiled.

Originally, MOS GENERATOR main man Tony Reed teamed with Ripple Music to release his then active band, Stone Axe (Stone Axe I, Stone Axe II, and Stone Axe Captured Live) and both parties knew they had to work together to bring back the raging sound of MOS GENERATOR. At that time, the band had been inactive for five years, but Reed and Ripple Music broke that silence with the glorious LP/CD combination package of the 10th Anniversary re-issue of MOS GENERATOR’s long-out-of-print debut album. Originally a CD only release, this was the debut album’s first ever release on vinyl (Available in the Ripple Store).

The response was so strong that Tony Reed re-united the band and soon released the critically hailed Ripple Music release, Nomads (review here and also in the Ripple Store) which led to resurgent tours of Europe and an ever-expanding audience for the heaviness of MOS GENERATOR.

Mos Generator 'Songs For Future Gods' Artwork

Now, on the eve of their Listenable Records debut release Electric Mountain Majesty, Ripple Music and Tony Reed once again announce their team-up to bring the definitive, “Director’s Cut” version of the MOS GENERATOR masterpiece album, Songs For Future Gods. Completely remastered, this re-issue of the 2007 release (originally on Small Stone Records) features a completely new mix and two songs from the aborted recording sessions from January 2006. The digipack also features modified cover art and packaging. This is the album as it was originally intended and still redefines the sound of MOS GENERATOR, a sprawling celebration of heavy amplification, fret-board psychotropics and kick-ass heavy rock. Songs From Future Gods is classic MOS GENERATOR and this is the definitive cut of the album.

While in the Ripple Store, you can also check out Tony Reed’s solo album, Ediz Hook, his psychedelic work as HeavyPink, the classic Stone Axe albums, as well as other MOS GENERATOR LP’s, 10” and CD goodies like Tales From The Vault, The Vault Sessions, Destroy! The Mos Generator, and The Late Great Planet Earth. Keep your eyes open for more Ripple Music and Tony Reed collaborations to come soon.




MOS GENERATOR is:
Tony Reed (guitar, vocals)
Scooter Haslip (bass)
Shawn Johnson (drums)

http://www.facebook.com/MosGenerator
http://mosgenerator.bandcamp.com
http://www.ripple-music.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ripple-Music/369610860064
http://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com
http://twitter.com/RippleMusic

John Sebastian - Cheapo Cheapo Productions Presents Real Live John Sebastian

If you know of any work of John Sebastian at all it is because you likely remember the song "Welcome Back" that he penned for the late 1970's TV Series "Wecome Back Kotter."  If you distinctly remember John Sebastian you are probably a love child of the 1960's who immediately recognizes him as songwriter and founding member of the good time pop band The Lovin' Spoonful that is enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and as a soloist who sang at Woodstock.   If you were born in the 1980's, or had young children in the 80's, you heard Sebastian's most bizarre work - songs for the Care Bear movie trilogy. (If you are a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fan you may know that Sebastian played harmonica on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's Deja Vu album.)

The Lovin' Spoonful reeled off hit after hit in response to the British Invasion - "Do You Believe In Magic?", "Summer In The City", "Daydream", "Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?", "Younger Girl", just to name a few of them. Then, in 1967 band member Zal Yanovsky was busted for pot and faced deportation if he didn't finger his dealer. To save his rear Yanovsky snitched, left the band and was replaced, but not before the hit machine started to implode.

In 1968 Sebastian embarked upon a solo career.  Although he continued to perform his Lovin' Spoonful hits, his music took on a much more early rock and blues flavor.  His early 70's musical performances are the least commercial of his career.  He decided to play music that spoke to him.  I first heard Cheapo Cheapo Productions Presents Real Live John Sebastian through a cheap automotive stereo 8 track player in a friend's 1973 Ford Pinto Country Squire Station Wagon that had a Heineken beer tap for a stick shift knob. The 1971 solo live album spoke to me and to the three buddies who I accompanied as we cruised Pacific Coast Highway.

This was a different, gritty John Sebastian, even when he sang Lovin' Spoonful songs.  He dug deep into the roots song book.  Along with his hits he pulled out tunes by Jimmie Rodgers, Leadbelly, Carl Perkins, even The Five Satins.  The album spotlights a more country folk blues Sebastian with a love of early roots rock.

When Sebastian sang "Younger Generation", as he did at Woodstock, Sebastian encapsulated the entire relationship between fathers and mothers and their teenage sons and daughters for my generation:

Why must every generation think their folks are square?
And no matter where they're heads are, they know mom's aint there.
Cause' I swore when I was small, that I'd remember when,
I knew what's wrong with them, that I was smaller than.

Determined to remember all the cardinal rules.
Like, sunshowers are legal grounds, for cutting school.
I know I have forgotten maybe one or two.
And I hope that I recall them all before the baby's due.
And I'll know he'll have a question or two.

Like, hey pop. Can I go ride my zoom?
It goes two hundred miles an hour, suspended on balloons.
And can I put a droplet of this new stuff on my tongue?
And imagine puffing dragons, while you sit and wreck your lungs.
And I must be permissive, understanding of the younger generation.

And then I know that all I've learned, my kid assumes.
And all my deepest worries must be his cartoons.
And still I'll try to tell him all the things I've done,
relating to what he can do when he becomes a man.
And still he'll stick his fingers in the fan.

And hey pop, my girlfriend's only three.
She's got her own videophone,
and she's taking LSD.
And now that were best friends, she want's to give a bit to me.
But what's the matter daddy? How come you're turning green?
Can it be that you can't live up to your dreams?

The energy of a passionate performer is captured on Cheapo Cheapo Productions Presents Real Live John Sebastian. The album ends with "Good Night Irene".  To this day that is the version I hear in my mind when the song is mentioned. I have come to believe there is a reason for that.  Listen to John Sebastian on this live album, truly listen.  There is affection in his voice for every song he performs.  The album exudes his love for the music and it is infectious.  It makes you feel good.  That is one reason I continue to listen to this 40 year old live country folk roots rock album .  Another, it is just that damn good.

- Old School

 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Rainbow - "Stargazer"

A few weeks ago I spent a long sleepless night with the lyrics to Rainbow's "Stargazer" going through my mind over and over. Rainbow Rising is an all time classic heavy rock album that I've Rippled about already (http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2011/10/rainbow-rising.html) but I feel the need to revisit it's centerpiece and focus on the lyrics. Cozy Powell's stunning drum intro and Ritchie Blackmore's thunderous riffing set the stage for Ronnie James Dio's ominous opening lines -

High noon, oh I'd sell my soul for water
Nine years worth of breakin' my back

Is this some sort of Western tale or perhaps the sound of a man working on the chain gang? Then he follows it up with the bold statement -

There's no sun in the shadow of the wizard
See how he glides, why he's lighter than air
Oh I see his face!

Ponder that for a moment. Why would there be sun in someone's shadow? Why is he lighter than air? The next few lines sound hopeful and uplifting -

Where is your star?
Is it far, is it far, is it far?
When do we leave?
I believe, yes, I believe

As it turns out, there's no joy or hope, only toil and misery to be had -

In the heat and the rain
With whips and chains
To see him fly
So many die
We build a tower of stone
With our flesh and bone
Just to see him fly
But don't know why
Now where do we go?

So it turns out the wizard has enslaved people to erect a tower to launch himself from into the stars. Holy shit, that is heavy. The people work and work but don't even really know why they're doing it. The wizard's charisma is so strong he can convince people to toil under horrible conditions for no apparent reason. Does this scenario sound familiar in today's world at all? Let's move on -

Hot wind, moving fast across the desert
We feel that our time has arrived
The world spins, while we put his dream together
A tower of stone to take him straight to the sky
Oh I see his face!

Where is your star?
Is it far, is it far, is it far?
When do we leave?
Hey, I believe, I believe

In the heat and the rain
With whips and chains
Just to see him fly
Too many die
We build a tower of stone
With our flesh and bone
To see him fly
But we don't know why
Ooh, now where do we go

Blackmore's massive guitar solo climbs up higher and higher on the fretboard until he can climb no more. The last note echoes before Powell forces the band to return to the pounding slaveship rhythm. Dio re-enters to deliver the fatal blow -

All eyes see the figure of the wizard
As he climbs to the top of the world
No sound, as he falls instead of rising
Time standing still, then there's blood on the sand
Oh I see his face!

Where was your star?
Was it far, was it far
When did we leave?
We believed, we believed, we believed

The poor souls who toiled through heat and rain, with whips and chains are forced to see their hero die before their eyes. Was there any doubt this would be the final outcome? Has there ever been a single person that's been placed upon a pedestal for idolization that hasn't failed? The president of every insurance company should be forced to listen to this song non-stop for the next 1000 days.

In heat and rain
With the whips and chains
To see him fly
So many died
We built a tower of stone
With our flesh and bone
To see him fly

But why
In all the rain
With all the chains
Did so many die
Just to see him fly

Look at my flesh and bone
Now, look, look, look, look,
Look at his tower of stone
I see a rainbow rising
Look there, on the horizon
And I'm coming home, I'm coming home, I'm coming home

Time is standing still
He gave back my will
Ooh ooh ooh ooh
Going home
I'm going home

My eyes are bleeding
And my heart is leaving here
But it's not home
But it's not home
Ooh

Take me back
He gave me back my will
Ooh ooh ooh ooh

The finale of "Stargazer" leaves me puzzled. This man toiled and was let down by the wizard. Now his eyes are bleeding and his heart is leaving. Did the wizard intentionally commit suicide to give the people back their free will? Or are they so confused by having their will returned that they're unable to handle it. That's usually the case for the followers of charismatic but faulty leaders. 

After my sleepless night dissecting these lyrics I looked up some other interpretations on-line. I was glad to see that others had also spent some hard time analyzing "Stargazer." Some claim the tower represents the building of the great pyramids. Others seem to think the wizard is an alien trying to return to his home planet. More than one person noted that the song could be symbolic of Dio's relationship with Blackmore, how no one can ever please the stern taskmaster in a pilgrim's hat. All of these are valid thoughts but I truly BELIEVE that this song was so ahead of it's time that it predicted the massive tower of lies we are all enslaved to in this very day & age. Only DIO is real! What do you think?

"Stargazer"
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