ProgSphere

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/news/neal-morse-jesus-christ-the-exorcist/
Jesus Christ – The Exorcist is a monumental project in Neal Morse’s already impressive discography. A Progressive Rock Opera 10 years in the making, it was written and produced by Morse and includes performances by Neal and an all-star cast of vocalists and musicians. Jesus Christ – The Exorcist will be released on June 14, 2019 on a double album set featuring about two hours of music that will encompass all the spectrums and genres Neal Morse is known for and will, of course, tell the Story of Stories.
Pre-order the 2CD, 3xLP, or Digital versions of the album:
Signed albums, limited edition color vinyl, & more available at:
– Frontiers U.S. Store: https://shop.bandwear.com/Frontiers
– Frontiers EU Store: https://www.frontiers.shop
Today, the first song from this masterpiece has been unveiled. Hear the song and watch the video for “Get Behind Me Satan” below.
I don’t know why it came to me in quite this way, but definitely the influences on this song are Black Sabbath and Deep Purple primarily. I even asked Rich Mouser when he was mixing the song to listen to ‘Paranoid’ because I thought that vocal effect would be cool on Ted’s (Leonard) voice,” says Morse of the track.
When asked about what fans can expect sound wise from the album, Morse explains, “Oh, it is completely diverse. There are touching ballads, rousing ensemble pieces, classical elements and dramatic Broadway musical type songs as well. It is really meant to be listened and experienced all the way through as you would a play or an opera. I hope the people will experience it in that way because I think that’s where they will really find the power in this piece of music.
He continues, “These songs and pieces of music were all written for this rock opera specifically. I wrote the first draft in 2008 and 2009, I believe. Then, last year in preparation for a performance at MorseFest I rewrote the whole musical again. I couldn’t be happier with the final outcome and I am thrilled that it is coming out on Frontiers this June.
With a cast of amazing vocalists and musicians like Ted Leonard, Eric Gillette, Nick D’Virgilio, Randy George, Bill Hubauer, Matt Smith, and others, this progressive rock opera is a landmark event that will leave its mark on every listener. “Let him who has ears to hear… let him hear!”
Jesus Christ – The Exorcist, had its live world premiere in 2018 and was performed by a Prog Rock all-star cast featuring Neal Morse (keys, guitar), Paul Bielatowicz (lead guitar), Bill Hubauer (keys), Randy George (bass), and Eric Gillette (drums). Featured vocalists included Ted Leonard (Spock’s Beard, Enchant), Nick D’Virgilio (Big Big Train, Spock’s Beard), Jake Livgren (Protokaw), Matt Smith (Theocracy), Wil Morse and more. Also, John Schlitt (Petra) and Rick Florian (White Heart) have been added to the performance as well.
Tracklist:
CD1
1. Introduction
2. Overture
3. Getaway
4. Gather The People
5. Jesus’ Baptism
6. Jesus’ Temptation
7. There’s A Highway
8. The Woman Of Seven Devils
9. Free At Last
10. The Madman Of The Gadarenes
11. Love Has Called My Name
12. Better Weather
13. The Keys To The Kingdom
14. Get Behind Me Satan
CD2
1. He Must Go To The Cross
2. Jerusalem
3. Hearts Full Of Holes
4. The Last Supper
5. Gethsemane
6. Jesus Before The Council And Peter’s Denial
7. Judas’ Death
8. Jesus Before Pilate And The Crucifixion
9. Mary At The Tomb
10. The Greatest Love Of All
11. Love Has Called My Name (Reprise)
Full Cast:
Ted Leonard – Jesus
Talon David – Mary Magdalene
Nick D’Virgilio – Judas Iscariot
Rick Florian – The Devil
Matt Smith – John the Baptist
Jake Livgren – Peter and Caiaphas
Neal Morse – Pilate, Demon 1, Disciple 1
Mark Pogue – Israelite 1, the Madman of the Gadarenes, Pharisee 2
Wil Morse – Israelite 2, Demon 3, Pharisee 1
Gabe Klein – Demon 2, Pharisee 4
Gideon Klein – Demon 4
Julie Harrison – Servant Girl
Connect with Neal Morse:

The post NEAL MORSE To Release “Jesus Christ – The Exorcist” on June 14th appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/reviews/dream-theater-distance-over-time-review/
Dream Theater - Distance Over Time

Progressive metal champions Dream Theater have recently returned with their new, fourteenth studio album Distance Over Time. The band has been on Roadrunner Records for number of years prior this new release, and for the purpose of releasing Distance Over Time they signed with InsideOut.

What’s obvious upon the first listen of the new record is that Dream Theater are back to what they do best — and that comes after their very bland try to create a rock opera with the 2016 album The Astonishing. That release sort of divided the band’s audience and it received mixed critical reception.

Now with Distance Over Time the group, as mentioned, is back to the basics — they served a convincing album which literally showcases how far they’ve come in their 30+ year long career. And the title of the album “distance over time” reflects that.

Dream Theater 2019

Kicking off the album with “Untethered Angel,” the quintet kind of recreates the atmosphere found on Systematic Chaos and Train of Thought albums. One of the things that pops out immediately is the sound of drums — this is the first album with Mike Mangini that sounds really, really good production-wise.

“Paralyzed,” structurally strongly resembles “Forsaken” from the already mentioned Systematic Chaos. LaBrie’s vocals are in the mid range, and that’s where he gives his best performance nowadays, and I’m glad to hear that they embraced this kind of approach on these new songs. John Petrucci is constantly in a good form, and that’s heard throughout the album through numerous solos and riffs.

Third song on the album “Into the Light” starts with somewhat more heavy metal vibe, with sound that could easily be found on Metallica’s Master of Puppets album. Jordan Rudess shines on this ones with, for him, characteristic acrobatics which this time also incorporates some Hammond organ.

Amusingly titled, “Barstool Warrior” features some of the best performance from Petrucci, especially in the guitar solos department. “Room 137” on the other side is quite groove, courtesy of his riff work.

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Continuing on a groovier side, a Dream Theater album wouldn’t be the same if there was no interplays between Petrucci, Rudess, Myung and Mangini, and “S2n” serves that purpose very well.

“At Wit’s End” is the longest song here, clocking at about 9 minutes 20 seconds, and it’s a piece about the cycle of stress and damage inherent in women victimized by abuse. Musically, you can hear everything that would expect from Dream Theater in 2019, with strong connection with one of their best studio efforts — 1999 concept album Scenes from a Memory.

“Out of Reach” comes to the picture as a relaxing experience and is a mandatory Dream Theater ballad that leads into the closing “Pale Blue Dot,” the second longest track on Distance Over Time. Getting its name from Carl Sagan’s book, this piece deals with a reflection of how humans are to treat each other on this little planet in the vast cosmos of space. The song is filled to the brim with the intricate instrumentation.

There is also an edition of the album with a bonus track which is called “Viper King” which is totally different from the material presented on the album, hence the bonus track tag. Ruddess is back on Hammond organ letting out his inner Jon Lord of Deep Purple fame. The song overall is the 1970s Deep Purple with a touch of modern prog.

So what do we make from Distance Over Time? After quite polarizing release that The Astonishing was, it can be said that this is Dream Theater that we know and we’ve been wanting to hear. The performance here is flawless, like on any other Dream Theater record. I already mentioned Mike Mangini’s drums sounding good — this is certainly his best sounding album since he joined the band back in  2010. Overall, it’s great to see the band still has to offer a bit of the mastery that’s found on some of their best moments.

It has to be said that the band members gathered together and isolated themselves from the outer words when working on Distance Over Time, and that cohesion can surely be heard throughout these ten songs.

Order “Distance Over Time” from this location.

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This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/reviews/periphery-hail-stan-review/
Periphery 2019

Periphery, one of the frontrunners on the modern progressive metal scene, return this April 5th with the release of their new album titled Periphery IV: Hail Stan, released on 3DOT Recordings — a label that was founded by the members of the band. Before, Periphery were on Sumerian Records since their 2010 debut album.

The band has launched two singles from the new album so far “Blood Eagle” and “Garden in the Bones,” both of them being at different sides of the specter, what certainly tells how much stylistically diverse Hail Stan is.

One of the biggest surprises of the album actually lies right at the beginning — the opening song “Reptile” is the group’s third song ever clocking over 10 minutes — this one goes just a bit over 17 minutes. Previous two include “Racecar” from Periphery I and “Omega” from the 2015 album Juggernaut: Omega. And right off the bat, Periphery hint that we are about to experience their most progressive and most versatile release yet, and combining symphonic passages with quite a few electronic moments goes very well with my previous statement.

Periphery IV - Hail Stan

The already mentioned “Blood Eagle” is as ferocious as the terrifying torturing method it takes its name from. You can certainly feel some sort of resentment coming from Spencer Sotelo’s screams, Matt Halpern’s heavy hits and the guitar trio’s burst fire. Speaking of which, Misha Mansoor, Jake Bowen and Mark Holcomb are back with their 7-string axes throughout the album, and this fact surely works in the album’s favor being on a heavier side. I’m saying “they are back with 7-string guitars,” as the band’s previous album Periphery III: Select Difficulty featured “only” two 7-string songs.

“CHVRCH BVRNER” is a Dillinger Escape Plan moment on the album, and it could take an epithet of being the most twisted track here. “Garden in the Bones” is a risk-free, typical Periphery number, whereas the following “It’s Only Smiles” is possibly the most “straightforward” track on Hail Stan.

The band is back to the djent mode on “Follow Your Ghost,” with an absolute killer of a guitar solo at the end of the track. For “Crush” it could be said that is a school example of what cyber-electronic-progressive-metal(core) would sound like if there was such a thing. In my opinion it’s the most bizarre track here that works very well with the rest of the material — kind of a Periphery’s Devin Townsend moment on the album.

Hardcore punk element is present in the way of “Sentient Glow,” although the song constantly switches between different styles and moods. Closing “Satellites” starts right where “Sentient Glow” left, with lush ambient guitar and Sotelo’s voice leading the game until the middle of the track. Sotelo screams at the top of his lungs with the guitar trio punishing earholes with the staccato riffs Periphery is known for.

What has been announced with Select Difficulty is fully realized on Hail Stan — the band has taken the time to create an album that is by far their most mature and well-thought release. How well it will stand the test of time remains to be seen, but the nine songs found here show how far Periphery have come in a span of only six albums.

Pre-order “Periphery IV: Hail Stan” from 3DOT Recordings.

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This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/big-just-one/

Blockbuster films are well known for having some truly amazing soundtracks and you can’t really get more of a blockbuster than Casino Royale.

As Casino Royale was filmed twice, first back in 1967 and then with Daniel Craig playing 007 in the 2006 remake we are treated to two of the finest backing soundtracks out there.

Casino Royal 1967 soundtrack was by Bur Bacharach with Mike Redway singing the lyrics to the title song as the credits rolled and Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass performing some of the songs.

Burt Bacharach studied under Darius Milhaud, Bohuslav Martinu and Henry Cowel and in the 1950 he toured with Marlene Dietrich.

Later he would go on to produce many hits especially for Dionne Warwick like Walk on By and I Say a Little Prayer for You, and he and David (Harold Lane David) then went on to create some brilliant film scores like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid which won an academy award.

So, it really isn’t surprising that the score for Casino Royale has so many tracks that are instantly recognisable today with artists who are some of the finest we have every heard. Dusty Springfield and ‘The Look of Love’ being just one.

Fast forward to 2006 to the brilliant remake of Casino Royale with Daniel Craig as the up and coming secret service agent 007.

David G. Arnold scored more than one James Bond film and was a Bond fan from an early age as well as being a great admirer of John Barry and Arnold scores of the Bond films include The World is Not Enough, Die another Day, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.

Chris Cornell the former Audioslave and Soundgarden lead singer both composed and sang the title song for Casino Royale ‘You Know My Name’ and collaborated with Arnold throughout.

James Bond films and especially those that involve his love of gambling and the casino have become synonymous with glitz, glamour and beautiful people and creating a score that encompasses the feel of the casino with all the tension and sparkle that people expect is no mean task to undertake.

The environment of the casino is like nothing else, but of course not all of us can be a bricks and mortar casino such as the ones that drew 007 to the tables. Fortunately, knowing where to play Rainbow Riches one of the most popular slots games of all time is not difficult.

Reminiscent of the golden age of Vegas, Rainbow Richest has a traditional feel to it although it does have three rather special features which offers players the opportunity to win the maximum jackpot.

Casinos, whether bricks and mortar venues have always drawn people from all over the world, and that is why films like Casino Royale and their great soundtracks stand out from the rest.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/big-just-one/

Blockbuster films are well known for having some truly amazing soundtracks and you can’t really get more of a blockbuster than Casino Royale.

As Casino Royale was filmed twice, first back in 1967 and then with Daniel Craig playing 007 in the 2006 remake we are treated to two of the finest backing soundtracks out there.

Casino Royal 1967 soundtrack was by Bur Bacharach with Mike Redway singing the lyrics to the title song as the credits rolled and Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass performing some of the songs.

Burt Bacharach studied under Darius Milhaud, Bohuslav Martinu and Henry Cowel and in the 1950 he toured with Marlene Dietrich.

Later he would go on to produce many hits especially for Dionne Warwick like Walk on By and I Say a Little Prayer for You, and he and David (Harold Lane David) then went on to create some brilliant film scores like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid which won an academy award.

So, it really isn’t surprising that the score for Casino Royale has so many tracks that are instantly recognisable today with artists who are some of the finest we have every heard. Dusty Springfield and ‘The Look of Love’ being just one.

Fast forward to 2006 to the brilliant remake of Casino Royale with Daniel Craig as the up and coming secret service agent 007.

David G. Arnold scored more than one James Bond film and was a Bond fan from an early age as well as being a great admirer of John Barry and Arnold scores of the Bond films include The World is Not Enough, Die another Day, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.

Chris Cornell the former Audioslave and Soundgarden lead singer both composed and sang the title song for Casino Royale ‘You Know My Name’ and collaborated with Arnold throughout.

James Bond films and especially those that involve his love of gambling and the casino have become synonymous with glitz, glamour and beautiful people and creating a score that encompasses the feel of the casino with all the tension and sparkle that people expect is no mean task to undertake.

The environment of the casino is like nothing else, but of course not all of us can be a bricks and mortar casino such as the ones that drew 007 to the tables. Fortunately, knowing where to play Rainbow Riches one of the most popular slots games of all time is not difficult.

Reminiscent of the golden age of Vegas, Rainbow Richest has a traditional feel to it although it does have three rather special features which offers players the opportunity to win the maximum jackpot.

Casinos, whether bricks and mortar venues have always drawn people from all over the world, and that is why films like Casino Royale and their great soundtracks stand out from the rest.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/news/john-petrucci-on-new-solo-album/
JOHN PETRUCCI About Solo Album: "It's Something That I'm Just Almost Embarrassed About"

Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci says that he is “almost embarrassed” about not having released a solo album since 2005′s Suspended Animation.

Since the 2010 departure of drummer Mike PortnoyPetrucci, along with keyboardist Jordan Rudess, has taken on much of the songwriting load for the progressive metal giants, including 2016′s controversial double concept album, The Astonishing, and the recently released Distance Over Time.

In a new interview with The Everyman PodcastPetrucci was asked when fans can expect to hear a new solo album from him.

It’s something that I’m just almost embarrassed about, because my first one — only one — was released in 2005,” he responded. “And I do — as people may know, from watching the G3 tours — have plenty of material for that. So, next time I can sit down and get into a studio and I’m not making a Dream Theater record or touring with Dream Theater, I will record music for a follow-up solo album.

Petrucci told Guitar World magazine last year that the song ”Damage Control” from Suspended Animation was particularly challenging to play in a live setting. “It’s just a crazy… I’ve said this before — I feel like I’m doing damage control the entire time I’m playing,” he said. “It just has so many weird things about it — time signatures and technical challenges and things. A concentration song, that one.

Distance Over Time was released on February 22. The disc, which marks the band’s first for their new label InsideOut Music, was produced by Petrucci, mixed by Ben Grosse and mastered by Tom Baker.

The Distance Over Time tour of North America will kick off on March 20 in San Diego, California and will run for seven weeks before wrapping up on May 4 in Mexico City.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/news/john-petrucci-on-new-solo-album/
JOHN PETRUCCI About Solo Album: "It's Something That I'm Just Almost Embarrassed About"

Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci says that he is “almost embarrassed” about not having released a solo album since 2005′s Suspended Animation.

Since the 2010 departure of drummer Mike PortnoyPetrucci, along with keyboardist Jordan Rudess, has taken on much of the songwriting load for the progressive metal giants, including 2016′s controversial double concept album, The Astonishing, and the recently released Distance Over Time.

In a new interview with The Everyman PodcastPetrucci was asked when fans can expect to hear a new solo album from him.

It’s something that I’m just almost embarrassed about, because my first one — only one — was released in 2005,” he responded. “And I do — as people may know, from watching the G3 tours — have plenty of material for that. So, next time I can sit down and get into a studio and I’m not making a Dream Theater record or touring with Dream Theater, I will record music for a follow-up solo album.

Petrucci told Guitar World magazine last year that the song ”Damage Control” from Suspended Animation was particularly challenging to play in a live setting. “It’s just a crazy… I’ve said this before — I feel like I’m doing damage control the entire time I’m playing,” he said. “It just has so many weird things about it — time signatures and technical challenges and things. A concentration song, that one.

Distance Over Time was released on February 22. The disc, which marks the band’s first for their new label InsideOut Music, was produced by Petrucci, mixed by Ben Grosse and mastered by Tom Baker.

The Distance Over Time tour of North America will kick off on March 20 in San Diego, California and will run for seven weeks before wrapping up on May 4 in Mexico City.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/whitesides-daughter-interview/
Whiteside's Daughter

Looking at the “influences” section on Whiteside’s Daughter‘s Facebook page reveals quite an interesting selection of artists that this Jackson, Mississippi trio cites in order to describe their work. The genre they make — dubbed as Southern Gothic Prog Rock/Proto Metal — is possibly the weirdest tag you could discover, but take a listen to a promo the band launched on Bandcamp, and you’ll be exposed to quite a pleasant collection of tunes.

The full-length album titled ‘The Life You Save‘ will be launched this June, and the trio — featuring Steve Poff on vocals, Brian Hughley on drums, and Steve Deaton on guitars, bass, and keyboards — tackles a concept story “about James, the gay son of an Alabama Pentecostal preacher, who in high school rebels and falls in with John, his ex-Baptist atheist classmate and guitarist for a high school death metal band called Village Witch.” 

Deaton spoke for Prog Sphere about the upcoming release.

Define the mission of Whiteside’s Daughter.

Our primary goal is to make music that we would want to listen to ourselves. We do aspire to create conceptual music that will catch the ear of those who enjoy adventurous music and narrative concepts.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your debut album “The Life You Save” and the themes it captures.

I’ve had this concept about fundamentalist religion brewing for some years, based on my own experience of growing up Southern Baptist and from the many similar stories I’ve heard from friends or read in literature. I’ve always loved the dark, grotesque, and taboo themes of Southern Gothic literature, especially in Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor, and I thought the story of hellfire preaching, guilt, suicide attempts fit nicely in that narrative genre.  I’ve also been drawn to dark music (Sabbath, Pentagram, early Opeth) with dramatic riffs and minor keys, and thought it would be cool to merge Southern Gothic literature with progressive rock, gothic rock, and proto-metal.

What is the message you are trying to give with “The Life You Save”? 

Ultimately, I hope the story will stand by itself as a compelling narrative without any overt political or religious or anti-religious messages. But that being said, this story clearly wants to display the tragic consequences of young kids being told that Hell is real and that being gay, or having doubts, or listening to Iron Maiden, or having premarital sex or whatever will doom you for eternity. In the Deep South, that stuff is very real. I and many others I’ve known have experienced the depression and suicidal thoughts that come with all that. And a few of my friends have actually succeeded in killing themselves. The story is also about the liberating joy of rebelling against all that religious authority, and embracing the rebellious myth of Satan that comes in the teenage rebellion of Satanic metal, death metal, black metal, what have you. I lived through the “Satanic Panic” of the 80’s and was terrified of listening to Sabbath, Maiden, or Ozzy, or even KISS. No kidding! Some of my friends, though, somehow had already discovered stuff like Bathory, Slayer, and Celtic Frost, and that really scared me. When I began to finally shed all that religious baggage as an adult, it was so liberating to even listen to all that music, and I developed a real connection to it.

Whiteside's Daughter - The Life You Save

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

Well, all three of us have DAW software such as Logic Pro and because we live in separate places in Mississippi and Alabama, we did the whole project through file sharing. So, for instance, I would have a rough idea for some riffs or chord progressions and I would send those to Brian who would come up with some drum ideas and send it back, or send it to Poff with a basic vocal melody and let him elaborate and modify it because he has a broader vocal range. So, a lot of back and forth, trial and error.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes. I really wanted the story to have that continuous flow—ups and downs, different moods, loud and soft—just like a good movie. The two albums that were obvious influences are Floyd’s The Wall and The Who’s Tommy.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

We really wanted the album to have a lot of variety of sonic textures, but overall we wanted a raw, vintage, live sound—even though we were never all in the same room recording. But especially the drums, we recorded with only four mics, using mostly the sound from the two overheads, and tuning the kit loud and open. We wanted it to sound like early Sabbath and Zeppelin, if we could.  And the guitar tones, I wanted to be raunchy at times—very 70’s. And even though we throw in some dramatic synth stuff, it is old FM synth with wild sweeps, like late 70’s and early 80’s Rush. So even though I love a lot of the current progressive metal and rock, a lot of the new stuff sounds very quantized and produced with drum triggers and such. We didn’t want it to sound like that.

How long “The Life You Save” was in the making?

We started throwing around ideas and file sharing early in 2017—so almost two years.

Steve Deaton

Steve Deaton

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

A lot of prog and metal of course—Opeth, King Crimson, Black Sabbath especially. The concept album idea was strongly influenced by Pink Floyd and The Who. But some of our Southern roots sneak in like the dual guitar work of Molly Hatchet or even The Allman Brothers. And the real poppy song about teenage rebellion is straight up power pop like Cheap Trick or early Who.

What is your view on technology in music?

This project couldn’t have happened without modern digital software. I think digital technology is simply a tool and can be used in many ways. Music can still sound very live and organic, if desired. It just makes the work flow a lot easier and a lot cheaper which is great for independent artists. And I don’t even have a problem with modern pop or experimental music that can be made almost entirely sitting at your laptop. As long as people are doing something inventive that is interesting to listen to, I really don’t care. Sure, it can make music production lazy and stale, but it doesn’t have to.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

As I said earlier, I hope the music is always the primary objective and can stand by itself. But if this story concept by its very nature gets across a message that people can dig, or hate, or find solace in, that’s cool, too.

What are your plans for the future?

Even though this has been a studio project so far, we are planning to put together a live performance of the entire concept. We plan to periodically stage it as a musical dramatic piece in small theaters, in college auditoriums etc. And we already have some ideas for a new concept record, and we have added a bass player to our line up for live purposes, but he also will participate in recording the new project.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/whitesides-daughter-interview/
Whiteside's Daughter

Looking at the “influences” section on Whiteside’s Daughter‘s Facebook page reveals quite an interesting selection of artists that this Jackson, Mississippi trio cites in order to describe their work. The genre they make — dubbed as Southern Gothic Prog Rock/Proto Metal — is possibly the weirdest tag you could discover, but take a listen to a promo the band launched on Bandcamp, and you’ll be exposed to quite a pleasant collection of tunes.

The full-length album titled ‘The Life You Save‘ will be launched this June, and the trio — featuring Steve Poff on vocals, Brian Hughley on drums, and Steve Deaton on guitars, bass, and keyboards — tackles a concept story “about James, the gay son of an Alabama Pentecostal preacher, who in high school rebels and falls in with John, his ex-Baptist atheist classmate and guitarist for a high school death metal band called Village Witch.” 

Deaton spoke for Prog Sphere about the upcoming release.

Define the mission of Whiteside’s Daughter.

Our primary goal is to make music that we would want to listen to ourselves. We do aspire to create conceptual music that will catch the ear of those who enjoy adventurous music and narrative concepts.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your debut album “The Life You Save” and the themes it captures.

I’ve had this concept about fundamentalist religion brewing for some years, based on my own experience of growing up Southern Baptist and from the many similar stories I’ve heard from friends or read in literature. I’ve always loved the dark, grotesque, and taboo themes of Southern Gothic literature, especially in Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor, and I thought the story of hellfire preaching, guilt, suicide attempts fit nicely in that narrative genre.  I’ve also been drawn to dark music (Sabbath, Pentagram, early Opeth) with dramatic riffs and minor keys, and thought it would be cool to merge Southern Gothic literature with progressive rock, gothic rock, and proto-metal.

What is the message you are trying to give with “The Life You Save”? 

Ultimately, I hope the story will stand by itself as a compelling narrative without any overt political or religious or anti-religious messages. But that being said, this story clearly wants to display the tragic consequences of young kids being told that Hell is real and that being gay, or having doubts, or listening to Iron Maiden, or having premarital sex or whatever will doom you for eternity. In the Deep South, that stuff is very real. I and many others I’ve known have experienced the depression and suicidal thoughts that come with all that. And a few of my friends have actually succeeded in killing themselves. The story is also about the liberating joy of rebelling against all that religious authority, and embracing the rebellious myth of Satan that comes in the teenage rebellion of Satanic metal, death metal, black metal, what have you. I lived through the “Satanic Panic” of the 80’s and was terrified of listening to Sabbath, Maiden, or Ozzy, or even KISS. No kidding! Some of my friends, though, somehow had already discovered stuff like Bathory, Slayer, and Celtic Frost, and that really scared me. When I began to finally shed all that religious baggage as an adult, it was so liberating to even listen to all that music, and I developed a real connection to it.

Whiteside's Daughter - The Life You Save

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

Well, all three of us have DAW software such as Logic Pro and because we live in separate places in Mississippi and Alabama, we did the whole project through file sharing. So, for instance, I would have a rough idea for some riffs or chord progressions and I would send those to Brian who would come up with some drum ideas and send it back, or send it to Poff with a basic vocal melody and let him elaborate and modify it because he has a broader vocal range. So, a lot of back and forth, trial and error.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes. I really wanted the story to have that continuous flow—ups and downs, different moods, loud and soft—just like a good movie. The two albums that were obvious influences are Floyd’s The Wall and The Who’s Tommy.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

We really wanted the album to have a lot of variety of sonic textures, but overall we wanted a raw, vintage, live sound—even though we were never all in the same room recording. But especially the drums, we recorded with only four mics, using mostly the sound from the two overheads, and tuning the kit loud and open. We wanted it to sound like early Sabbath and Zeppelin, if we could.  And the guitar tones, I wanted to be raunchy at times—very 70’s. And even though we throw in some dramatic synth stuff, it is old FM synth with wild sweeps, like late 70’s and early 80’s Rush. So even though I love a lot of the current progressive metal and rock, a lot of the new stuff sounds very quantized and produced with drum triggers and such. We didn’t want it to sound like that.

How long “The Life You Save” was in the making?

We started throwing around ideas and file sharing early in 2017—so almost two years.

Steve Deaton

Steve Deaton

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

A lot of prog and metal of course—Opeth, King Crimson, Black Sabbath especially. The concept album idea was strongly influenced by Pink Floyd and The Who. But some of our Southern roots sneak in like the dual guitar work of Molly Hatchet or even The Allman Brothers. And the real poppy song about teenage rebellion is straight up power pop like Cheap Trick or early Who.

What is your view on technology in music?

This project couldn’t have happened without modern digital software. I think digital technology is simply a tool and can be used in many ways. Music can still sound very live and organic, if desired. It just makes the work flow a lot easier and a lot cheaper which is great for independent artists. And I don’t even have a problem with modern pop or experimental music that can be made almost entirely sitting at your laptop. As long as people are doing something inventive that is interesting to listen to, I really don’t care. Sure, it can make music production lazy and stale, but it doesn’t have to.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

As I said earlier, I hope the music is always the primary objective and can stand by itself. But if this story concept by its very nature gets across a message that people can dig, or hate, or find solace in, that’s cool, too.

What are your plans for the future?

Even though this has been a studio project so far, we are planning to put together a live performance of the entire concept. We plan to periodically stage it as a musical dramatic piece in small theaters, in college auditoriums etc. And we already have some ideas for a new concept record, and we have added a bass player to our line up for live purposes, but he also will participate in recording the new project.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/hoia-feat-colin-edwin-single-premiere/
Exclusive: HOIA Premieres New Single Featuring Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree)

Experimental beyond expectations, HOIA is an infusion of musical interests by Prateek Rajagopal. Popularly known for being a virtuoso guitarist, budding film composer and writer/producer for death metal legions GUTSLIT and Indian/American prog metal supergroup The Minerva Conduct, his interest in genres and art forms beyond metal gave rise to HOIA, inspired by Avant-garde, progressive rock, experimental and industrial music. Prog Sphere is premiering a new single today. Titled “Electric Wizard,” it features guest appearances from Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) on bass, and Wojtek Deregowski on drums. Stream it below.

Commented Prateek Rajagopal: “This song came about in a funny, funny way. I was eating burgers with my mum on vacation, and the restaurant had this smooth-jazz track playing in the background. The next day, I sat to demo out a song for my death metal band, but all these jazz influences that were triggered from the previous day just wouldn’t leave. So I began by programming some piano sketches, and within a day or two the song was done! Of course, it’s not a jazz track by any means, but random unsolicited inspiration & places can do funny things! The brief (for drummer Wojtek Deregowski & bassist Colin Edwin) was very simple – just do your thing and improvise like you’re in a jam room. The entire drum section till the piano-drone break was performed in a single take, and that’s exactly what was required for this song!

Electric Wizard is followed by ‘Part II’ on the album which I wrote a year later and should ideally be played together in one sitting, but I wanted to preserve the fact that this was written in a completely different headspace and hence split it into 2 parts!

After releasing two EPs with HOIA, Prateek is all set to release his debut album titled Scavenger on April 19th, 2019. The record has a more sophisticated songwriting approach compared to his previous releases, albeit still very ‘prog,’ and also features Prateek as a vocalist for the first time. The instruments used on the album are unlike his other projects, using samples of rotating fans and vehicle sounds, analog synthesizers and digital manipulation along with organic instruments like guitars (acoustic, electric), piano and strings.

Says Prateek, “The album deals with human-sentimentality concepts like nostalgia, demise, anxiety and the need to ‘scavenge’ to survive, bubbled in fictitious concepts as individual stories. It isn’t a concept album, but there’s a loose relation across the individual stories.

HOIA’s Scavenger has been in the works for over 2 years and clocks in at 33 minutes. The track-list is as follows:

1. Write Across
2. Escape Orb
3. Electric Wizard
4. Part II
5. Scavenger

Pre order the album from Bandcamp here.

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