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This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/dancing-sun-interview/

This past June, Austrian experimental metal one-man band Dancing Sun released its debut album entitled ‘Firefable.’ We asked the Graz-based musician questions about the record, his musical vision, and more.

Define the mission of Dancing Sun.

There is a dream and some noble ideals concerning the process of creativity. Dancing Sun: The servant of tales.

Songs and tales have a life. Tread them respectfully. Balance active and passive — don’t take the sledgehammer to hand over your personal intentions nor don’t get lost in a cast off thread story.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your recent album “Firefable” and the themes it captures.

It’s been a while ago, when I read an interview with the highly respected grandmaster Dan Swanö. As far as I remember he meant he wrote some songs of his 1998 solo album “Moontower” in a few hours. Yes, and there are a lot of his kind, I confess I can only take this statement as a counterpart — no I am not such genius and I am not as fast as Bob Ross.

Dancing Sun and especially the “Firefable” songs are a long-time run fresco, where you paint the background with horizon — break — then beach and tamarisk trees — break — then windsurfing girls — break — flying water and sand — finish. Sounds summer time easy, but “Firefable” got a lot developed by toss and turning thoughts, it’s kind of a consecration, wonderful exciting like the first child. I am a great fan of Lotte — last track on the album, “Lotte’s song,” it’s got a more spontaneous approach.

What is the message you are trying to give with “Firefable”?

First, there are more things that we don’t know, than things we know about a certain object. There is a message of Firefable I’m not aware of and one I can imagine: Listening to music is a shift into another world.

Fantasy literature, Progressive Rock, and many others are ideally suited for a tour into something archaic or some inner world confrontation with a lot of basic elements such as water or fire – That’s where the Firefable is placed: In the title-track-scenario some weird dudes are sitting around a bonfire listening to stories of Healing Silence, Dead Waters or Birds of Fire and one of this fellows is the listener of Dancing Suns “Firefable”. The inclusion of the audience is a romantic novelists’ trick. The old archetypical fire-setting is a place, where every day life is forgotten & time is nothing. And there are questions – for example – Have you ever seen the flameflooded kingdoms, while you stared into the embers? That’s a good initial point for an inner adventure, when somebody jumps into the storyteller’s role, even better. There we are – a storyteller’s eldorado, a time-out, an old black book with a labyrinth-look-a-like firesign on it called Firefable.

Firefable by Dancing Sun

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

You never know when you get kissed by the muse. She’s writing in my small black memo book, I always carry with me. Another example of documenting was invented last December, when I had the intention to quit music after the Firefable-album. Before it was even finished a canadian Punk-Rock-band kicked my ass to write the first song of the next album & let the sun dance again. At December there’s been plenty of paper crap beside my swedish oven, so the lyrics were written on a paper box. That’s very convenient, because it’s a stand-alone for singing – my recommendation. Beside this out of the blue-pop-up-creativity-events, sometimes meticulous field studies take place prior a song is started – for example, I’ve interviewed some months several ancestors, worked through the family tree, and went to several venues for the genealogical “Tree”.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

It’s been hard work and it’s been the proper way for Firefable. Nowadays I try to be more sensitive for both worlds – between the focus on discipline, playing technics etc. & the fun of composing. A good flow by keeping the creative “Heat of the moment” (Asia is great!) and the recording session in a near distance – I don’t instantly eat the apple while it is falling from the tree, and I don’t put it in the freezer until the next Apfelstrudel – I’ve got a nerdy little room-in-room-home-studio waiting for me any time to write and record songs on the fly.

How long “Firefable” was in the making?

How long do you have time? Once upon a time there’s been a full length album of Dancing Sun called “Unbosom” in 2015. It has never been released. Tree, the last track of Firefable has went through transitions. There’s been an evolution from songs like “Powwow of the Tree” and “Rags to Riches” until another coat of paint has joined the canvas titled “Tree”. The carcassesque “Dead Waters” went through similar metamorphoses.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Dead can Dance, Carcass, Renaissance, Nevermore. Song structurally maybe Mastodon. Vocals influenced by Taneli Jarva. FX-Playfulness while mixing My Dying Bride Mastering Sound references Ulver “Childhood’s end” and Kontinuum “Kyrr”.

What is your view on technology in music?

Devin Townsend and Suzanne Vega don’t share the same equipment, but both are fine.

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

Let’s talk about the purpose of metal & music in general. I remember a guy I met 2008 in a youth hostel in San Francisco, who worked like mad in a factory at the harbor. Beside shower and sleep there were only two hours spare-time left for him day by day. He meant that this two hours were his resurrection time. It was time for Iron Maiden. Of course legend-building takes history as a bitch, the Birmingham phenomenon is one major basis for the invention and living the steel. One of the many purposes of Metal could be the way to cope with reality, with the human race & to be thrown into your own personal soup. Why not call it a beneficial escapism, if it’s a vessel to come along with your life, to scream and come back from a liberating gig with a smile upon your face. Art for the sake of art is fine too, but meanwhile I’d be simple as it gets an even more happy Bird, if Dancing Sun would make some other birds more happy.

What are your plans for the future?

I’d like to make a roadtrip with a big bus through 3 districts eastern from my hometown Graz in Austria. Beside I’m quite far with Dancing Sun’s forthcoming album. I love the new songs, I would have liked to release these type of songs earlier, but Firefable has been Firefable, it had to be as dark as it gets. This time I’m happy to give mixing in the hands of a very skillful sound engineer: Andi Gassner also mixed “Laszlo Podenco’s Dreams” on Firefable.

We’ve got a good flow.

Furthermore there are also questions concerning Dancing Sun like “can a one man show be non-egocentric?” Once, when Mormons addressed me on the street at their promo tour, I’ve been in the mood and asked “but what about Metal & windsurfing?”, they answered “you can not have both!” Let’s see.

Firefable is out now on Bandcamp.

The post DANCING SUN: The Servant of Tales appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/dancing-sun-interview/

This past June, Austrian experimental metal one-man band Dancing Sun released its debut album entitled ‘Firefable.’ We asked the Graz-based musician questions about the record, his musical vision, and more.

Define the mission of Dancing Sun.

There is a dream and some noble ideals concerning the process of creativity. Dancing Sun: The servant of tales.

Songs and tales have a life. Tread them respectfully. Balance active and passive — don’t take the sledgehammer to hand over your personal intentions nor don’t get lost in a cast off thread story.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your recent album “Firefable” and the themes it captures.

It’s been a while ago, when I read an interview with the highly respected grandmaster Dan Swanö. As far as I remember he meant he wrote some songs of his 1998 solo album “Moontower” in a few hours. Yes, and there are a lot of his kind, I confess I can only take this statement as a counterpart — no I am not such genius and I am not as fast as Bob Ross.

Dancing Sun and especially the “Firefable” songs are a long-time run fresco, where you paint the background with horizon — break — then beach and tamarisk trees — break — then windsurfing girls — break — flying water and sand — finish. Sounds summer time easy, but “Firefable” got a lot developed by toss and turning thoughts, it’s kind of a consecration, wonderful exciting like the first child. I am a great fan of Lotte — last track on the album, “Lotte’s song,” it’s got a more spontaneous approach.

What is the message you are trying to give with “Firefable”?

First, there are more things that we don’t know, than things we know about a certain object. There is a message of Firefable I’m not aware of and one I can imagine: Listening to music is a shift into another world.

Fantasy literature, Progressive Rock, and many others are ideally suited for a tour into something archaic or some inner world confrontation with a lot of basic elements such as water or fire – That’s where the Firefable is placed: In the title-track-scenario some weird dudes are sitting around a bonfire listening to stories of Healing Silence, Dead Waters or Birds of Fire and one of this fellows is the listener of Dancing Suns “Firefable”. The inclusion of the audience is a romantic novelists’ trick. The old archetypical fire-setting is a place, where every day life is forgotten & time is nothing. And there are questions – for example – Have you ever seen the flameflooded kingdoms, while you stared into the embers? That’s a good initial point for an inner adventure, when somebody jumps into the storyteller’s role, even better. There we are – a storyteller’s eldorado, a time-out, an old black book with a labyrinth-look-a-like firesign on it called Firefable.

Firefable by Dancing Sun

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

You never know when you get kissed by the muse. She’s writing in my small black memo book, I always carry with me. Another example of documenting was invented last December, when I had the intention to quit music after the Firefable-album. Before it was even finished a canadian Punk-Rock-band kicked my ass to write the first song of the next album & let the sun dance again. At December there’s been plenty of paper crap beside my swedish oven, so the lyrics were written on a paper box. That’s very convenient, because it’s a stand-alone for singing – my recommendation. Beside this out of the blue-pop-up-creativity-events, sometimes meticulous field studies take place prior a song is started – for example, I’ve interviewed some months several ancestors, worked through the family tree, and went to several venues for the genealogical “Tree”.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

It’s been hard work and it’s been the proper way for Firefable. Nowadays I try to be more sensitive for both worlds – between the focus on discipline, playing technics etc. & the fun of composing. A good flow by keeping the creative “Heat of the moment” (Asia is great!) and the recording session in a near distance – I don’t instantly eat the apple while it is falling from the tree, and I don’t put it in the freezer until the next Apfelstrudel – I’ve got a nerdy little room-in-room-home-studio waiting for me any time to write and record songs on the fly.

How long “Firefable” was in the making?

How long do you have time? Once upon a time there’s been a full length album of Dancing Sun called “Unbosom” in 2015. It has never been released. Tree, the last track of Firefable has went through transitions. There’s been an evolution from songs like “Powwow of the Tree” and “Rags to Riches” until another coat of paint has joined the canvas titled “Tree”. The carcassesque “Dead Waters” went through similar metamorphoses.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Dead can Dance, Carcass, Renaissance, Nevermore. Song structurally maybe Mastodon. Vocals influenced by Taneli Jarva. FX-Playfulness while mixing My Dying Bride Mastering Sound references Ulver “Childhood’s end” and Kontinuum “Kyrr”.

What is your view on technology in music?

Devin Townsend and Suzanne Vega don’t share the same equipment, but both are fine.

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

Let’s talk about the purpose of metal & music in general. I remember a guy I met 2008 in a youth hostel in San Francisco, who worked like mad in a factory at the harbor. Beside shower and sleep there were only two hours spare-time left for him day by day. He meant that this two hours were his resurrection time. It was time for Iron Maiden. Of course legend-building takes history as a bitch, the Birmingham phenomenon is one major basis for the invention and living the steel. One of the many purposes of Metal could be the way to cope with reality, with the human race & to be thrown into your own personal soup. Why not call it a beneficial escapism, if it’s a vessel to come along with your life, to scream and come back from a liberating gig with a smile upon your face. Art for the sake of art is fine too, but meanwhile I’d be simple as it gets an even more happy Bird, if Dancing Sun would make some other birds more happy.

What are your plans for the future?

I’d like to make a roadtrip with a big bus through 3 districts eastern from my hometown Graz in Austria. Beside I’m quite far with Dancing Sun’s forthcoming album. I love the new songs, I would have liked to release these type of songs earlier, but Firefable has been Firefable, it had to be as dark as it gets. This time I’m happy to give mixing in the hands of a very skillful sound engineer: Andi Gassner also mixed “Laszlo Podenco’s Dreams” on Firefable.

We’ve got a good flow.

Furthermore there are also questions concerning Dancing Sun like “can a one man show be non-egocentric?” Once, when Mormons addressed me on the street at their promo tour, I’ve been in the mood and asked “but what about Metal & windsurfing?”, they answered “you can not have both!” Let’s see.

Firefable is out now on Bandcamp.

The post DANCING SUN: The Servant of Tales appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/bandcamp-undercover/ijolite-post-mortem-of-a-lif/

There has been quite a lot head-bashing in which category to place this record. It is based on my own perception of the Ijolite’s music to categorize the solo project by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Dustin Rudy under the avant-prog label, as avantgarde and progressive elements are the most prominent here. After spent hours of listening to Post Mortem of a Life, the project’s sophomore full-length outing, I’ve been thinking quite a lot about the albums that could be considered as the saviors of the progressive metal genre in 2019. From all the albums that could be counted on the fingers of one hand, it was exactly Post Mortem of a Life that met the full criteria for being the genre’s messiah. And that includes following:

  • rhythm
  • melody
  • harmony
  • tempo
  • dynamics
  • timbre
  • textures
  • form

There are no many albums that succeed in mixing seemingly incompatible elements. Ijolite’s Post Mortem of a Life is one of these rarities and therefore it deserves to be hailed as one of the best records released in 2019, but also in last few years. It will be interesting to hear what comes next.

Post Mortem of a Life

The post [Bandcamp Undercover] Ijolite – Post Mortem of a Life appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/bandcamp-undercover/ijolite-post-mortem-of-a-lif/

There has been quite a lot head-bashing in which category to place this record. It is based on my own perception of the Ijolite’s music to categorize the solo project by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Dustin Rudy under the avant-prog label, as avantgarde and progressive elements are the most prominent here. After spent hours of listening to Post Mortem of a Life, the project’s sophomore full-length outing, I’ve been thinking quite a lot about the albums that could be considered as the saviors of the progressive metal genre in 2019. From all the albums that could be counted on the fingers of one hand, it was exactly Post Mortem of a Life that met the full criteria for being the genre’s messiah. And that includes following:

  • rhythm
  • melody
  • harmony
  • tempo
  • dynamics
  • timbre
  • textures
  • form

There are no many albums that succeed in mixing seemingly incompatible elements. Ijolite’s Post Mortem of a Life is one of these rarities and therefore it deserves to be hailed as one of the best records released in 2019, but also in last few years. It will be interesting to hear what comes next.

Post Mortem of a Life

The post [Bandcamp Undercover] Ijolite – Post Mortem of a Life appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/euphoria-station-interview/

Progressive rock act Euphoria Station returned in September with the release of their sophomore album ‘The Reverie Suite.’ Vocalist Saskia Binder opens up for Prog Sphere about the creative process behind the new record, its message, and more.

Define the mission of Euphoria Station.

We love to create music. Our dream would be for The Reverie Suite to be heard and have people feel something from it. I started singing in hopes that people who hear the music would be moved by it. I personally have my favorite songs that have been very meaningful to me in one way or another. Being moved by music is not new. And if the people from our audience are touched by our music…I am happy.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your new, sophomore album “The Reverie Suite” and the themes it captures.

I would give Hoyt requests such as “ I want to feel like I walked into a hoedown in the middle of the forest” or “I want to look through window into childhood, with my best friend on the most perfect day lying on the ground, cloud watching.” These two suggestions influence the songs Reverie with its orchestral section and Seasons’ outro hoedown. Another spark of creativity was places in New Mexico and South Dakota that we visited that have a lot of Native American influence. Songs like Seasons, Remind Me, Prelude/ She’s Calling, Content and Queen of Hearts have sections of Native drumming, shakers and flute. These are some of my favorite moments and make me feel like I’m in an old town at the dance square with Natives and Settlers comingling.

What is the message you are trying to give with “The Reverie Suite”?

Some of the songs on the album have a very happy, uplifting sound and a lyrically joyful, playful kind of interpretation. Then songs like “On My Way” is about leaving my hometown as a child (Sacramento) and moving far away south (Los Angeles). I was devastated to leave a place I knew as home only to go to an unknown new home. That anticipation of what’s around the corner as well as leaving my best friend had emotions flying. Conveying a message through this album would be…roll with the changes! I know it’s the name of a song (which I love!), but it’s true. From childhood to adulthood, life is what you make it. L.A. is my home now and has been for a long time, but I embrace all I went through and am excited about the next adventure!

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

Many of the ideas came while we were in nature or on our way to nature. The song Seasons, for example, came about when we were waiting on the side of the road in Sequoia that was blocked with some debris. While waiting for it be cleared, Hoyt experimented with an alternate tuning, feeling the high altitude and being in the moment and began rhythmically tapping the verse chords. I began humming some ideas and we immediately grabbed the handheld tape recorder that we travel with!

The Reverie Suite

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes, the music and the lyrics flow from past to present. There are motifs that appear throughout with some acting as memories and others as anticipations of things to come.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

The number one goal was to have all real instruments. There are no synthesized or virtual instruments on this record. Just real humans making real music. That’s also why our keyboardist Ronald Van Deurzen does not use any synthetic sounds, sticking instead to piano and organ, reaffirming the organic direction we went for on our album.

How long was “The Reverie Suite” in the making?

It is quite interesting to me how the music turned out. That old adage how the music speaks for itself and how it tells us what it should sound like…so to say, actually has merit. There have been quite a few times for me when I would hear something over and over and be happy with it, only to have Hoyt change it. It was a feeling and I knew in my gut, it was the right thing to do. I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. Although I do look forward for our next album to not take so long : )

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

The Allman Brothers and The Doobie Brothers, but this release was less influenced by bands than it was America’s scenery, folk music and Native culture. In our travels from Northern California with its amazing Sequoia trees to New Mexico’s enchanting plateaus and Utah’s heavenly formations, we’ve seen the beautiful land that exists as it once did minus the Natives who live freely in it. Seeing nature in all its glory reminds me of a time when we were more spiritually connected, and music was the vehicle for that connection.

What is your view on technology in music?

Technology is unavoidable these days. On one hand I admire where music came from in that it was in the moment and served a purpose in communities. It served multiple purposes – spiritual, ceremonies, celebrations and mourning. A lot of these element s have been lost over time due to technology, but without electricity there’d be no rock or the album as an art form, so I embrace technology. There is a point where everything becomes too stale and robotic and that is my only beef with technology. You must keep the human element. Without it, I’m not sure what the point is.

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

The Reverie Suite has a story to tell. It invokes feelings of joy and bliss, sadness, adventure, memories, childhood, experiences, best friends. There is something very tangible for me because the story is real. The beauty of feeling so many different emotions that come in the form of music is an absolute treat that lasts forever! I can always put on a cd or You-tube or whatever is in and play it at any point in life and re-create that feeling! I do it all the time. Music is very special.

What are your plans for the future?

Our plans are to get The Reverie Suite out to the world. We have been very humbled by the responses and look forward to promoting the album live as well. We are looking forward to bringing our music where it takes us : ) I am that dog with my tongue hanging out with my head out the window of a car going down the highway thoroughly enjoying the moment! THANK YOU!

For more about Euphoria Station visit their website.

The post EUPHORIA STATION: Love for Music Creation appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/euphoria-station-interview/

Progressive rock act Euphoria Station returned in September with the release of their sophomore album ‘The Reverie Suite.’ Vocalist Saskia Binder opens up for Prog Sphere about the creative process behind the new record, its message, and more.

Define the mission of Euphoria Station.

We love to create music. Our dream would be for The Reverie Suite to be heard and have people feel something from it. I started singing in hopes that people who hear the music would be moved by it. I personally have my favorite songs that have been very meaningful to me in one way or another. Being moved by music is not new. And if the people from our audience are touched by our music…I am happy.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your new, sophomore album “The Reverie Suite” and the themes it captures.

I would give Hoyt requests such as “ I want to feel like I walked into a hoedown in the middle of the forest” or “I want to look through window into childhood, with my best friend on the most perfect day lying on the ground, cloud watching.” These two suggestions influence the songs Reverie with its orchestral section and Seasons’ outro hoedown. Another spark of creativity was places in New Mexico and South Dakota that we visited that have a lot of Native American influence. Songs like Seasons, Remind Me, Prelude/ She’s Calling, Content and Queen of Hearts have sections of Native drumming, shakers and flute. These are some of my favorite moments and make me feel like I’m in an old town at the dance square with Natives and Settlers comingling.

What is the message you are trying to give with “The Reverie Suite”?

Some of the songs on the album have a very happy, uplifting sound and a lyrically joyful, playful kind of interpretation. Then songs like “On My Way” is about leaving my hometown as a child (Sacramento) and moving far away south (Los Angeles). I was devastated to leave a place I knew as home only to go to an unknown new home. That anticipation of what’s around the corner as well as leaving my best friend had emotions flying. Conveying a message through this album would be…roll with the changes! I know it’s the name of a song (which I love!), but it’s true. From childhood to adulthood, life is what you make it. L.A. is my home now and has been for a long time, but I embrace all I went through and am excited about the next adventure!

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

Many of the ideas came while we were in nature or on our way to nature. The song Seasons, for example, came about when we were waiting on the side of the road in Sequoia that was blocked with some debris. While waiting for it be cleared, Hoyt experimented with an alternate tuning, feeling the high altitude and being in the moment and began rhythmically tapping the verse chords. I began humming some ideas and we immediately grabbed the handheld tape recorder that we travel with!

The Reverie Suite

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes, the music and the lyrics flow from past to present. There are motifs that appear throughout with some acting as memories and others as anticipations of things to come.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

The number one goal was to have all real instruments. There are no synthesized or virtual instruments on this record. Just real humans making real music. That’s also why our keyboardist Ronald Van Deurzen does not use any synthetic sounds, sticking instead to piano and organ, reaffirming the organic direction we went for on our album.

How long was “The Reverie Suite” in the making?

It is quite interesting to me how the music turned out. That old adage how the music speaks for itself and how it tells us what it should sound like…so to say, actually has merit. There have been quite a few times for me when I would hear something over and over and be happy with it, only to have Hoyt change it. It was a feeling and I knew in my gut, it was the right thing to do. I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. Although I do look forward for our next album to not take so long : )

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

The Allman Brothers and The Doobie Brothers, but this release was less influenced by bands than it was America’s scenery, folk music and Native culture. In our travels from Northern California with its amazing Sequoia trees to New Mexico’s enchanting plateaus and Utah’s heavenly formations, we’ve seen the beautiful land that exists as it once did minus the Natives who live freely in it. Seeing nature in all its glory reminds me of a time when we were more spiritually connected, and music was the vehicle for that connection.

What is your view on technology in music?

Technology is unavoidable these days. On one hand I admire where music came from in that it was in the moment and served a purpose in communities. It served multiple purposes – spiritual, ceremonies, celebrations and mourning. A lot of these element s have been lost over time due to technology, but without electricity there’d be no rock or the album as an art form, so I embrace technology. There is a point where everything becomes too stale and robotic and that is my only beef with technology. You must keep the human element. Without it, I’m not sure what the point is.

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

The Reverie Suite has a story to tell. It invokes feelings of joy and bliss, sadness, adventure, memories, childhood, experiences, best friends. There is something very tangible for me because the story is real. The beauty of feeling so many different emotions that come in the form of music is an absolute treat that lasts forever! I can always put on a cd or You-tube or whatever is in and play it at any point in life and re-create that feeling! I do it all the time. Music is very special.

What are your plans for the future?

Our plans are to get The Reverie Suite out to the world. We have been very humbled by the responses and look forward to promoting the album live as well. We are looking forward to bringing our music where it takes us : ) I am that dog with my tongue hanging out with my head out the window of a car going down the highway thoroughly enjoying the moment! THANK YOU!

For more about Euphoria Station visit their website.

The post EUPHORIA STATION: Love for Music Creation appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/the-spectre-beneath-interview/

The Spectre Beneath is a progpower metal band formed by guitarist and composer Pete Worrall. The group launched their debut album ‘The Downfall of Judith King‘ in September, and it was a reason good enough to talk with Pete and find more about the release, its concept, and more.

Define the mission of The Spectre Beneath.

The mission for The Spectre Beneath is to deliver exciting, energetic music that is influenced by the beloved tropes of both power and progressive metal and moulded into a sound that is modern and melodic that does not compromise on its influences.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your recent album “The Downfall of Judith King” and the themes it captures.

‘The Downfall of Judith King’ did not evolve in the usual way an album is put together, i.e ‘let’s write a bunch of songs’. It is a collection of tracks I initially had earmarked for other projects which, sadly never materialised. After sitting on the songs for a couple of years, I decided to create a new project for the tunes because I thought they were catchy and melodic but quite bombastic at the same time which was slightly different to my other projects. I felt they were too strong to leave them sitting on my hard drive gathering virtual dust.

However, this suggests it was a simple process of recording the songs and making the album, but this was not the case. The songs needed to be refined, cut down and shaped into something palatable. When I initially come up with an idea, it’s usually a riff and an idea for a drum beat and I build on that, but one of my failings in past projects is to make the songs too long, usually with too many repeated parts. This time, the finished songs were still quite long so I took a scalpel to them which is why you get a lot of riffs and ideas all crammed into the running time. A good example of this is, ‘As the Crows Peck at your Bones’. At 6:22 it’s still quite a long song but the intro was about thirty seconds longer, there was a chorus after the first verse and bridge, the last chorus was repeated and the ending was a little longer. Even in the early demos I found myself drifting off because it went on a bit. I think knowing something needs cutting out and being brave enough to do it, and also listen to feedback in regards to song structure is an overlooked skill.

In regards to themes, I prefer to write short stories, situations and also write lyrics about my favourite films in a similar way to Iron Maiden. For example, ‘Mrs Lovett’s Pies’ is about Mrs Lovett from the Sweeny Todd story but she is only going along with his scheme to earn enough money to leave London. ‘There are Cameras in the Dolls’ is about an AI who has look after a human who has never met another human being. There’s a quirkiness to the lyrics because I find it easier to write what is essentially flash fiction in the form of song lyrics than to write about politics, love, loss, birth and anger etc… Other bands do that sort of thing much better and if I had a go it would just come across as unconvincing.

But at the heart of ‘The Downfall of Judith King’ is Judith King herself. I have her whole story fleshed out and one of my plans is to write a concept album about her life, but on this album we get to see a snapshot, her downfall and her plotting a devious plan for revenge.

The Downfall of Judith King

What is the message you are trying to give with “The Downfall of Judith King”?

I don’t really have a message for ‘The Downfall of Judith King’. As I’ve mentioned, from a lyric stand point I prefer the story/flash fiction style themes, but I think the message that I would like to put across is, ‘if you have a vision or want to try something, just do it’. The Spectre Beneath was born out of wanting to try something with the songs I had, trying something differently vocally, trying something conceptually different with the Judith King idea. This is our debut album, it was recorded by three people on a budget that was essentially a shoe string. If we can create ‘The Downfall of Judith King’ with limited resources then, speaking to all musicians in similar situations, have courage in your convictions and make the best with what you have at your disposal.

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

I jam on the guitar and play around with ideas, recording on my computer the ones which catch my ear. After several days I’ll listen back to all the ideas and those which still catch my ear will be developed upon. I try those ideas with other riffs or chord sequences that naturally follow on and then leave them for another couple of days. I then come back to them, and if they still sound good, I create a basic song and mix it down. I then listen to it while doing other things such as walking the dog and this gives me an indication of what works and what doesn’t. I then go back to the track, make any necessary tweaks, do another mix down and follow that whole process again until I have a track I’m pleased with. This can take anything from a week to several months with dozens of early demos littering my computer and phone, each one with a higher number at the end of it, for example, ‘Fragmented v8’ and so on.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes it is. Album structure is a fine art in my opinion. For me, an album should have peaks and troughs, fast parts, slow parts but all presented in a way that it never turns the listener off. Too many blasters in a row might wear a listener down, likewise if all the slow tracks were placed together. Balance is the key and having the faith to know when the listener needs picking up after a slower number or to take a breather after an aural assault or even showcase what the band is capable after a couple of more simpler songs. I think the biggest influence on how I approach songs and albums is Overkill’s ‘The Years of Decay’. For me, it is a perfect blueprint of writing a diverse but credible album. It’s a superbly balanced album, no two songs on that album sound alike but they’re all totally Overkill. In my opinion, this is a skill that’s very difficult to master. It’s not my favourite Overkill album, that’s ‘Horrorscope’, but from a structure, balance and creative aspect, ‘The Years of Decay’ is a masterpiece.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

I had only finished an album by my other band, ‘Plague and the Decay’, in January 2019, and the tail end of 2018 was spent working on that, so starting The Spectre Beneath while the ‘Plague and the Decay’ album was being completed did not seem to be the best time to take on another project. In the end, the situation helped because it meant I could keep working on refining the tracks over a longer period of time. After I had come up with the Judith King idea, I thought it would be a prudent idea to structure the album in a similar way to Coheed and Cambria where they have a theme at the tail-end of an album in several parts. Because The Plotting of Judith King and then the Abduction and Questioning of Olivia Soams all narratively follow on from each other, it made sense to close the album with that trilogy.

How long “The Downfall of Judith King” was in the making?

A couple of songs, ‘Fragmented’ and the title track were written about six years ago, the others a couple of years after that but the decision to put them altogether into ‘The Downfall of Judith King’ was made March 2018, but, due to availability, demoing the tracks was not started until December 2018. The album then took eight months to record and mix.

Pete Worrall

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

I grew up on Iron Maiden. I remember liking metal’s breakthrough songs in passing on TV and the radio, but it wasn’t until my friend gave me a copy of Iron Maiden’s ‘Number of the Beast’ that I became hooked. Listening to the opening track, Invaders, was like the flicking of a switch. I just loved the energy, the pace, the musicianship. Looking back, it was one of those moments where my life changed forever, that’s what metal does. I’ve always had a love for the faster elements of Iron Maiden and metal in general, so embracing Megadeth and Helloween was not a huge step and I could not get enough of the dual axe attack, the twin harmonies, the solo trading. I still love it to this day, anyone who listens to ‘The Downfall of Judith King’ will attest to this as the album is littered with those types of guitar breaks.

Even though Savatage’s early albums only had one guitar player, Criss Oliva, the guitar work, Jon Oliva’s raspy vocal style and the huge metal anthems such as ‘Beyond the Doors of the Dark’ and ‘Gutter Ballet’ was an instant draw for me. In fact, I have to admit, the last third of ‘The Plotting of Judith King’ is straight out of the Savatage handbook. I also liked the fact that a lot of their songs, similarly with Iron Maiden and Dio, were short stories, flash fiction so to speak. So, when I heard Queensryche’s Operation: Mindcrime for the first time, I was transfixed, which is why ‘The Downfall of Judith King’ has songs that are both conceptually linked and stand along songs about Mrs Lovett and her delicious pies or someone who is spied upon by an AI via a shelf of dolls.

Add to the above an overdose of great female fronted bands such as Unleash the Archers, A Sound of Thunder, Love Bites, Frozen Crown and Unlucky Morpheus, acts that showcase what impressive things can be achieved with female vocals in metal, then you end up with the blueprints for The Spectre Beneath.

What is your view on technology in music?

I sit on the fence. Technology is invaluable for me in regards to the creative process. When you record digitally, within seconds you can edit your ideas to the nth degree, try riffs and passages in different places in the song and then press ctrl ‘z’ to put it back as it was. Cutting down songs is much easier in this format, it’s certainly a far cry from the 4-track recorder I used to use where I had to re-record the whole song or passage again just to see if an idea would work. In regards to the creation of music, technology gives people like me wonderful tools to be more prolific and be able to refine ideas with greater ease.
However, I don’t like it when technology takes over, when it makes the music sound manufactured or too precise. I’m fairly old-school in this regard, I do like rawness of metal, it’s ‘Do It Yourself’ mentality and I think technology can dilute this and rob a band of its unique sound because it’s too easy to select a preset. As long as technology doesn’t take over the ‘human’ element and is used as a tool to get the best out of that human element, then I think this generates the best results.

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

With ‘The Downfall of Judith King’ it really was a case of, ‘getting the best results with what we had to hand’ and, in my opinion, it turned out really well. I think this is a very useful motto to have in life and I hope our music reminds people that it’s not what resources you’ve got, it’s what you do with them that matters.

What are your plans for the future?

I have the next two albums planned out and most of it is already written with an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ mentality, and I’d like to have one of them out next year. After those two albums I’d like to tell the full Judith King story. I already have about half of it written. It’s a little more progressive and more akin to songs such as ‘The Questioning of Judith Soams’ and ‘The Plotting of Judith King’. It’d be nice to squeeze some live performances in as well at some point but we’ll need some more members for that.

Aside from that, I would love to write a death metal album because I have a huge soft spot for the genre. I love the riffs, the intensity and the brutal vocals. I’m currently listening to Izegrim and if I can create something that comes anywhere close to them, I’d be more than happy. I hope to start writing it in the new year.

Get ‘The Downfall of Judith King’ from Bandcamp, and follow The Spectre Beneath from Facebook.

The post THE SPECTRE BENEATH: Modern but Uncompromising appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/the-spectre-beneath-interview/

The Spectre Beneath is a progpower metal band formed by guitarist and composer Pete Worrall. The group launched their debut album ‘The Downfall of Judith King‘ in September, and it was a reason good enough to talk with Pete and find more about the release, its concept, and more.

Define the mission of The Spectre Beneath.

The mission for The Spectre Beneath is to deliver exciting, energetic music that is influenced by the beloved tropes of both power and progressive metal and moulded into a sound that is modern and melodic that does not compromise on its influences.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your recent album “The Downfall of Judith King” and the themes it captures.

‘The Downfall of Judith King’ did not evolve in the usual way an album is put together, i.e ‘let’s write a bunch of songs’. It is a collection of tracks I initially had earmarked for other projects which, sadly never materialised. After sitting on the songs for a couple of years, I decided to create a new project for the tunes because I thought they were catchy and melodic but quite bombastic at the same time which was slightly different to my other projects. I felt they were too strong to leave them sitting on my hard drive gathering virtual dust.

However, this suggests it was a simple process of recording the songs and making the album, but this was not the case. The songs needed to be refined, cut down and shaped into something palatable. When I initially come up with an idea, it’s usually a riff and an idea for a drum beat and I build on that, but one of my failings in past projects is to make the songs too long, usually with too many repeated parts. This time, the finished songs were still quite long so I took a scalpel to them which is why you get a lot of riffs and ideas all crammed into the running time. A good example of this is, ‘As the Crows Peck at your Bones’. At 6:22 it’s still quite a long song but the intro was about thirty seconds longer, there was a chorus after the first verse and bridge, the last chorus was repeated and the ending was a little longer. Even in the early demos I found myself drifting off because it went on a bit. I think knowing something needs cutting out and being brave enough to do it, and also listen to feedback in regards to song structure is an overlooked skill.

In regards to themes, I prefer to write short stories, situations and also write lyrics about my favourite films in a similar way to Iron Maiden. For example, ‘Mrs Lovett’s Pies’ is about Mrs Lovett from the Sweeny Todd story but she is only going along with his scheme to earn enough money to leave London. ‘There are Cameras in the Dolls’ is about an AI who has look after a human who has never met another human being. There’s a quirkiness to the lyrics because I find it easier to write what is essentially flash fiction in the form of song lyrics than to write about politics, love, loss, birth and anger etc… Other bands do that sort of thing much better and if I had a go it would just come across as unconvincing.

But at the heart of ‘The Downfall of Judith King’ is Judith King herself. I have her whole story fleshed out and one of my plans is to write a concept album about her life, but on this album we get to see a snapshot, her downfall and her plotting a devious plan for revenge.

The Downfall of Judith King

What is the message you are trying to give with “The Downfall of Judith King”?

I don’t really have a message for ‘The Downfall of Judith King’. As I’ve mentioned, from a lyric stand point I prefer the story/flash fiction style themes, but I think the message that I would like to put across is, ‘if you have a vision or want to try something, just do it’. The Spectre Beneath was born out of wanting to try something with the songs I had, trying something differently vocally, trying something conceptually different with the Judith King idea. This is our debut album, it was recorded by three people on a budget that was essentially a shoe string. If we can create ‘The Downfall of Judith King’ with limited resources then, speaking to all musicians in similar situations, have courage in your convictions and make the best with what you have at your disposal.

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

I jam on the guitar and play around with ideas, recording on my computer the ones which catch my ear. After several days I’ll listen back to all the ideas and those which still catch my ear will be developed upon. I try those ideas with other riffs or chord sequences that naturally follow on and then leave them for another couple of days. I then come back to them, and if they still sound good, I create a basic song and mix it down. I then listen to it while doing other things such as walking the dog and this gives me an indication of what works and what doesn’t. I then go back to the track, make any necessary tweaks, do another mix down and follow that whole process again until I have a track I’m pleased with. This can take anything from a week to several months with dozens of early demos littering my computer and phone, each one with a higher number at the end of it, for example, ‘Fragmented v8’ and so on.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes it is. Album structure is a fine art in my opinion. For me, an album should have peaks and troughs, fast parts, slow parts but all presented in a way that it never turns the listener off. Too many blasters in a row might wear a listener down, likewise if all the slow tracks were placed together. Balance is the key and having the faith to know when the listener needs picking up after a slower number or to take a breather after an aural assault or even showcase what the band is capable after a couple of more simpler songs. I think the biggest influence on how I approach songs and albums is Overkill’s ‘The Years of Decay’. For me, it is a perfect blueprint of writing a diverse but credible album. It’s a superbly balanced album, no two songs on that album sound alike but they’re all totally Overkill. In my opinion, this is a skill that’s very difficult to master. It’s not my favourite Overkill album, that’s ‘Horrorscope’, but from a structure, balance and creative aspect, ‘The Years of Decay’ is a masterpiece.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

I had only finished an album by my other band, ‘Plague and the Decay’, in January 2019, and the tail end of 2018 was spent working on that, so starting The Spectre Beneath while the ‘Plague and the Decay’ album was being completed did not seem to be the best time to take on another project. In the end, the situation helped because it meant I could keep working on refining the tracks over a longer period of time. After I had come up with the Judith King idea, I thought it would be a prudent idea to structure the album in a similar way to Coheed and Cambria where they have a theme at the tail-end of an album in several parts. Because The Plotting of Judith King and then the Abduction and Questioning of Olivia Soams all narratively follow on from each other, it made sense to close the album with that trilogy.

How long “The Downfall of Judith King” was in the making?

A couple of songs, ‘Fragmented’ and the title track were written about six years ago, the others a couple of years after that but the decision to put them altogether into ‘The Downfall of Judith King’ was made March 2018, but, due to availability, demoing the tracks was not started until December 2018. The album then took eight months to record and mix.

Pete Worrall

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

I grew up on Iron Maiden. I remember liking metal’s breakthrough songs in passing on TV and the radio, but it wasn’t until my friend gave me a copy of Iron Maiden’s ‘Number of the Beast’ that I became hooked. Listening to the opening track, Invaders, was like the flicking of a switch. I just loved the energy, the pace, the musicianship. Looking back, it was one of those moments where my life changed forever, that’s what metal does. I’ve always had a love for the faster elements of Iron Maiden and metal in general, so embracing Megadeth and Helloween was not a huge step and I could not get enough of the dual axe attack, the twin harmonies, the solo trading. I still love it to this day, anyone who listens to ‘The Downfall of Judith King’ will attest to this as the album is littered with those types of guitar breaks.

Even though Savatage’s early albums only had one guitar player, Criss Oliva, the guitar work, Jon Oliva’s raspy vocal style and the huge metal anthems such as ‘Beyond the Doors of the Dark’ and ‘Gutter Ballet’ was an instant draw for me. In fact, I have to admit, the last third of ‘The Plotting of Judith King’ is straight out of the Savatage handbook. I also liked the fact that a lot of their songs, similarly with Iron Maiden and Dio, were short stories, flash fiction so to speak. So, when I heard Queensryche’s Operation: Mindcrime for the first time, I was transfixed, which is why ‘The Downfall of Judith King’ has songs that are both conceptually linked and stand along songs about Mrs Lovett and her delicious pies or someone who is spied upon by an AI via a shelf of dolls.

Add to the above an overdose of great female fronted bands such as Unleash the Archers, A Sound of Thunder, Love Bites, Frozen Crown and Unlucky Morpheus, acts that showcase what impressive things can be achieved with female vocals in metal, then you end up with the blueprints for The Spectre Beneath.

What is your view on technology in music?

I sit on the fence. Technology is invaluable for me in regards to the creative process. When you record digitally, within seconds you can edit your ideas to the nth degree, try riffs and passages in different places in the song and then press ctrl ‘z’ to put it back as it was. Cutting down songs is much easier in this format, it’s certainly a far cry from the 4-track recorder I used to use where I had to re-record the whole song or passage again just to see if an idea would work. In regards to the creation of music, technology gives people like me wonderful tools to be more prolific and be able to refine ideas with greater ease.
However, I don’t like it when technology takes over, when it makes the music sound manufactured or too precise. I’m fairly old-school in this regard, I do like rawness of metal, it’s ‘Do It Yourself’ mentality and I think technology can dilute this and rob a band of its unique sound because it’s too easy to select a preset. As long as technology doesn’t take over the ‘human’ element and is used as a tool to get the best out of that human element, then I think this generates the best results.

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

With ‘The Downfall of Judith King’ it really was a case of, ‘getting the best results with what we had to hand’ and, in my opinion, it turned out really well. I think this is a very useful motto to have in life and I hope our music reminds people that it’s not what resources you’ve got, it’s what you do with them that matters.

What are your plans for the future?

I have the next two albums planned out and most of it is already written with an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ mentality, and I’d like to have one of them out next year. After those two albums I’d like to tell the full Judith King story. I already have about half of it written. It’s a little more progressive and more akin to songs such as ‘The Questioning of Judith Soams’ and ‘The Plotting of Judith King’. It’d be nice to squeeze some live performances in as well at some point but we’ll need some more members for that.

Aside from that, I would love to write a death metal album because I have a huge soft spot for the genre. I love the riffs, the intensity and the brutal vocals. I’m currently listening to Izegrim and if I can create something that comes anywhere close to them, I’d be more than happy. I hope to start writing it in the new year.

Get ‘The Downfall of Judith King’ from Bandcamp, and follow The Spectre Beneath from Facebook.

The post THE SPECTRE BENEATH: Modern but Uncompromising appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/news/sons-of-apollo-goodbye-divinity-video/
Sons of Apollo—former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force)—are ready to ring in the new decade with a sonic boom with their second studio album, appropriately titled, MMXX (pronounced: 20/20).

Produced by The Del Fuvio Brothers (Portnoy and Sherinian), MMXX will be released on the 17th January 2020 via InsideOutMusic/Sony as a standard CD package, Limited Edition 2 CD package (which includes instrumental mixes and a cappella excerpts), 2 LP + CD package, and on all digital formats.

Today they launch the Vicente Cordero-directed video for the album’s lead single, “Goodbye Divinity.” Watch it below.

Mike Portnoy comments: “From the minute we finished writing ‘Goodbye Divinity,’ I knew we had our album opener and the first release off the album. I even remember posting on social media how excited I was about the song the day I tracked it! The song has an immediacy that grabs you right away: great riffs, flashy playing and hooky vocal melodies. All of the elements that make up the SOA sound. The video was directed by Vicente Cordero who I have now done over 20 music videos with, and its look helps catapult the band from the Greek mythological past of the last album into the 21st century with this new album.

Pre-orders are available from today, with digital pre-orders on iTunes & Amazon receiving an immediate download of “Goodbye Divinity.” Pre-order now here: https://soa.lnk.to/MMXX

U.S. fans can pre-save the album on streaming services and be in with a chance of winning digital subscriptions to Modern Drummer and Bass Player magazines, a signed REMO drumhead, and two tickets to an upcoming U.S. tour date. Head here to enter: https://soa.lnk.to/Pre-Save

Stylistically, we have followed the same path as the debut,” outlines drummer Mike Portnoy. “But we feel that it has come out stronger, simply because we know one another better. ‘Psychotic Symphony‘ was the first time the five of us had worked together, so there was bound to be an air of experimentation happening. Now, we can draw on having the experience not only of recording that album, but also of touring together a lot. And now there is clearly a lot more obvious chemistry going on.

We did 83 shows on the last tour,” adds keyboardist Derek Sherinian. “And it was so worthwhile, because we came out of it with a stronger bond, and that is certainly reflected in what we wrote.

The writing process began at the start of the year, as Portnoy, Sherinian and guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal got together. “The three of us were at my home studio in Pennsylvania,” explains Portnoy. “And it took about three weeks to get all the music written. That was a very smooth process. The last time, it certainly must have felt a little weird for Bumblefoot to be writing with Derek and me, because we were strangers to him. Now, we know one another better and that helped things push along.

Because we all have our home studios, it meant everyone could record there as and when they had opportunity,” continues Sherinian. “We all had the luxury of being able to take our time to get all the parts done, which was a huge help in the way the album’s come out. I suppose in all, it took about eight months to record everything.

There are eight tracks on MMXX, with variations in length totalling 60 minutes. “The final song is ‘New World Today, which is 16 minutes long,” says Portnoy. “This one has elements similar to ‘Opus Maximus’ and ‘Labyrinth’ on the previous album. It has some insane, brilliant instrumental moments, which I am sure the fans will love.

We wanted to do something epic here, as we did with ‘Opus Maximus’ last time around,” adds Sherinian. “You have to remember that Mike and I come from Dream Theater, where we never bothered about how long a song was. So, for us doing a 16 minute track is not a problem.

Here’s the track listing for MMXX:

1. Goodbye Divinity (7:16)
2. Wither To Black (4:48)
3. Asphyxiation (5:09)
4. Desolate July (6:11)
5. King Of Delusion (8:49)
6. Fall To Ascend (5:07)
7. Resurrection Day (5:51)
8. New World Today (16:38)

Sons of Apollo - MMXX

The album title was inspired by a simple chronological fact. “This will be released in mid-January 2020,” says Portnoy. “That means it will be one of the first releases in what is a new decade. So I came up with the idea of calling it ’2020,’ except having it written in the Latin form of ‘MMXX.’” And the album’s artwork has been created by Thomas Ewerhard (who was responsible for the cover design of Psychotic Symphony), which inevitably reflects the title. As Portnoy explains, “For the first record, we had a mythological feel. This time around though, there’s a much more futuristic style to what we’ve got. It has a very 21st century appeal. And the band crest is more polished, cleaned up and a lot more modern than last time, when it had an old fashioned look.

Each member of this band has their own signature sound on their instrument,” adds Sherinian. “And when you put all of this together what you get is a wonderful five-headed beast. It makes this a sonically special band, which is definitely what comes across on ‘MMXX.’ You can hear odd time signatures and amazingly crazy performances here. Overall, we’ve been satisfyingly more adventurous this time than we were before, and I know people are sure to love what we’ve done.

In touring news, the band’s headlining “MMXX World Tour” will launch January 23rd in Sacramento, CA, and will take them around the world throughout the new year. They have also just announced European tour dates for March 2020, and you can find those below:

North America 2020

Thu 1/23            Sacramento, CA            Crest Theater
Fri 1/24             Pomona, CA                 The Glass House (https://bit.ly/2H8kNxY)
Sat 1/25            Los Angeles, CA           The Roxy (https://bit.ly/2H8aLNb)
Sun 1/26           San Francisco, CA        The Fillmore (https://bit.ly/31FYAPj)
Tue 1/28            Salt Lake City, UT          The State Room (https://bit.ly/31D8P7e)
Wed 1/29          Denver, CO                   The Oriental Theater (https://bit.ly/2Z5QC4s)
Fri 1/31             St. Charles, IL               Arcada Theater (https://bit.ly/30igOGu)
Sat 2/1              Battle Creek, MI             The Music Factory (https://bit.ly/31IwXVQ)
Sun 2/2             Toronto, ONT.               Mod Club (https://bit.ly/2Z8OuJ8)
Mon 2/3            Montreal QUE.              Corona Theater (https://bit.ly/2KF9eyU)
Wed 2/5            Boston, MA                  Paradise Rock Club (https://bit.ly/2N2rMMx)
Thu 2/6             New York, NY               Gramercy Theater (https://livemu.sc/2KHNN1r)
Fri 2/7               Jim Thorpe, PA             Penn’s Peak (https://bit.ly/2TLMy4w)
Sat 2/8              Englewood, NJ             Bergen PAC (https://bit.ly/31MKyM7)

Europe 2020

Sat 2/29            Germany                                   TBA
Mon 3/2            Drammen, Norway                     Union Scene
Tue 3/3             Gothenburg, Sweden                 Traedgarn
Thu 3/5             Kyiv, Ukraine                             N.A.U Theatre
Sat 3/7              Moscow, Russia                        RED
Sun 3/8             St Petersburg, Russia                Aurora
Tue 3/10            Pratteln, Switzerland                  Z7
Wed 3/11          Milan, Italy                                Live Club
Fri 3/13             Bilbao, Spain                            Santana 27
Sat 3/14            Barcelona, Spain                       Razzmatazz 2
Sun 3/15           Madrid, Spain                           La Riviera
Tue 3/17            France                                      TBA
Wed 3/18          France                                      TBA
Thu 3/19            London, U.K.                            Islington Assembly Hall
Fri 3/20             Eindhoven, Netherlands             Prognosis Festival
Sun 3/22           Show Brno, Czech Republic       Sono
Tue 3/24            Kosice, Slovakia                       Colosseum
Wed 3/25          Budapest, Hungary                    Barba Negra

Cover photo by Hristo Shindov

The post SONS OF APOLLO Launch Video For “Goodbye Divinity” appeared first on Prog Sphere.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/news/sons-of-apollo-goodbye-divinity-video/
Sons of Apollo—former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force)—are ready to ring in the new decade with a sonic boom with their second studio album, appropriately titled, MMXX (pronounced: 20/20).

Produced by The Del Fuvio Brothers (Portnoy and Sherinian), MMXX will be released on the 17th January 2020 via InsideOutMusic/Sony as a standard CD package, Limited Edition 2 CD package (which includes instrumental mixes and a cappella excerpts), 2 LP + CD package, and on all digital formats.

Today they launch the Vicente Cordero-directed video for the album’s lead single, “Goodbye Divinity.” Watch it below.

Mike Portnoy comments: “From the minute we finished writing ‘Goodbye Divinity,’ I knew we had our album opener and the first release off the album. I even remember posting on social media how excited I was about the song the day I tracked it! The song has an immediacy that grabs you right away: great riffs, flashy playing and hooky vocal melodies. All of the elements that make up the SOA sound. The video was directed by Vicente Cordero who I have now done over 20 music videos with, and its look helps catapult the band from the Greek mythological past of the last album into the 21st century with this new album.

Pre-orders are available from today, with digital pre-orders on iTunes & Amazon receiving an immediate download of “Goodbye Divinity.” Pre-order now here: https://soa.lnk.to/MMXX

U.S. fans can pre-save the album on streaming services and be in with a chance of winning digital subscriptions to Modern Drummer and Bass Player magazines, a signed REMO drumhead, and two tickets to an upcoming U.S. tour date. Head here to enter: https://soa.lnk.to/Pre-Save

Stylistically, we have followed the same path as the debut,” outlines drummer Mike Portnoy. “But we feel that it has come out stronger, simply because we know one another better. ‘Psychotic Symphony‘ was the first time the five of us had worked together, so there was bound to be an air of experimentation happening. Now, we can draw on having the experience not only of recording that album, but also of touring together a lot. And now there is clearly a lot more obvious chemistry going on.

We did 83 shows on the last tour,” adds keyboardist Derek Sherinian. “And it was so worthwhile, because we came out of it with a stronger bond, and that is certainly reflected in what we wrote.

The writing process began at the start of the year, as Portnoy, Sherinian and guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal got together. “The three of us were at my home studio in Pennsylvania,” explains Portnoy. “And it took about three weeks to get all the music written. That was a very smooth process. The last time, it certainly must have felt a little weird for Bumblefoot to be writing with Derek and me, because we were strangers to him. Now, we know one another better and that helped things push along.

Because we all have our home studios, it meant everyone could record there as and when they had opportunity,” continues Sherinian. “We all had the luxury of being able to take our time to get all the parts done, which was a huge help in the way the album’s come out. I suppose in all, it took about eight months to record everything.

There are eight tracks on MMXX, with variations in length totalling 60 minutes. “The final song is ‘New World Today, which is 16 minutes long,” says Portnoy. “This one has elements similar to ‘Opus Maximus’ and ‘Labyrinth’ on the previous album. It has some insane, brilliant instrumental moments, which I am sure the fans will love.

We wanted to do something epic here, as we did with ‘Opus Maximus’ last time around,” adds Sherinian. “You have to remember that Mike and I come from Dream Theater, where we never bothered about how long a song was. So, for us doing a 16 minute track is not a problem.

Here’s the track listing for MMXX:

1. Goodbye Divinity (7:16)
2. Wither To Black (4:48)
3. Asphyxiation (5:09)
4. Desolate July (6:11)
5. King Of Delusion (8:49)
6. Fall To Ascend (5:07)
7. Resurrection Day (5:51)
8. New World Today (16:38)

Sons of Apollo - MMXX

The album title was inspired by a simple chronological fact. “This will be released in mid-January 2020,” says Portnoy. “That means it will be one of the first releases in what is a new decade. So I came up with the idea of calling it ’2020,’ except having it written in the Latin form of ‘MMXX.’” And the album’s artwork has been created by Thomas Ewerhard (who was responsible for the cover design of Psychotic Symphony), which inevitably reflects the title. As Portnoy explains, “For the first record, we had a mythological feel. This time around though, there’s a much more futuristic style to what we’ve got. It has a very 21st century appeal. And the band crest is more polished, cleaned up and a lot more modern than last time, when it had an old fashioned look.

Each member of this band has their own signature sound on their instrument,” adds Sherinian. “And when you put all of this together what you get is a wonderful five-headed beast. It makes this a sonically special band, which is definitely what comes across on ‘MMXX.’ You can hear odd time signatures and amazingly crazy performances here. Overall, we’ve been satisfyingly more adventurous this time than we were before, and I know people are sure to love what we’ve done.

In touring news, the band’s headlining “MMXX World Tour” will launch January 23rd in Sacramento, CA, and will take them around the world throughout the new year. They have also just announced European tour dates for March 2020, and you can find those below:

North America 2020

Thu 1/23            Sacramento, CA            Crest Theater
Fri 1/24             Pomona, CA                 The Glass House (https://bit.ly/2H8kNxY)
Sat 1/25            Los Angeles, CA           The Roxy (https://bit.ly/2H8aLNb)
Sun 1/26           San Francisco, CA        The Fillmore (https://bit.ly/31FYAPj)
Tue 1/28            Salt Lake City, UT          The State Room (https://bit.ly/31D8P7e)
Wed 1/29          Denver, CO                   The Oriental Theater (https://bit.ly/2Z5QC4s)
Fri 1/31             St. Charles, IL               Arcada Theater (https://bit.ly/30igOGu)
Sat 2/1              Battle Creek, MI             The Music Factory (https://bit.ly/31IwXVQ)
Sun 2/2             Toronto, ONT.               Mod Club (https://bit.ly/2Z8OuJ8)
Mon 2/3            Montreal QUE.              Corona Theater (https://bit.ly/2KF9eyU)
Wed 2/5            Boston, MA                  Paradise Rock Club (https://bit.ly/2N2rMMx)
Thu 2/6             New York, NY               Gramercy Theater (https://livemu.sc/2KHNN1r)
Fri 2/7               Jim Thorpe, PA             Penn’s Peak (https://bit.ly/2TLMy4w)
Sat 2/8              Englewood, NJ             Bergen PAC (https://bit.ly/31MKyM7)

Europe 2020

Sat 2/29            Germany                                   TBA
Mon 3/2            Drammen, Norway                     Union Scene
Tue 3/3             Gothenburg, Sweden                 Traedgarn
Thu 3/5             Kyiv, Ukraine                             N.A.U Theatre
Sat 3/7              Moscow, Russia                        RED
Sun 3/8             St Petersburg, Russia                Aurora
Tue 3/10            Pratteln, Switzerland                  Z7
Wed 3/11          Milan, Italy                                Live Club
Fri 3/13             Bilbao, Spain                            Santana 27
Sat 3/14            Barcelona, Spain                       Razzmatazz 2
Sun 3/15           Madrid, Spain                           La Riviera
Tue 3/17            France                                      TBA
Wed 3/18          France                                      TBA
Thu 3/19            London, U.K.                            Islington Assembly Hall
Fri 3/20             Eindhoven, Netherlands             Prognosis Festival
Sun 3/22           Show Brno, Czech Republic       Sono
Tue 3/24            Kosice, Slovakia                       Colosseum
Wed 3/25          Budapest, Hungary                    Barba Negra

Cover photo by Hristo Shindov

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