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'The Eight Deaths of Delphinium Gardener' was released independently September 10th, 2013.

‘The Eight Deaths of Delphinium Gardener’ was released independently September 10th, 2013.

Elitists would probably agree that they just don’t make music like they used to, especially in the Progressive Rock arena. Some would say that today’s prog elite is more in to showing off their skill as opposed to using their skill to make good music. Long gone are the days when music possessed the intimacy, the humility, and the raw genuine passion for making music inspired by something else. Fret not; Sigmund Blue is here to fill in the void, no DeLorean required.

Sigmund began as a project between two members but took to full band status with the addition of another member in 1999. Each member recorded their parts separately as the three live in different regions of the United States. Un-phased by such unfortunate circumstances, the trio presented The Eight Deaths of Delphinium Gardener (Eight Deaths) in September of 2013. Eight Deaths is a 1970’s inspired concept album that chronicles the many trials and tribulations encountered by protagonist Delphinium Gardener.

The album opens in spectacular fashion with ‘Overture’, a piano friendly introduction with remarkably familiar melodic trappings. Immediately the goal of the album becomes clear with this “curtains up” instrumental. It is as much of a proclamation of arrival as it is a solid introduction. The melodies that dance throughout the latter stages of the track serve as a perfect lead-in to the track that succeeds it, Charcuterie of Babylon. From then on, Eight Deaths stays the course with a chill-out easy going vibe that serves to put the listener in a state where focusing on the story becomes a natural reflex.

Eight Deaths shakes things up with ‘Can’t Stay’, presenting the first deviation from what the album had previously established as a norm. This is by no means a bad mark on the report card, as the band does well transitioning be a more rock based feel to a song that contains more bounce and pop. After that diversion, the album returns to business as usual until ‘Go Now’. This track is by far the emotional powerhouse of the album. The vocals carry the weight of the songs part in the story with incredible ease and packs enough power to move the listener to tears.

From that point out the journey is much more rocky but the sonic cohesiveness heard earlier in the album remains consistent. The exiting tracks at this point of the album serve as a build up to a climax that sees a rather calm and soothing end melodically. ‘Pod’s Lament’ serves as evidence of this with gusto as there is a stark ramp up in energy. This track sees the band shed the prog rock element for an all out balls to the wall sprint to the finish. It makes the transition to the aptly named album closer ‘Epilogue’ all the more interesting.

The members of SIgmund Blue recorded their parts separately, relying 100% on technology to complete their projects.

The members of SIgmund Blue recorded their parts separately, relying 100% on technology to complete their projects.

The biggest hurdle for this album to overcome, aside from some slightly creepy dialogue in ‘The Meeting’, is the time investment. At 18 tracks and just over an hour and five minutes, there may not be enough meat for the average listener to chew on. Big moments tend to fall flat due to the context of the era that influences the production, but if appreciated properly within said context, it makes for an even bigger set of musical events. Eight Deaths is far out in a good way and all in all, the entire album achieved what it set out to do. Fans of Queen and the Beatles may have something to latch on to here.

Album Picks: Here It Is, Can’t Stay, Go Now, Carbon Copy
Album Skips: The Meeting

Rating: 4 out of 5

Here at Tonedeth we hold Mr. Devin Townsend at quite a high esteem. He’s an incredibly talented singer/guitarist/songwriter/producer/performer/comedian. What can’t you like about this guy? But before he was the unequivocal leader of progressive metal and before he was the weird bald guy from Strapping Young Lad, did you know he used to sing for Steve Vai? Well here is their appearance on the classic Headbanger’s Ball on MTV circa 1993.

Skip to the 3:30 mark to witness the oddity.

Behold! The Mighty Masturbator!

Behold! The Mighty Masturbator!

Miley doing what she does best...making us wish she was still Hannah Montana

Miley doing what she does best…making us wish she was still Hannah Montana

Each year we’re saddled with MTV’s Video Music Awards, and weeks of being inundated with facebook posts, tweets, and all around gossip surrounding much andticipated reunions, outlandish performances, questionable fashion choices, and eye popping outtakes during the popular awards show. The 2013 VMA’s sure did provide much of the same this year, and has already taken the world’s social sphere by the throat. In 1999 the VMAs “blessed us” with America’s breast dressed rapper, 2003’s kiss, and 2009’s infamous interruption. 2013 now has a moment to call it’s own, thanks to former Disney sweetheart Miley Cyrus…cringe with me.

mtv-vma-2013The 20 year old former TV show starlet turned singer/provocateur has been the butt (pun intended) of a fresh new series of memes after her salacious performance Sunday night. Cyrus took the stage in a odd looking bunny leotard with giant stuffed bears that could also seen in her music video. If that wasn’t enough she continued by being joined by singer Robin Thicke to perform the god fucking awful single Blurred Lines, that’s wrapped in it’s own separate little controversy. The performance featured more of Miley’s “twerking” and less clothes as she felt the need to strip down to a flesh colored two peace.

Did I mention the widespread backlash? You know hell has frozen over when sane people can agree with a point made by Rush Limbaugh, but he was not alone in the media backlash. MSNBC’s Mika Brzenzinski went on a long and passionate shaming campaign on the morning show Morning Joe. Will Smith was also captured with his family during the performance…they were not entertained. The story overshadowed the more positive moments of the night including a performance by Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, and Jennifer Hudson championing same-sex marriage. Sadly such things will more than likely take a back seat to the public display of senselessness Cyrus exhibited. Interestingly enough this is a perfect example of the state of the popular music culture. Performances/breakdowns like this are far from over, and there is nothing more appealing to the American public than a front row seat to a train wreck.

EDIT: Huffington Post decided to do some hard nosed investigative reporting into the picture of Will Smith and family and found that it was not as we all previously wanted thought it to be. Thanks, HuffPo.

Like many metalheads their first introduction to metal is the mighty Metallica. And Justice for All was my first taste. It was a great album but what a shame it being the first to be produced after the tragic loss of bassist Cliff Burton. This would have been the first album to feature Jason Newsted but a bass track is mysteriously missing from the album…

But fear not! There are people who love music so much they are willing to improve on music that isn’t theirs. The Metalheads page on facebook posted this earlier and I just had to share it. This album was meant to have some kickass bass! maybe they were still grieving over Cliff’s passing and just couldn’t deal with “replacing” him on this album. But in my opinion it has some of their best tunes.

In an interview with James Hetfield at the 10 year anniversary after the album had come out he said “songwriting-wise, it was just us really showing off and trying to show what we could do. ‘We’ve jammed six riffs into one song? Let’s make it eight. Let’s go crazy with it.’ I listened to some of that stuff, and it’s pretty progressive”. They certainly pushed an envelop and made a fine piece of work, even if it was missing the most important part of a band…..

“Blackened” is the first track on the album and a fantastic lead into a whirlwind of epic riffs. I may have to do a sit down with this album soon, it has been too long. Enjoy and check out the other videos on the page. You can find almost the whole album with added bass tracks. All really quality stuff as well.