Bowie experienceDavid Bowie died from liver cancer earlier this year only two days after the release of his critically acclaimed album "Blackstar". However, it took only two seconds before the music industry vultures smelled a business opportunity. They laughed and chuckled: How can we earn easy money with minimum effort? Well, let's see...what do we got in our cupboard? Hmm, why not use the mediocre british copier with the noble name of Laurence Knight. Let him be the useful idiot. On a very good day and with a benevolent interpretation he sounds and looks just like Bowie. The last couple of years Laurence Knight has capitalized on the music of David Bowie through the "Bowie Experience". The vultures seems to have reasoned as follows: Let's exploit the original "Bowie Experience" cover tour. Allegedly, this is "an absolute must-see for all new and old devoted Bowie fans". Naturally, the music industry vultures have strong incentives to exaggerate Laurence Knight's importance and claim to fame in the world. He has "toured in England and abroad". The "famous" Laurence Knight is coming to Sweden in November with "musicians" and a "choir". Allegedly, they are "world class". World class musicians and choir touring in small Swedish county towns in November? Well, it has to be a first time for everything. Read more about the spectacle here (opens in a new window. However, this event wouldn't be possible without ignorant people. In my opinion, people who are planning to attend this spectacle should undergo a minor psychiatric evaluation. I don't know which is worst: the supply or the demand. Probably both. There must be a level in Dante's Inferno for vultures, Laurence Knight and ignorant audience. God forgives...I dont.

 

 

Gathered Blood 960pxLong awaited “Gathered Blood” is released. This is the first album by Sons of Perdition as a four-piece band (the collaborative split album "Fossils" doesn't count). The songs on “Fossils” didn’t mark any sharp turn musically. It’s was more of evolution than revolution. I was really relieved since I believe in gradual change. Change is good - taken in moderation. Sons of Perdition declared earlier that they worked on a dark album and it wasn’t exactly a country album. I wasn’t too worried when I got the chance to pre-listen to the new album. There is a change in focus. Zebulon Whatley has previously said that he seeks new challenges in his songwriting and that he is bored with religious topics and also felt that he had exhausted the subject. Said and done. The religious topics are subdued on the album, but it’s still very dark. The darkness was previously exogenously given. Now the darkness is more or less endogenously given. It comes from within, which makes it even more terrifying. Sons of Perdition is, among other things, known for their spectacular album covers. This cover is no exception. The art work is a drawing by German illustrator Karmazid, which has been colored by Zebulon Whatley. "Gathered Blood" is only available digitally. You can buy it in the format of your choice (even lossless) at Bandcamp, just click on the icon (bottom left).

  

sop expandedThe new album begins with “Mul Nibiru”. I had to do some research. MUL is the cuneiform sign for “star”. “Nibiru” is the Sumerian 12th Planet according to the Cuneiform Sources popularized by pseudoscientist and pseudohistorian Zecharia Sitchin. According to him, the Sumerians knew of an extra planet beyond Pluto, Nibiru a.k.a. Planet X. It passes through our solar system every 3 600 years (the next time will be in the year of 5603) and bring cataclysmic consequences to earth (returning Planet X hypothesis). This is probably how the cataclysm will sound like. According to Zebulon Whatley "It's a curse written in ancient Sumerian. I don't remember what it says and I deliberately destroyed my notes. It was a weird night." The second song “The Opening” seems to be a nod to “Kannibalen von Rotenburg” (see below) although it differs somewhat from the story. The song is brutal with pounding drums and some scattered piano chords. The song contains monotonous chanting “I’m open myself to you” and “I offer myself to you”. The song ends in crescendo “I smother myself in the arms of you”. The third song “A Folk Artist” is almost seamlessly connected to the previous song. It’s hard to notice where the second song ends and where the third song begins. The executive summary: rhythmic drums, liturgical vocals and a choir of 100 000 doomed and restless souls. The fourth song, “The Broadsword”, stand out. It’s one of the best songs on the album. The song has a direct reference to contemporary horror writer Laird Barron’s story “The Broadsword” in his book “Occultation and Other Stories”. The protagonist, Pershing Dennard a retired field surveyor lives in aging apartment building known as the “Broadsword Hotel”. He overhears a conversation which includes murder through the air vents. Someone apparently knows he's listening and the present is, as always, linked to the past. The song begins pompously and the first line is “Hear us sing so sweetly from the cloistered vents and shaft. Up through the throat of the Broadsword Hotel”. The arrangement and instrumentation are impeccable. The slow, moaning and echo-like vocals sounds like if it has been processed through a vocoder over and over again. The fifth song, “Witches”, doesn’t belong to the highlights on the album. “Magicians, witches, crones and bitches” is repeated throughout the song. The song isn’t bad, it's just not very interesting. 

Gathered Blood 960px okoloreradThe sixth song, “A Mouldering Heart”, brings back the slow, epic and dark mood. It has the usual Sons of Perdition trademarks: slow pace, extreme darkness and well-written lyrics. “Like a sickly spider on a web, she ties her veins into a noose”. The seventh song, “No Escape from Dreamland” is an instrumental song with sampled words. The words are emanating from September 11, 1997, when a man claiming to have worked at Area 51 (a.k.a. the Area 51 Caller) called in to Coast to Coast AM (talk show). The radio station was disconnected during the call. This strange circumstance provided fuel for conspirator theorists. Read the story and the transcription here (opens in a new window). Was it “real” (in the sense perceived experiences) or just a crank call? Be that as it may, it’s a spectacular and frantic song. Zebulon Whatley master the difficult art of knitting sampled words and music together (another good example is Psalm of Slumber). The eight song, “The Shunned Ones” is a song with extreme hardness and drone-out tones. The songs ends with: “They have been left behind by the one they sacred and the one whom they maligned”. The ninth song was previously released on debut album “The Kingdom is on Fire”. The title was “Cannibals of Rotenburg” and the running time was only 1.36 minutes. It’s open to interpretation if this really is the same song since there are major differences. The “Gathered Blood” version is a morbid sing-a-long, sung in German, and the running time is 3.34 minutes. It's the gruesome story of Armin Meiwes a.k.a. Rotenburg Cannibal or Der Metzgermeister (The Master Butcher). Meiwes was a computer repair technician who achieved international notoriety for killing and eating a voluntary victim whom he had found via internet. It gives the concept of “mutual consent” a new and deeper meaning. You would be surprised if you knew how many replies he got after posting "looking for a well-built 18- to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed" on the Cannibal Cafe website. What then follows has one fatal ending but many piquant details. If you got the stomach for it you can read about it elsewhere. It’s thoroughly documented. By the way, Armin Meiwes is nowadays a vegetarian. Anyway, you find yourself humming: "Bleib weit weit weg von Rotenburg”. This version outshines the TKIOF version. The tenth song, Lost in the Inner Heavens, is without any doubt the best song on the album. It has all the desirable epic attributes of Sons of Perdition. Zebulon Whatley has a very developed linguistic instinct and furthermore a very rich vocabulary. The lyrics in this song are no exception. This is pure escapism of the highest carat. You want to float in an isolation tank with the song lingering on in the background. The eleventh and last song is “To Call Down the Old Gods”. As always, the closing song of an album concludes what the artists want to say. The closing song should have a close connection to the themes and a scent of the atmosphere of the album. This song ticks in all boxes. “The aperture is opening…”. 

And finally, the overall assessment. Sons of Perdition will not be accused of repeating themselves. I think they have taken their music in a new direction. Not in a completely different direction, but in a slightly different direction. The sound is more dreamy, evocative and experimental compared with the previous albums. It's definitely more varied with hissing, shrieking and cracking sounds and noise, but still coherent (and very dark). And that is a good thing. This is a great album. My only complaint is the non-physical format. The end of time is coming, apparently.      

      

If you click on the icons below they will open in a new window, from left to right: Sons of Perdition's Bandcamp page (where you can buy a digital and eventually a physical copy), Sons of Perdition's Facebook page, Sons of Perdition's Homepage and lyrics for "Gathered Blood".

 

Bandcamp logo
facebook-icon Slackeye Slim 3 home logo3
icon lyrics

 

 

keep-calm-it-will-go-viral SOPToday is a time of real enjoyment for the website. Why? The Sons of Perdition artist page reached 5 000 visitors. Not much by viral standards in most sectors. But in the small gothic country community 5 000 visitors is equivalent to the impact of “Gangnam Style” (Korean rapper Psy’s video hit). The time factor for something viral in the gothic country community is, of course, different. The zero to 5000 leap required exactly 909 days. Sons of Perdition artist page is, by far, the most visited artist page on the site. Many people are drawn to the works of Zebulon Whatley and Sons of Perdition. This website plays a marginal role in exploring and promoting the band, but maybe a few scattered visitors have found their way to them after reading articles, lists and blog entries. Enough of false modesty. What is my claim to fame? Of course, the aforementioned (viral) artist page. This page is mostly visited through organic searches. Read more here (opens in a new window). However, the big picture is made up of details. Below is an enumeration of the tiny bits which have driven web traffic to the artist page. First, Sons of Perdition appears on many lists. You can browse through the lists here (opens in a new window). Second, Sons of Perdition is shrouded in fog. However, there are puzzle pieces here and there. The pseudonym Zebulon Whatley is open to interpretation. Read more here (opens in a new window). Third, the music of Sons of Perdition is dark and powerful. Some of the songs are quite morbid and disturbing, like Psalm of Slumber where the last words from Reverend Jim Jones (infamous for the Jonestown mass-suicide in 1978) can be heard. Read more here (opens in a new window). Fourth, there are two reviews. I’m not a professional reviewer. In fact, I’m not even a mediocre amateur reviewer. This hasn’t stopped me from writing reviews. I have written a review of “The Dissolution Orphans” (despite the fact that it isn’t an album in its own right). Read more here (opens in a new window). I have also written a review of “Fossils”, a collaborative split album by Sons of Perdition and Jaran Hereid (from Norwegian band Yuma Sun). Read more here (opens in a new window). A new album "Gathered Blood" is scheduled to be released 16 September 2016. Fifth, the magnus opus and an important part in the understanding of the artist: the in-depth article about the Trinity album. Read more here (opens in a new window). In this article I unabashedly explore and exploit the darkest corners of Trinity using Zebulon Whatley's archives. A main theme in Trinity is cyclicality. This website started with Sons of Perdition. Zebulon Whatley was the first to notice this website. For this watchfulness the Embassy issued a letter of credence. Read more here (opens in a new window). It's the only letter that has been issued. A letter of credence isn't given to just anyone. On the contrary, it's reserved for the primus inter pares.

 

 

blog hbdywi alt2What are you willing to do to expand your cd collection? Are you ready to go through hell and high waters searching for a missing album, are you ready to engage yourself in activities which could be considered as stalking and, last but not least, are you ready to pay top dollar when it ultimately comes your way? I tick in the first two boxes. To become a successful collector you need a combination of basic social skills and a typical monomaniac disposition. I will come back to the psychology of collecting (the motivating factors for persons who have devoted great amounts of time, money, and energy making and maintaining collections) in a forthcoming blog entry. You need time, space and money to collect cds. A legitimate question arises: do you collect music or objects? For me, the music always comes first. But a cd is an integrated part of the music. Second, the condition of the cd should be as good as possible (at least VG+), but most important of all is the completeness. I'm very reluctant to pay top dollar for a cd (especially when you consider the absurd asymmetric shipping cost of $15 from US to Sweden – read more here - opens in a new window). However, I recently paid $75 for “Songs from a Ghost Town” by Trampled by Turtles. The album isn't their best album and TBT isn't really my favorite band. Actually, not even gothic country music, but perhaps bluegrass. But now I have all their full-length albums. It wasn’t an easy decision to pay $75. This is, by far, the most expensive cd I ever bought. In my defence, their long out-of-print debut album has eluded me for several years. The album is for sale, but ridiculously expensive. I have found it for sale twice at Amazon for $18.99, but “domestic shipping” excluded me from buying it. It took just a couple of minutes before they were sold to some lucky domestic bastard. For a long time I seemed to accept that my TBT collection was going to be incomplete. Or did I? Maybe I just suppressed it. The price level made it easy to suppress. The prices for this particular cd album are, by any standards, quite sick. The lowest price at Discogs is currently $200, at Amazon $196.18 and at Amazon UK £308.37. Who, in their right mind, presses the "buy button" with these prices? The thing that made me pay $75 was the fact that I realized how many albums I have bought dirt-cheap. Many of them are rarities and hard-to-find. In fact, I bought the second album “Blue Sky and the Devil” by Trampled by Turtles for $10.99. It was last sold at Discogs in December 2015 for $100. Eureka, a new rule of conduct for collecting cds: bargains subsidizes over priced items. With this weird logic there's no limit for the expansion of your cd collection. But what did I do when the rare cd finally arrived. Did I gently take it out and hold it in my delicate hands and cherished it? No, I simly put the cd in my record shelves and continued my search for completeness. Maybe cd is just an object after all.

 

  

Spotify artlitenSpotify is that rare combination of up to something and good for nothing. Read my merciless diatribe of this despicaple streaming service here (opens in a new window). I almost exhausted myself and was pretty convinced there was nothing more to say. But no, reluctantly I have to return to this loathsome subject again. The thing that triggered me this time was an "article" in the morning paper (see excerpt to the left). Swedish journalists fall to their knees and their journalistic instincts dissipate into thin air when they come near swedish Spotify. In my opinion, the "article" is similar to paid content. I have to restrain myself not to ridicule Spotify and its employees. The overly "creative" workplace (do you really have any use for a Bobby Car in an office space), the arty-farty paintings on the walls, the dressed-like-Teletubbies employees. In the above-mentioned article a emloyee make a comparison between making Spotify playlists and creating mix tapes in the old days. This clearly shows what he knows. The Teletubbie guy doesn't know anything about the difficult process of making a mix tape (Nick Hornby's book "High Fidelity" contains a good description of its hardships). However, my main criticism is the statement in the article that the Spotify-robots know more about your music taste than you do. Spotify uses 50 000 secret users, robot reading of 30 000 sites and 2 000 000 000 playlists to make music recommendations for you. Don't blame me. I didn't ask for them. Spotify claim that their algorithms can handle anomalies in your listening for example binge listening to One Direction if your kid uses your account. Spotify also claim that machines understand music, which is a contradiction in terms since music is human by its definition (some exceptions exists). The secret users, also called "artificial hipsters", don't know they're being used in the process of making recommendations. The reason behind this is that Spotify suspect that the hipsters might change their already hypersensitive behaviour and will try to be even more hip if they know they are being used in the process. At the moment the artificial hipsters are blissfully unaware of themselves. The process of producing music recommendations is supported by advanced data analysis. The songs are cut up in thousands of little pieces and then tortured by computers back and forth. The result is astonishing. With an accuracy of 90 percent the data analysis can distinguish pop from techno. However, I can safely say that my accuracy rate is 100 percent. Back to the drawing board, Tinky, Winky and Dipsy. Man is too complex to fit in a algorithm. To be honest, it's not how recommendations are created that upsets me, it's recommendations as such. Music recommendations are not always a positive thing. In my opinion, a music recommendation that you haven't asked for is unwelcome in the same way as unwelcome sexual advances. The rule of conduct in a record shop is that the customer asks the staff for music recommendations. I got an unwelcome music recommendation once in a renowned record store in Stockholm. I felt cheap and violated.

 

 

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