Jason Bieler is a godsend, okay? And he’s the gift that keeps on giving on any gloomy day, never mind the shit sandwich of a year that we’re just now barely crawling out of. And more importantly, he’s got a brand new record ready for release called Songs For The Apocalypse and, to be frank, if this is what the apocalypse does indeed sound like then sign us up!
But I digress.
The man responsible for “Love Is On The Way” and a slew of other fantastic Saigon Kick gems has been a fierce force in music in the years since SK became less active on the recording front as evidenced by not only the immense amount of music over on his Bandcamp page (And Spotify as well as other streaming outlets), but also the immense diversity of genres with those recordings.
Not necessarily the pinnacle of those efforts but more of a peak in the middle of a gradual climb continually upward, Songs For The Apocalypse is a delightfully focused slab of sonic catharsis that’s a powerful Prog punch to the earholes. Beginning with “Never Ending Circle”, Bieler channels NIN on this instrumental that’s chaotic yet cathartic and the ultimate welcome mat for the coming …Apocalypse.
“Apology” is where it’s all at, though. A riff-centric beast, the parallels between Bieler’s sound here and that of earlier Devin Townsend albums (Addicted! and Synchestra come to mind) are immense with this especially huge, chunky riffage, staccato drum attacks from Queensryche’s Todd LaTorre with Andee Blacksugar’s (KMFDM, Black Sugar Transmission) guitar solos weaving in and out of the sonic tapestry.
“Bring Out Your Dead” is another surprisingly heavy yet melodic beastie that practically glistens from Bieler’s vocal delivery accompanied by the one and only Dave Ellefson (Megadeth) on bass and a heady heaping of otherworldly guitar from the one and only Devin Townsend. “Annalise” is built from a paranoiaramic (Get it? Paranoia + Panorama=Paraniaramic) place with subtle Middle Eastern nods while “Stones Will Fly” is like the greatest ’80’s arena Rawk anthem never put to tape with Bieler’s layered vox creating even more memorable sing-a-long moments.
“Down In A Hole” has a steady almost Les Claypool kind of rumbling bounce thanks to Kyle Sanders’ bass tones (He of HELLYEAH! fame but also of the underrated and, dare we say, better Medication and Bloodsimple) with Bieler’s pipes mixing it up against the heavy guitar sounds. “Anthem For Losers” brings the twang and a down home feel (“Twanging” courtesy of Clay Cook who also provides the grand piano performance as well as the bass here) and later, “Horror Wobbles The Hippo” is a snarling sonic soliloquy kind of reminiscent of David Bowie’s more Industrial-tinged Jazz elements found within Outside.
Further in, “Beyond Hope” features Skindred/’s own Benji Webbe bringing the Dub to a slow shredder rounded out by Bieler and Webbee trading swooping vocal passages like their life depended on it. “Born Of The Sun” is magnificent modern Prog mixing the worldly elements of a tame Amorphis (Think Tuonela in particular) and Yes with some Saigon Kick DNA embedded deep down as well.
“Baby Driver” is a short, sweet, textured hum of vocal melodies and steady beats then “Alone In The World” is a powerful blast of swirling sounds and Devo-sized vocal melodies (Think their later works with 2010’s Something For Everybody particularly ringing out) with Jeff Scott Soto assisting on vocals and Ricky Sanders bashing away on the drums. “Very Fine People” is your last chance to dance during the …Apocalypse as this waltzing acoustic number tones it back, wrapping up the whole enchilada on a track that combine the Pop sensibilities of “Love Is On The Way” with the epic closing qualities of a song like “Champagne Supernova”.
Songs For The Apocalypse arrives on January 22nd through Frontiers Music s.r.l. Pre-orders are up in a variety of formats now and can be peeped by heading here. For the latest from Jason Bieler, follow the socials here, here, and here.