Sons of Perdition: "The Kingdom is on Fire"
"The Kingdom is on Fire" and it is both metaphorically and literally. Before I get into the meat and potatoes of this opus I want to talk about the music. The Sons of Perdition have been labeled a "Goth-Country" band. Other bands have been placed in this sub-genre. Those Poor Bastards, Sixteen Horsepower to name a few. I do not understand the need to create these pigeonholes to place these fine artists in. Goth means a style of rock music that is known for somber or ethereal tones and lugubrious lyrics. Minus the words "rock music" isn't that what "real" country music is known for? Isn't that what country music is all about? In that sense we would have to "label" The Louvin Brothers, The Delmore Brothers, and The Carter Family "Goth-Country" as well and that would just be stupid. To create these boxes to understand the type of music you are listening to is narrow minded and not a true fan of music. So, with that out of the way let me tell you all about the masterpiece that the group Sons of Perdition created: "The Kingdom is on Fire"
Sons of Perdition consist of a man who goes by the name of Zebulon Whatley. Which is the best pseudonym since Mark Twain. He plays most the instruments (besides a guest Violinist), does all the singing (except for a special guest) writes all the lyrics, and wrote most of the music (with the exception of the string arrangement in "Burial at Sea"). If you hate the album he gets all the blame.
The album starts off with "This Land is Cursed". Which sounds like Monks chanting for their souls to be saved. With the guitar, bells and the Native American chanting towards the end of the track you can tell that this album will not be for the faint of soul. "The Party" follows it without pause begins with the line: "I swear it was the Wendigo..." Zeb uses the word Wendigo in its true sense and not in some B-rated horror film sense. A Wendigo is a malevolent cannibalistic spirit, which could posses humans. The phrase comes from Algonquian speaking tribes. Wendigo is the embodiment of gluttony. Once possessed by this spirit the person could not just devour only one human. They would continue to eat and eat. The fact the character eats everyone at his party is pure genius. To call it "The Party" means that Zeb put some thought to this. Track three is titled "Anhelo". Anhelo is Spanish for desire or longing. After you listen to the words of the song you know why it is called that. The song is about a man who has served god faithfully his whole life and is asking for a pass if you will to seek revenge. Our hero in this tale even rides a pale horse! This is followed by "There is a Judgment". It is a cautionary tale to all you sinners not to eat a bullet. You will be judge by the Lord accordingly. "Blood in the Valley" is track six and an amazing song. I want you to listen to this song and if you are a churchgoer I want you to go to church next Sunday and scream these lyric to the person in the pew next to you. This is also the song with Lonesome Wyatt who delivers a very Lonesome Wyatt like sermon. It's rather good. At the end of his sermon old man Wyatt screams "Fuck you Satan". Next up is a tale of the sea and woe titled "Burial at Sea". If you like amazing story telling this track is for you and flows well with the album. The characters in this ditty are "Dragged by a Leviathan through a great Cyclopean door" I was blown away the first time I heard it. Zebulon Whatley is not a stupid man by any means. I love the fact the he talks about cyclopean masonry. By the time we reach the mid-point we get to "Cannibals of Rotenburg". If ever in Germany I will not be going there. After this tale Zeb gives us a little Louvin Brothers type song with "All He Wants is My Blood". One of the best damn country songs ever. Now, I can only speculate here but it is my belief that Zeb either grew up southern Baptist or maybe even Assembly of God. I can hear most of these songs as Hymns in either sect. Especially on the second half of the album. "An End to All Flesh" is a cry, nay a plea for the rapture. Our man Zeb holds true to the bible and what is written there in. The following two songs "The Death of a Shuckster" and "The Legend of Saw Jones" are two fine tales that follow in the vane of Tom Waits or Nick Cave. Now I have to pause here because I have seen the Nick Cave tag before on Sons of Perdition. Now, I don't necessarily agree I can here but only because the imagery is so vivid. The imagery is like a Cave song or a Waits song. The album ends with the two tunes "Fall to You Knees" and "I wanna go to Heaven". The first lets you know that "the only door open is not the grave". Fall to you knees and pray to the Lord you fucking heathens. The latter is, well, what Zebulon Whatley wants to do. He wants to go to Heaven. If there is a God and he's been listening to this album Zeb will make it.
Zebulon Whatley has created something real with this album. Something that you and I can feel to our cores. Something Sinner and Saints alike can understand. "The Kingdom is on Fire" is one of the best country albums to come out since the depression era. Zebulon Whatley has pushed the boundaries of what you can do with country music. His lyrics are honest, raw and sometimes frightening. That's what country music is all about! Repent sinners for the time is now.
April 27, 2007
Wayward Souls Productions
Fuck you Satan! (Just kidding, love you buddy)
40oz of Gore