OK, we all know that the Necronomicon, the Book of the Dead, is a fictional grimoire known to summon the Evil Dead and occasionally bites hands. So, will listening to Electronomicon summon some electronic evil to haunt the world? Well, I’m still here and haven’t turned into some techno monster. No, Electronomicon invokes electric guitar-fueled heavy metal, owing much to Dio and Judas Priest. Ash Williams would absolutely love this music.
If you’re lost, that’s OK. Just catch up on the Evil Dead and its spinoffs. The point is, The Age of Lies is a stellar album for any fan of traditional heavy metal. It’s hard and heavy while still plenty melodic with more accessible songs like “Welcome to My Life“.
For this review, we got some inside access into the album from the drummer, Owen Bryant. The Age of Lies is a concept album, but rather than being story-focused (although there is a story to it), it’s really more an exploration of life from the perspective of someone suffering mentally. The character finally overcomes his struggles through faith. It’s a rollercoaster, but worth the ticket to ride.
As with many of the better concept albums, music’s ability to evoke feelings, moods, and empathy are the primary story-telling tools. The efforts of everyone in Electronomicon come together to create a powerful, relatable, and kick-ass album. The contributors include the aforementioned Owen Bryant (drums, piano, synth, lyrics, songwriter) in addition to Alex Emerson (lead, rhythm, and acoustic guitars, songwriter), Diego Valdez (vocals, lyrics, songwriter), and Diego Rodriguez (bass, songwriter).
There are 14 songs on this bad boy, and most you’ll have to discover yourself. However, a few standouts deserve mention.
“The Age of Lies” kicks off the album and sets the tone with a long, orchestral intro that makes it clear this isn’t a butterflies and rainbows kind of album. The track itself is really well layered with the orchestration blending smoothly into some sweet riffs from Alex Emerson and Trevor Johanson. The subject is going mad due to an age of lies, filled with divisiveness and propagated by social media. Given the time frame of the album release, it’s a time when facts are shrugged off as opinion and where one faction lies in the name of political correctness, while another lies in the name of a conman. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy.
The first time I heard “Welcome to My Life” it felt like a Dio song, not just based on the vocal style, but in the overall song structure. Over several listens, I’ve definitely settled on it as my favourite song on the album. From Bryant‘s notes, the protagonist is considering suicide here. The upbeat approach stands in sharp contrast to the subject, a loss of hope. It’s really well done and leads in perfectly to the following song, “Afterlife” where he seeks spiritual guidance. These two songs combined form a powerful core for the rest of the album.
The best a concept album can hope for is to create a genuine emotional response to the music. With the instrumental “Tempest“, the band crushes it. Each person who hears an instrumental takes something different away from it, but I’m sure they’ll all be feelings of solitude and contemplation. The song placed in the middle of the album sets the emotional tone and serves to hold each half together. I wish I was listening on vinyl because I feel like this would wrap up the first side one perfectly.
On the proverbial backside, a couple of gems shine: “The Song of Hate” and “Venom“. They’re both about the traps that social media sets, especially for those already on the brink of depression or other issues. There’s no doubt that the internet is filled with hate and actively encourages discord rather than discourse. This negativity turns the protagonist into someone he doesn’t want to be and stokes the fires of anger, hate, and hopelessness.
On my first listen I was immediately sucked into the powerful, classic metal of The Age of Lies, but the layered compositions and atmosphere kept me coming back for more. Bryant shared that the album is “about a man and his troubled mind searching for the light.” I found it extremely relatable because I think we’re all trying to stave off the darkness. That’s why hard rock and metal are such great tools, they confront the darkness. The next time you need to open up the Heavy Metal Toolbox, I’d suggest reaching for the Electronomicon.
Also, find more of my CGCM reviews here: Dave Wilks