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LONG LIVE DEATH

Prog Folk • United States


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Long Live Death picture
Long Live Death biography
This Baltimore folk communal project was formed in 2002 and whose pagan folk attracted quite a bit of curiosity and the legend has it that group stripped down and played naked in the aisles of the concert hall. Their type of folk rock is very much in the line of the Wyrd Folk movement and their spooky songs usually based on cellos, saws, and post-rock-like ambiances is angst-inducing. Their debut album To Do More Than God . To Die was released on the small specialist label Secret Eye (looking at their roster, LLD fits right in the fold). A second album was released in 2005 called Bound To The wheel and it gathered a bit more attention, but since the start of 2006, the project seems to have been dormant, not least partly due to the death of their member Nathaniel Fowler.



Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Progressive Wyrd Folk



Discography:
To Do More Than God . To Die (2003)
Bound To The Wheel (2005)

Long Live Death official website

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Buy LONG LIVE DEATH Music


To Do More Than God... To DieTo Do More Than God... To Die
none 2011
Audio CD$12.00
$6.00 (used)
Bound to the WheelBound to the Wheel
Secret Eye 2010
Audio CD$15.99
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LONG LIVE DEATH discography


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LONG LIVE DEATH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
To Do More Than God . To Die
2003
3.00 | 2 ratings
Bound To The Wheel
2005

LONG LIVE DEATH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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LONG LIVE DEATH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Bound To The Wheel by LONG LIVE DEATH album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Bound To The Wheel
Long Live Death Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars The second and final CD from Long Live Death is just as mysterious as their first. The band offers few clues as to their influences, inspirations or agenda in the sparse liner notes that don't include much except the names and pictures of the band members and a photo of the rotting corpse of a housecat on the inside cover. Weird.

The vocals are more mature here than on their first EP 'To Do More Than God.. To Die', and Anna Messing's cello work is decidedly more developed. There are no credits so I'm not sure who is doing the singing, but his voice is very much in the indie mode and is punctuated at times by a female I assume to be Messing since she is the only woman in the band photo.

I don't recall piano on the first record but there is some here and it makes for a nice complement to the accordion and drone that is either coming from a theremin, musical saw or both. The themes seem to be mostly about death such as on "Ribbons" ('ribbons made of our skin, we walk with Him') and "Two Voices" ("enjoy the parade marching into our doom, walk now we must we are vanity and dust"). The arrangements are more focused than their earlier work with crisp percussion along with synthesized sounds and guitar that serves a purpose rather than appearing haphazard as with their debut record.

Most of these songs are very short, two or three minutes and not quite fully developed, particularly the title track, "Seven" and the séance-like "Join Us". And speaking séances, "Praise" presents a weird, mellow acid folk rendition of a tribal chant that has all the makings of a cult worship hymn save for the lyrics that speak once again of chaos and death. A could see this one ending up on a b-list horror movie soundtrack someday.

Like the first record this one closes with a longer, rambling and musically ranging piece ("Of One") that seems more like a guitar-driven post-rock song than a progressive folk one except that the requisite crescendos aren't really here. The rolling drum cacophony toward the end blends with frenzied strummed guitar and builds to what seems like it will explode but instead ends rather abruptly with a gong and fade to silence.

I actually like their first record more than this one overall, but this one gets three out of five stars the same as that one in my mind simply because there is a bit more material here and the group has jelled and moved beyond improvisational jabber and into a place where they seem to have a cohesive message, albeit a depressing one.

Recommended to most any prog folk fan, but this band probably has limited appeal beyond that narrow band of interest.

peace

 To Do More Than God . To Die by LONG LIVE DEATH album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.50 | 2 ratings

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To Do More Than God . To Die
Long Live Death Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars Here's a band that has a frenetic sort of indie manner and off-kilter vocals that remind me a lot of the middle period for Cerberus Shoal, along with a compositional style akin to a slightly less talented A Silver Mt. Zion but with more percussion and an accordion, a communal approach to performing not unlike Feathers or the Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree, and a tendency toward seemingly random indie drone (plus whatever sound that is that a theremin makes) which puts them in the same league as the likes of Current 93, Espers and the various permutations of MV & EE.

For the most part it works, but I have to say that this is not a band that newbies are likely to instantly connect with. In fact, it took me several months of listening to their second album before I even ventured out to find the first one, and once again the appeal came slowly and not without the occasional annoyance.

I don't know anything about this band really, except that they originated in the Baltimore, Maryland area of the U.S., appear to have been somewhat cult-like in their makeup, and are almost definitely not around anymore. Their website has been squatted on by some Oriental click-ad agency, there's no evidence of any recording, videos, touring or even updates to their mySpace site since around 2006, and other than cellist Anna Messing showing up as guest vocalist on a Frenemies album none of them seem to have done anything notable in music since the release of their second CD in 2005.

This album (EP really, as there are only six songs with a runtime of barely twenty-five minutes) was first recorded and released independently in 1999. I don't think that version is likely to be in very broad circulation today. The group must have secured a record deal with Secret Eye Records since that label issued their second album and re-released this one, both around 2005. I bought the second CD a while ago but couldn't find either the 1999 or reissue of this one for a reasonable price so I ended up streaming it from their mostly dormant MySpace site.

Like I said the music is a curious blend of post-rock in the Constellation Records vein and a sort of improvisational, freak-folky indie form of the sort that tends to trace back to mildly pretentious art students with only moderate ambition and no hurry to grow up or otherwise put together a stable life of any kind. On the one hand I'm a little jealous but at the same time I don't really miss my own halcyon yet poverty-drenched twenties and am jaded enough to figure they finally got tired of the bohemian lifestyle too.

The band probably made a poor choice with "There is No Death" as the introductory opening song (you only have one chance to make a good first impression, or so my parents always told me back in the day). The hollow yet crisp percussion is seductive and Messing has a creepy level of talent on her eerie cello, but the ad nausea repetition of the lyrics "there is no death" gets tedious and really annoying after a while, and to be honest when I first heard it I blew off listening to the rest of the CD for a couple weeks before deciding to give them another try.

It's a bit difficult to keep track of who is making what sound with this music, as the band employs a few atypical instruments for what is basically freeform freak-folk. A melodica (key flute) which I don't believe I've seen since eighties New Wave died out blends in with the accordion to make the two a bit tough to distinguish from each other. James Sarssgaurd, the same guy who plays melodica is also credited with a musical saw. I've heard these before and know that they can do a pretty good job of parroting flatter string sounds such as those made by cellos, and even get into a sort of harmonic tone that could be mistaken for a theremin, both of which are also used here. The theremin gets a bit overused at times in my opinion, and particularly on the otherwise peacefully pleasant "Bending Time". Or maybe that's the saw, hard to tell. Either way it's a bit much.

"Bits and Bits" has a sort of acoustic acid-folk tone to it that makes me think these guys spent some time spinning the Incredible String Band's 'Wee Tam' and 'The Big Huge' with the same sort of lazy, bard-like vocals and easy-going rhythm offset by loose string forays. A beautiful song and a direction I kind of wish they had explored a little more fully on the rest of this and on their second release.

The CD/EP closes with the lengthy "Patience Through All Worlds" which also calls to mind ISB a bit, specifically that band's tendency to close an album with a long, rambling and thematically disjointed story-song clearly meant to be best understood under a cloud of hazy smoke while sitting in a remote corner of an open-air park with a close friend or maybe your pet cat. Tough to get the full effect in most other settings, but I'm heartened to hear bands are still making this sort of music well into the 21st century.

I really should rate this for collectors only, but it's been quite a while since a band turned me off initially but then brought me around to appreciate their music after a while. Slow- burners get harder to come by as time goes on so another star (three out of five) to the band for managing to pull that off. Well recommended to most prog folk fans and to anyone else who favors music outside the more rigidly-defined metal, traditional prog or neo-prog molds.

peace

 Bound To The Wheel by LONG LIVE DEATH album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Bound To The Wheel
Long Live Death Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

LLD's second album received a greater critical attention than their debut album, but IMHO, this didn't really help the group, because Bound To The Wheel lacks much of the charming spookiness of TDMTG.TD. Although the very worthy successor of TOMTG, the surprise is gone and there is a sense of déjà-vu, and the wiser artwork (on the outside only, though) is just not as inspiring. Actually the album is much more optimistic in its mood, almost happy and seemingly calling out for hope.

Through the excellent Awaken, calling us to feel our deep, inner, long-forgotten beliefs, then the clunky Ribbons, then onto the enthralling stirring Two Voices, with a good catchy verse-chorus and ending in a good drawn out percussive passage, before reaching the very different second part, this album starts well enough. The shameless Join Us was probably designed as the sing- along track during their concerts, at least in its first part.

The second half of the album is less interesting (especially the short title track and the childish Seven), with the exception of We Are Defeated, which benefits from a superb saw and cello layer bed, before going wild in its middle section. Indeed, Praise is another shameless sing-along track, but it was probably a public favourite, but is overly simple to these ears! The closing track Of One is spiritually very close to Espers or Woven Hand , the slow descending line helps out a lot, before gradually speeding up to its apex, just before its end.

 To Do More Than God . To Die by LONG LIVE DEATH album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.50 | 2 ratings

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To Do More Than God . To Die
Long Live Death Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars The least that can be said about LLD's debut album is that it has a real dark, spooky ambiance, Right from the awesome Big drum and its weird eerie chats singing "there is no death" (the track's title) you just know you're in a for a dark sombre almost-evil ride through the group's weird (and Wyrd folk), a bit as if Current 93 was to cover some Cohen tracks. Their weird instrumentation including cello, flute, gong, musical saw, accordion, bells, violin, melodica and vocals make up something you could call gospel-type of music mixed with the dark trad folk (I am thinking of Paul Giovanni's soundtrack music to the film The Wicker Man) is indeed arresting and disturbing.

Other artists that can be cited to seize the mood of this album would be a cross of Woven Hand, Incredible String Band, Espers, Faun Fables, sometimes even Comus. The group loves its eerie moods (perfectly matched by the spooky artwork), haunting melodies (underlined by the spellbinding cello lines on That Summer or Bits And Bits), multi-voiced verses and choruses, and slow drones (often accordion or cello) and a post rock feel! The albums close of the uncanny Patience Through All World where the lovely flute will remind the way Jefferson Airplane used it in some of their songs.

A fairly short album that has the lasting powers and is most likely to strike exactly where you wouldn't expect it. Although not that essential, this debut album is indeed original, often having a post-rock edge even if LLD is rather concise rather stretching the craft out to unreasonable lengths. As a matter of fact, this album is only 26-minutes long. Rounded up to the upper star!

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition.

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