My interest in hard rock/heavy metal ended around 1988 with the release of Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. The album can’t be faulted for my changing tastes; my age at the time was the likely culprit. Twenty-some years later I still enjoy Iron Maiden and particularly this album, albeit in a nostalgic manner. Hence my attending their Maiden England tour last year that focused heavily on songs from Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.
Upon listening to Please Don’t Die, the forthcoming release from Skeletons in the Piano, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son immediately came to mind. Both albums contain eight songs of progressive rock, bearing the genre’s hallmark of odd time signatures and changes. Aside from these coincidental similarities, Skeletons’ vocalist Elijah Hargrave could be a stand in for Bruce Dickinson if ever needed.
Skeletons in the Piano are hard to define. Perhaps there are other bands post-1988 that reside in today’s hard rock scene that I’m not aware of but listening to Please Don’t Die I discern a mix of the early Seattle (pre-grunge) sound, free jazz, the aforementioned prog rock and country stomp, albeit brief on the middle songs of the album. However, most of these genres have not to date made use of the violin as an eery anchor and at times a counterpoint to the band’s guitar-driven music.
Perhaps the most apt description I can give Please Don’t Die is it’s a modern distillation of composer Richard Wagner’s self-termed “music dramas.” Fusing musical, poetic and dramatic elements into a sound both original and classical in nature, Skeletons in the Piano may belong to a genre all their own. Please Don’t Die certainly lends itself to the theater of the mind. Like Wagner’s operas, Please Don’t Die should be staged as well as heard.
Please Don’t Die will be released digitally on April 20 through iTunes and the band’s label, Magnetic Eye Records. 180 gram vinyl will be available May 11.
Download “Loose Kites in Harbor” which provides the album’s title here.
Teaser video for Please Don’t Die: