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Kayo Dot - Blasphemy CD (album) cover

BLASPHEMY

Kayo Dot

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.82 | 73 ratings

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LakeGlade12
5 stars 4.95 Stars. Avant-Prog at its most accessible

Kayo Dot are a band that have been on a steady rise over the last decade. After hitting rock-bottom in 2012 where they had to produce Gamma Knife on a budget of $0, they have slowly gone up the ranks by getting signed to the Flesher Label, and now the larger Prophecy Productions. The last time they were signed on a bigger label (2008 with Hydra Head) it all began crashing down on themselves, but thankfully this time they have created something that should appeal to a larger market without sacrificing their "Avant-garde" label.

The best description that can be applied to their new album Blasphemy is if their previous albums Hubardo and Plastic house on base of sky had a baby, with a hazy song structure that harkens back to the ill-fated Blue lambancy downward. For those who are not familiar with the band, image a heavy rock band with black-metal flourishes combined with complex 80's synth arrangements and unorthodox song structure. This album has managed to use the key strengths of each of those albums while avoiding the extremes that turned a lot of listeners off. Blasphemy allows moments of intense heaviness and screamed vocals such as that found in Hubardo, however it never becomes a cacophony of sound that overwhelmed many listeners. The 80's synth arrangements are just as tangled as they were in Plastic House, but the rock elements provide a grounding to the sound and give it a greater impact. Lastly the songs are given the freedom to roam off track, but unlike Blue Lambancy there is end destination and storyline to stop the album from losing its way.

As well as learning from their previous albums, Blasphemy has two new features that have never been done on any Kayo Dot (or MOTW) album. The first is the new, dynamic singing style of Toby Driver and the second is the use of modern electronic dance music (EDM) that Toby has explored in his side project Piggy Black Cross. Toby has always been blessed with a very wide vocal range, allowing him to sing at very high and low notes, as well as being able to use harsh metal vocals. However on virtually every album he tends to sing in a consistent manner depending on the song (or segment of a song) being played. On Blasphemy, his vocal range is constantly changing throughout every song, in order to match the constantly shifting sound from the band. This, combined with the use of auto tune on An Eye for a Lie (the masterpiece of the album, or the worst thing they have ever done depending on who you ask) and other songs has proven to be very controversial with the Kayo Dot fan base, who despite being used to the unexpected, were REALLY unprepared for this.

From my perspective Blasphemy seems to be the perfect evolution of the band who is going in the right direction. The song structure of Kayo Dot has always been wild and dynamic, so it makes sense for Toby's voice to follow the same style. The use of auto tune as narration for the character Blasphemy (a demon child who is awoken from her sleep, and then brutally murders everyone on the ship) was a strike of genius, and shows that the band have no limits in what they can create.

Hopefully this album will continue their successful trend so they can continue to increase the scope of their projects. As a final note the deluxe edition is the essential version of the album. It contains electronic/dance versions of the main songs, however the structure of each track was dramatically changed to make them effectively brand new songs. These remixes match very well with the main album, using An Eye for a Lie as the bridge between the EDM and metal sound. To conclude Blasphemy can be ranked as one of Toby and co's strongest albums, while still referencing many of their previous work and moving into new EDM territory. It is a great starting point for those new to the band and in my opinion is only eclipsed by Choirs of the Eye as their key masterpiece.

LakeGlade12 | 5/5 |

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