TRYTAN: Blood of Kings

Soundtrack To Our Times

Farewell to (the Blood of) Kings

In 1975, Rush, after the completion of the Caress of Steel tour (a total disaster from a commercial/financial standpoint), stood on the brink of irrelevance and dissolution. Of course, as many reading this already know, the band almost called it quits. But instead of giving in to the worldly, commercial pressures decided to write an even more outrageous record (2112) … and the rest, as they say, is history (and ultimately His story). (2112 is 21 forwards and backwards and here we are in ’21 for what its worth).

In many ways, Trytan (absent from the global music scene for 30 years) are doing a similarly kind of crazy thing (admittedly, with drastically different motives) coming back from near extinction with a new release this many years later. Where Rush humbly stayed true to their musical calling, Trytan (Lary Dean) have stayed true to their spiritual calling.

And while Rush was throwing up a proverbial finger to the music industry at the time (for “just” reasons) with their innovative and progressive sounds, Dean and friends are pointing that finger straight up to the Lord and Savior to this ailing world with plenty of wisdom, discernment and direction, using a big ole’ can of musical credibility and whoop-ass shred to garner your attention along the way!

Progressive Metal Soundtrack

Quite simply, Blood of Kings is a soundtrack to our current lives – these songs addressing issues that are so palpably relevant to every human on this planet at this very point in time that to ignore or dismiss their importance would imply that you are either dead … or a “monster?”

And if you don’t think this album is a radical push against the current “norm” based on the lyrical content alone, then just look at these song durations. When the shortest song on the album is 5 minutes and 18 seconds then you know you are likely listening to progressive rock/metal. I mean, come on, the average listening span these days is like, what, 3 minutes, if that?

Fortunately, with both style and content, long-time fans will be similarly relieved to know that Trytan sounds like Trytan – just older, wiser … and better. I would push that even a bit further and state that not only has Lary clearly aged well – the guitar work is mesmerizing – he has some really great help this time around. I mean, when you are attempting to make a statement and get the attention of the world with heavy music it’s never a bad idea to employ the likes of Jim LaVerde (Barren Cross). And what about this guy Eric Gillette? Seriously, like what can’t he play or produce?

These songs may not be quite as extreme as X-treme sports, but they are nevertheless extremely good … relentlessly so.

The Music

“The Descender” is a huge lead-off track filled with drama (sound-bytes) and urgency. The sound is massive, filled with these impressive riffs, guitar leads/solos, keyboard wizardry and speedy drumming. “A Million Hearts” is more straight-up melodic rock, but the intensity persists as this one powers on with plenty of pace. It is quite apparent early on that the guitar leads and solos make a statement – Dean has been doing a lot of wood-shreddin’ in the past 3 decades because he has surpassed his previous efforts with seriously fast/intricate/creative fretwork.

And then comes the title track … spilling the “Blood of Kings.” This track is insanely good … the keyboards impeccably placed to perfectly accent the tone of the message. This one has a distinctively “Euro power metal” vibe, reminding me just a bit of early years Seventh Avenue (in a good way). The vocal melodies just soar. One could easily categorize this song as progressive/power metal, the speed and shred on drums, keys and guitars so mesmerizingly brilliant that you almost get so lost in the instrumental supremacy that you forget this is evangelical rock.

“Monsters” … yet another shred-fest on drums and guitars. This song has some serious pace … and Eric Gillette tears it up on drums. For those who love the complexity of powerful drumming found in progressive metal, this song will hold your attention repeatedly. I really don’t think I can name a song where Eric just pounds out the grooves more relentlessly … and then there is this middle breakdown section with the ethereal keys/synths. Said this … the drumming in this song is monstrous! And the tribute to Rush outro is simply brilliant!

Oh, but don’t stop there. “Last Night in Dubai” doesn’t take the pedal off the metal. A tribute to X-treme sports competitors, this track is smoking molten. Once again, the hand speed of Gillette is all over this song, constantly pushing the tempo matched by Dean’s relentless guitar leads.

“Ricochet” has a more commercial rock appeal, slowing down the shred just a bit. I love the melodic guitar solo which perfectly complements the vocal melody. Even though this song is just a bit less “metal” there is this constant urgency in the drumming that just propels this song all the way. Once again, these keyboard sounds are simultaneously “retro-80’s” and wonderfully complementary to the melodies. This song feels very Rush to me. Great songwriting on this one.

“Centrifuge” is a song which once again uses “news clips” to chronicle the tale of societal demise. Musically, this is mid-paced rock with plenty of passion and precision.

“Shadow Racer” is probably the most retro-Trytan song on the album – like it easily could have been a track on Celestial Messenger. Sharp and crisp in presentation, it definitely has that ‘80’s vibe (in a good way).

The deep track of this album, “Yesterday” explores a more balladic approach … well, at least to the intro. Then things kick into gear as the frenetic pace carries this song well over into the power metal territory. Forget about yesterday, just enjoy this today!

As if at this point you haven’t been convinced of the instrumental prowess on this album … there is “The Godstorm.” Ethereal synths meet sublime guitar shred. Nuf’ said. And in case that isn’t enough to get you down on your knees, praise out the album with “The Revelation Song.” Rey Parra, John Elefante and Eric Gillette on vocals … are you serious? Wow! Beautiful!

The Words

But as great as the music is – I could obviously talk about it all day – the truth in the lyrics is what we need.

Visceral. Reality. Truth.

“He came down stepped into time and blew our death away/When He comes back He wants us to be ready for that day.” – “The Descender”

“You better get down on your knees/And really count your cost/Then reach in the fire and bring them to the cross.” – “A Million Hearts”

“The tempers flare and some lines are crossed/They don’t know what to do, they don’t realize/That they’re trying to kill the truth – “Blood of Kings”

“Two can fight a battle, strong but he’s alone in you/The light floods in and shows the beast in truth, its you!” – “Monsters”

“If I knew then what I know now, I’d take some time/Burn your marks of love inside my mind” – “Last Night in Dubai”

“Life is like a bullet from a gun/A breath you feel and then its done” – “Ricochet”

“This life’s a force that breaks us down/And what’s inside is coming out” – “Centrifuge”

“We cannot make it on our own/He is the One that leads us home.” – “Shadow Racer”

“Does pain really fade away? … I’m torn and wrecked inside, cause I can’t erase their cries from their head no more … I hear you whisper in my heart/Forget about yesterday” – “Yesterday”

“Holy is our God, Holy is our God, Almighty!”

The only, only, only critical thing you can say about Blood of Kings is that Lary sounds too much like Geddy Lee … but is that really, really, really, a bad thing? If you are going bald or if you love Aerosmith, maybe so. In the proverbial words of X-Sinner – “We are the ones who need, gotta get it, get it, get it!”

Live, fight, love … but be ready to go home.

The CD version of Blood of Kings comes with a beautiful 16-page booklet with lyrics and extensive liner notes from Lary Dean on each song. Retroactive adds the icing on the cake with a silver foil trading card (#21).

Track Listing:

1. The Descender (7:36)

2. A Million Hearts (6:06)

3. Blood of Kings (9:16)

4. Monsters (8:30)

5. Last Night in Dubai (5:18)

6. Ricochet (7:46)

7. Centrifuge (7:44)

8. Shadow Racer (6:34)

9. Yesterday (6:21)

10. The Godstorm (7:10)

11. Revelation Song (7:03)

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