About Anubis Spire…
Anubis Spire Bio:
Imagine falling asleep in a golden age. Not an age of majestic pyramids and incredible empires but rather an age where individuality and self expression was king. An age when MUSIC had the power to transform and transfix. When varitable demi-gods and Lizard-kings strode the world stage and forever changed the planet with nothing more than poetry, a smouldering Stratocaster or two and the sweet dream of a limitless future. Now, imagine waking to find in it’s place a world hopelessly diminished and shriveled. A world where the powers that be have fostered the negative, self absorbed and impotent notion that NOTHING matters and nothing lasts beyond your momentary attention span. A world of vapid attitude and hollow posturing, where the sheep think they’re the leaders and the leaders take that carefully crafted illusion all the way to the bank. Where fashion dictates the ridiculing and complete disregard of the past. A world with collective selective amnesia, where the mere hint of that former glory brings terror to the puppetmasters and peer disrespect and condemnation. Now,.. imagine having a choice,… to join the flock and cash in, playing the role of the piper even though you know the path leads only to the slaughterhouse door, OR… awaken, pick up where you left off and hope that there are still a few who can hear and understand. A few who have not been permanently deafened to the call of their own hearts and souls…
Take them lightly at your own peril— ANUBIS SPIRE is awake.
>>>>>>>>Taken from BOOK 9-The church of the closed loop
ANUBIS SPIRE was formed new years day 1998 after an chance jam session the night before. Made up of musical veterans who wanted to write and play music in the mid-seventies style of such bands as Led Zeppelin, Mahavishnu Orchestra, etc., the band set about melding it’s various influences and adding a heavy dose of world and ethnic sounds and a 90’s twist to the mix. The debut CD-OLD LIONS(in the world of snarling sheep) was recorded in a barn, on an antiquated 8 track almost entirely LIVE!
OLD LIONS(in the world of snarling sheep) is a mostly instrumental album (4 vocal tunes) that packs over 65 minutes of intense guitar-heavy progressive rock/world fusion improvisation into it’s 15 cuts. What does ANUBIS SPIRE sound like? One reviewer summed them up as: “Progressive rock from Mars, filtered through Atlantis, india and ancient Egypt and sounding kinda like a fistfight between Jimi Hendrix and John McLaughlin at the base of the great pyramid!” We couldn’t agree more!
In the decade since they have released three more albums: BACK TO ABYDOS (2004,) CHILDREN OF A FOREIGN FAITH (2006) and the compilation of previously unreleased and live material, LOST DISCOVERIES 1998-2008 (2008). They are currently recording their new CD-ERRATICA for release this in 2011.
Anubis Spire Articles
ANUBIS SPIRE: What’s respect got to do with it?
By Carol Hamilton
Used with the authors permission. The abbreviated version of this article first appeared in ONZ magazine-issue 4, March 1998
—— Bill MacKechnie, all 6 foot 250 pounds of him, pushes himself across the Random Bullet Studios control room floor in his office chair. He leans close to his ringing answering machine, waits for it to pick up and inches the volume control to a whisper. The female voice on the other end turns out to be another indie magazine writer requesting the new ANUBIS SPIRE CD and promo pack for review. “Damn!”, he smiles, “I’m popular today!” Rolling back to the console and picking up his strat, he adds: “Sure TOOK long enough!”
——- MacKechnie, after many years of recording music that didn’t suit him, finally has his vindication in the guise of his latest endeavor ANUBIS SPIRE, a strange (some would say commercially suicidal) mixture of 70’s hard rock guitar music with middle-eastern and Indian motifs, a combination that would seem to be…well, in the current musical climate,and for lack of a better phrase, just asking for it. The debut album, OLD LIONS(in the world of snarling sheep) is finding fans, airplay and controversy. For every person who raves, there’s another who’s scratching his or her head and saying; “I don’t GET it..”, or worse. Told about a recent slam by a local DJ, MacKechnie shrugs and says bluntly, ” I don’t try to figure out what people want at this very moment and then throw together some vapid, trendy product to fleece the sleepwalkers. I’m doing what I want and like. If people pick up on that …great, if not…oh well. I don’t want to make an album that I’ll look back on in a few years and realise what a “ME TOO!” suck-up I was!” Not that there’s much chance of that. MacKechnie has been anything but a follower of fashion. Friends of his agree that except for the inevitable mellowing that comes with time he’s still one of the most opinionated and relentless attackers of what he calls, “The RIGHT-NOW police”. ” These people have no historical perspective. It never ceases to amaze me”, he smiles and shakes his head, “how the same people who call ANUBIS SPIRE stale seventie’s dinosaurs don’t realise that most of what they know as nineties rock is indistinguishable from bad sixties pop! Cutting edge?,…give me a break! Before you call me a dated hippie, watch a little vintage TV and look in a mirror. You know that great 90’s look you’ve cultivated? It’s Beaver Cleaver with a tattoo and body piercing. You know that terribly intimidating goatee? It’s Dobie Gillis’ beatnick friend Maynard. I can’t even begin to tell you how much HE scares me! I have no problem with ANY kind of music or fashion, but when attitude, conformity to trends and tribal exclusivity become more important, I can’t help thinking we’ve got a problem”.
——-Bills words, like ANUBIS SPIRE itself, seem to be custom made for misunderstanding. A quick reality check of the studio music stash shows no lack of 90s musical diversity, and surprisingly little 70’s “Prog” stuff at all. Despite the temptation to lump the band in with the current crop of heavy-metal revivalists, Anubis Spire really doesn’t seem to be trying to recreate any discernable era, (unless you believe the tongue-in-cheek promo schtick about Atlantis). Heavy-metal riff-rock mixes along side twelve-string Floydian psych/folk. Early out-takes of “Old Lions” sound far less metallic and at times almost jazz-fusion. Many of the pieces that were not included on the CD are full of tribal percussion and glassy guitar tones, a far cry from the crazed distorted onslaught of “So be it”, the albums opener. Even in the final version there is an almost Jeckel and Hyde quality to the disc. Questioned about the obvious differences in material, MacKechnie admits, “There were artistic differences between members of the group. Even though I write the songs, I write lots of different stuff. Mick (Drummer Mick Loher) and I would have been happy with ANUBIS SPIRE being a purely improvisational unit. Michael (Rhythm guitarist, Michael Leo Brothers) comes from more of a 3-minute vocal-song background and he wanted to try some of the tunes I’d written that had lyrics. If I thought it would have made a better album, I would have just put everything Mick and I improvised straight to the disc and released it. Our initial feedback from reviewers was that even though they thought the instrumentals were cool, they really thought a few more vocal pieces would help us reach a larger audience. I think Michael did a great job with the vocal tunes, and what the hell’s wrong with a little diversity? Tim Costley (Bass guitar) and I wrote and recorded vocal tunes many, many years ago so it wasn’t such a stretch to add the vocal material. The important point is: Whether it’s purely instrumental tune like “Anubis Rising” or a vocal number like “Ransom(I’ll take my chances)”, you can still tell it’s ANUBIS SPIRE.”
——-Even with a discernable sound, due in large measure to Bills bizarro lead phrazing and “curious timing” (to quote one record-company A&R exec), ANUBIS SPIRE still walks a lonely road. Considered not quite hard enough for metal and too metal for rock, they find their only real acceptance coming from a splinter group of “prog” fans and reviewers. Some mainstream Proggers dismiss them almost before hearing them. After all, who ever heard of a REAL progressive band without keyboards…or at least a flute or a couple of classical stringed instruments? ANUBIS SPIRE sounds raw in comparison to more traditional prog bands. Two guitars, bass and drums- your proto-typical rock set-up. When looked at in that light, the sheer density of sound they produce is amazing. Just listen to “Old Lions(in the world of snarling sheep)”, the title cut that closes the album. Over nine minutes of incredibly complex live-in-the-studio improvisation which melds into such a roar that you begin to hear keyboards, even though there aren’t any.
——-But this illusion principle can just as easily work against them. Because many of the pieces build upon repetitive rhythm guitar and bass patterns, some instantly feel that this is just another mindless riff band. A number of my colleagues have been unimpressed at first, only to be floored after repeated listenings. These guys are not going to be appreciated WITHOUT repeated listenings. ANUBIS SPIRE are incredibly intricate without sounding it. No flashy triple stroke multi tom-tom rolls, but just try to play what drummer Mick Loher is doing. “Hell!” MacKechnie roars, “Mick can out-roll anybody I’ve ever heard, but he’s got a hard-won “been there, done that” attitude now. I’ve got fusion tapes he’s recorded where he sounds like Mitch Mitchell, Carl Palmer and Billy Cobham playing together all at once! When we started recording, he really wanted to do something different, something beyond the standard drum cliches. He’d be doing these weird stuttering patterns that used to make me stop and ask whether he was playing the same song as me. But once he figured out what he wanted it was incredible! He’d have one pattern going on the snare, another on the bass and ANOTHER on the cymbals! AND..It NEVER stayed the same, it evolved all the way through the piece! Yeah, just try to play some of the stuff, it doesn’t sound difficult…”
——-Called on what some critics have termed “lack of focus”, MacKechnie at first dismisses the question with a wave of his hand, but true to form, can’t help launching into a rant on the hypocrisy of the media in general. ” I think part of the problem is ANUBIS SPIRE doesn’t LIE! What people like most and identify with are bands that project an image that they WISH LIKE HELL they could be. That’s why middle-class white college kids are out there with beat up guitars and harmonicas livin’ the “Blues” and other bands ride that smart-ass “everyone sucks but us” attitude into the ground while still others cultivate that comic-book superhero-leatherstud thing. Besides being an accepted marketing tool…or pehaps because of it, they give the public a ready-made template to fit them into. Take a look at the groups that throw the Beatles template on, one comes, makes a lot of money and goes. In a little while there’s another ready to plug into that slot. The bitch is, the template is now part of our cultural conditioning. Given a choice between new bands or re-arranged Beatle-isms we’ll always take the latter. ANUBIS SPIRE uses the same tools and musical conventions as everybody else but we don’t lie by saying-“Hey! this chord progression sounds kinda like the Beatles, let’s arrange and record it so it REALLY sounds like them!”-We do just the opposite. Some of the early out-takes sounded too much like Floyd or Page and Plant, SO WE CHANGED THEM! We almost certainly would have been better received if we aped a popular prog band or took time to reproduce the SOUND of most prog releases. What “Lack of focus” means is that we didn’t bother to give the reviewers the template they wanted.”
——-So what does ANUBIS SPIRE want? The proper question would be what DIDN’T they want. “When we started the band we didn’t want to sound like this,..” Bill picks up his strat and blazes through a technically astounding shred solo complete with lockstep metronomic picking, sweeps and whammy squeals, and then quickly segues into a sweet Stevie Ray style blues. “That’s the guitarists equivalent of those over-done drum rolls, there’s a zillion guys who play like that, why would we want to be number one zillion and one?” As I turn off the recorder and get ready to leave he unplugs the guitar and sets about finding some tapes and early out-takes for me to listen to on my way back to New Jersey.
——- On the walk to my car I ask Bill what makes ANUBIS SPIRE different than the other music he’s made in the past. Without hesitation he says, “Freedom,…I’ve come through so much and yet here I am again at ground zero. Do I want to be rich? You bet! But I really have no agenda but to get this music out there, a gift to the universe. In the past, I worried whether other people would like it, I worried what the guitar-police might say, I bought the myopic curse of modern music–the lie that the brush-strokes are more important than the painting. We analyze the shit out of something that is by definition, beyond intellectual grasp and should be a purely emotional experience. We REWARD the rule worshippers and the status-quo keepers and ignore, deride and ultimately destroy those who play from their soul and toss rules and convention to the wind. ANUBIS SPIRE is just that–ANUBIS SPIRE, take us as we are or change the channel. We are making music for those who can hear and appreciate it. It either resonates in your soul or it doesn’t. We’ll never be the kind of band that begs for popular acceptance. We exist outside of that world now, and I, for one, am never going back”. As he hands the pile of tapes to me, a compilation tape of “by-the-numbers”, sound-alike wanna-be’s from Bills area falls to the ground. Picking it up, he hands it to me with a smile, ” If we played stuff like this we’d probably be given a lot more respect,…. but then again, what does respect have to do with Rock music?” I couldn’t help but smile back, “Yeah, you’ve got a point there.”
“There’s no doubt that ANUBIS SPIRE rub some people the wrong way. Those that lump them in with or dismiss them as seventies throwbacks aren’t listening hard enough. I believe we are in a period much like popular music was before the 60’s explosion-a time of IMAGE and quick little vapid SONGS. Of artists as processed as Pat Boone and more manufactured than your average automobile (though at opposite poles, clean-cut with white bucks and badass gangsta with a rap sheet are the same schtick in the eyes of those whose business it is to relieve you of your hard earned cash). Anything socially redeeming or introspective is derided and no one wants to actually think about a piece of music. If it’s not the musical equivalent of the smooth familiar baby food we’re used to being spoon-fed, we throw a tantrum. Bands like ANUBIS SPIRE do not fare well in this climate of media homogenization and integrity drought. Their artistic vision is intensely personal and not negotiable on the open market. Their future is unfortunately tied to the nearly impossible task of finding an audience that can think for themselves, an audience that is getting harder and harder to find. If they stay around long enough, perhaps they’ll build enough of a fan base to economically survive. One thing is assured. In five years, bands like ANUBIS SPIRE will be looked back on with a new appreciation. It’s the way of the world to only recognize the music once the static stops.” —-Bob Trassler (The Anvil)