CAGE - Evil Has No Boundaries
October 28, 2015, 8 years ago
Traditional heavy metal titans, Cage, has delivered an epic horror story/concept album with their brilliant seventh full-length, Ancient Evil. An adventurous metal journey told through 19 tracks, Ancient Evil is a relentless metal assault from start to finish, delivered in the story-telling vein of King Diamond and H.P. Lovecraft.
“I actually came up with the story for another project with ex-King Diamond members who asked me to do something, but that kind of fizzled out,” vocalist Sean Peck said. “So I already had this story developed so I thought I’d just make it a Cage record. I just kept tweaking the outline and filling in all the blanks, and the next thing I knew, I had a 140 page mini novel. We did the Hell Destroyer concept album that was well-received. Me being such a big King Diamond fan I always wanted to do kind of a take on a horror vibe, and I figured I could use that story and create some songs around it.”
Consisting of Peck, guitarists Dave "Conan" Garcia and Casey “The Sentinel" Trask, drummer Sean "The Thrash Machine" Elg and bassist Alex "The Captain" Pickard, Cage is at their most lethal with this new and reinvigorated lineup. Not since 2007’s Hell Destroyer has there been anything this extensive in the Cage catalog. Hell Destroyer was even two minutes shy of Ancient Evil’s 80 minutes. Although there’s not a bad track in the bunch, keeping a listener’s attention these days is hard to achieve, but Ancient Evil succeeds in every aspect. That includes the packaging with the artwork, lyric booklet and interlay illustrations, making it a complete audio and visual experience.
“That’s the thing about metalheads,” Peck continues. “They still buy the CDs and they are fully into all the details of the music and the booklet and artwork. That’s why we still put so much work into the booklet and all those interlay pieces that we have, to really set the tone and create a really cool vibe for this thing. One of the tricks is to make catchy songs with catchy choruses, while telling a story.
“The 80 minutes thing… we were trying to put it out there like, ‘When you get the new Cage record, you either have to take a day off from work or set aside two hours and light some candles and just go for the whole thing!”’
The story's main character, Elliot Worthington, is played by ex-Iron Maiden frontman Blaze Bayley, and his narrated interludes throughout the album add to the cinematic dynamic. Opening spoken word track, “There Were Others,” introduces the story nicely, followed by the face-scorching title track.
“In the past, I’ve done the voices myself and I really didn’t want to do any of the voices (this time),” Peck said. “It just makes it more authentic to have somebody else do it. He did a phenomenal job. I love all the parts he did, the way he acted it out and the passion he had. The tone of his voice was just perfect. A big shout out to him for being on an album that he’s not even singing, he’s just doing this character and it really added a lot to the overall product I think.”
With Ancient Evil being such an expansive concept album and a hell of an undertaking, Peck had to come up with something intriguing to get people involved in the storyline.
“We always make big, long albums, which some people think it’s too much,” Peck said. “It really irritates us when we get reviews that say, ‘It’s good but it’s too long.’ I could never wrap my head around that concept. In order to tell the full story, that’s just how long it had to be. With a concept album, you have to make a story that people are going to care about that’s not too abstract. I wanted to make a real straight ahead monster movie/video game/H.P. Lovecraft-influenced thing that people can really follow along with it.”
While Peck and guitarist Garcia remain at the core of Cage, the band has been injected with a new sense of enthusiasm by welcoming three new members over the past two years. This new lineup has the band firing on all cylinders.
“No disrespect to all the great players we’ve had in the past, but this is definitely my favorite lineup we’ve ever had,” Peck said. “Basically in the music world at this level, it’s all based on enthusiasm and when people lose their enthusiasm and just complain about everything, they are usually the people who do the least amount (of work) for the cause. And that was the case with the older guys.
“The energy that Casey (Trask) and Sean (Elg) have brought into the band is just incredible. Sean is just as technically proficient if not better than any drummer we’ve ever had. Casey is going crazy on stage all the time. He’s a young kid with an old school metal soul and he comes up with out of control riffs. Our new bass player Alex Picard… we go into practice and the first 20 seconds he’s in the corner doing head whips in the corner by himself! He’s completely into it. It’s so cool to have this lineup because the enthusiasm level couldn’t be higher.”
Peck is pulling triple duty, and October marks the month of Peck! Besides Cage’s new release, he has two other stellar releases coming out, including Death Dealer’s Hallowed Ground and Denner/Shermann’s Satan’s Tomb.
“It’s a good problem to have, man,” Peck said. “Being stuck on the Cage concept album was easy to compartmentalize; any song idea that I came up with that wasn’t fitting into the story, I was easily able to put them over to the Death Dealer side of things. Now that the Death Dealer and Denner/Shermann albums are done, I’m focusing on the next Cage project, which we’re almost halfway through. I’m constantly making songs, but I’m constantly striving to make the metal better and better as I go along.”