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Beekeeper Constellation
© 2011 oxcartmusic

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Beekeeper Constellation

Total Time: 50:21
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STYLE: Metal-Prog

HOME TOWN: Portland, OR

Check out Oxcart's CD: The Equation
The 2009 IndepenDisc of the Year!

1. Drawbridge
2. Delusions
3. The Light
4. Zenith
5. Ember
6. Fire
7. Possum
8. Nationalism Anthem
9. The Beekeeper
10. Speakeasy


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Issue #148                                 Jul. '11

The story is simple, the layers intense.

Beekeeper Constellation
, the 3rd release by Portland, Oregon’s Prog-Psych-Metal masters Oxcart, takes the loose concept lp format of their 2nd release, 2009’s The Equation (the 2009 IndepenDisc of the Year), and tightens it into an epic musical event which underlines the importance of bees (and consequently, Beekeepers) to the survival of not only the human race, and the planet (ecosystem), but also the realistic threat of the vanishing of the bees, and the self-destructive mindset of our populace.

There are those who (rightfully) believe that bees control the fate of the world, without bees to cross-pollinate, life, as we know it, would not exist. Thus the Beekeepers are one of the single most important people on earth, they hold within their realm the ability to preserve, or alter, life. Oxcart has taken this very real scenario (for more on this, check out http://www.vanishingbees.com/ ) added the complexities of human emotion, the horrors of war, isolation, righteousness, and fallibility to expand our understanding of our responsibilities to all aspects of nature.

Opening with the sounds of a medieval march, Drawbridge gets us up close and poised for an epic confrontation. Using blood-pumping, melodic metal this forewarning clashing of iron launches us into Delusions, a Smashing Pumpkins type metal awesomeness – spacing delicately with hard jams – that worships at the alter of Pink Floyd. Brandishing a rhythm section that would make most metal guitarists jealous, this opus of false prophets sets the stage for the rock show to come. What’s to happen to the young, naive, idealistic beekeeper who is unwillingly thrust into war?

The next 5 songs of the story build up and tear apart everything that our beekeeper has ever experienced. The Light starts the process with a solo piano laying bare the innocence lost as the heavy reverb guitar and breathy, heart-breaking vocals transcribe the realization that nothing will ever be the same again. Done with great Pink Floyd style production work and metal chops reminiscent of Metalica, Queens of the Stoneage, and Smashing Pumpkins, we are sucked into the plight. Sounding like Blue Oyster Cult and AC/DC on steroids, Zenith aggressively hurls us forward before we have a chance to ask/question what is happening. Taken right into Ember there is a tentative caution, a slow echo sets the eerie pre/post battle tone. The mind is slowly burning as the madness and horrors of war seep into the beekeepers consciousness. The ending “Fire, fire, fire” refrain smolders into the brain as Ember catches into Fire, a metal masterpiece that burns into our heads with mind numbing guitar hooks and a killer rhythm. Here, in the hell of war, is where the beekeeper loses himself, this attack is not only an assault on his humanity, but on humanity as a whole. With a Jimi Hendrix guitar wailing, “Fire, Fire Now,” can be his orders to pull the trigger or his interpretation/reaction to what is consuming him upon multiple battlefields. Possum lays low, it’s an astral, surreal dreamlike state; it’s over, is it really over? He’s playing dead “Afraid of almost death/Living is hard.” He hopes it’s over, but in this trippy ride of Doors, Pink Floyd, God Is An Astronaut, and Mahavishnu Orchestra all rolled into one, we realize that it is not, that he will forever carry the damage inflicted upon and within him.

Nationalism Anthem
begins with that eerie Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here/Welcome To The Machine feel. It weaves a synth-industrial techno sound with The Jimi Hendrix Experience and takes us on a 7 minute journey of a lifetime. The buzzing bees invade our consciousness, warning us what’s to come; the political propaganda intended to divert our attention away from the gods of war and towards patriotism serves only as a reminder of the mythological truth and the intense novel-like depth/layers of the story. War is hell, and The Beekeeper has been destroyed by it, tragically he must choose whether or not to continue to serve/save the same species that is responsible for so much destruction. It is not only the destruction of nature (the nature that supplies us with life), and human life, but the destruction of the nature of humanity that has created his moral dilemma.

The Beekeeper
quickly establishes the presence of his anger and just as quickly dives into his madness -  Left alone is the Beekeeper.” Even the machines of war acknowledge the ancient mythological respect for him, for it is The Beekeeper who holds the fate of humanity in his hands, yet, he finds it “Hard to carry on.” The music tracks from lounge piano to metal guitar and back to a Bacharach style piano solo to close, it perfectly executes the intense struggles The Beekeeper must rationalize through as his companionship with the bees and the universal meaning/consequences of his constellation weigh heavy on his heart and mind.

After everything that The Beekeeper has been through, Speakeasy just lays it out there with a definitive Pink Floyd arrangement. The drum rolls and rhythmic swells take the guitar solo to heights unimagined – what rabbit hole has The Beekeeper/Humanity fallen down? – as Oxcart displays the dexterity of a jam band (with intense piano), while pushing the boundaries of progressive and melodic metal. By the time the voice over kicks in, we’re drifting away with the understanding of the folk lore to protect the role of The Beekeeper as the keeper of life – all life, and how the fragile state of nature and humanity hangs in the balance, as well as the stars.

Beekeeper Constellation
by Oxcart,
The story is simple, the layers intense.

Beekeeper Constellation by Oxcart
Now available for: $9.98 +s/h*

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*Shipping & Handling charges:
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                     Add $1.50 per each CD after.
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                          Add $2.00 per each CD after.
Everywhere else -$7.00 for the first CD ordered,
                                        Add $3.00 per each CD after.

Edward O'Connell Go To Top more Oxcart

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