Fresh off of releasing their debut album Field Trip on California’s Nomad Eel Records yesterday July 23rd, CASSIUS KING – led by guitarist Dan Lorenzo (Hades, Non-Fiction, Vessel Of Light) with Dangerous Toys/Broken Teeth vocalist Jason McMaster – have just released their first full length video for the song Cleopatra’s Needle. The video was produced by Jason C. Stewart who also produced the Last Ride and Torture King videos off the last Vessel Of Light album.
Jason has become my go-to-guy the last year and a half.” said guitarist Dan Lorenzo. “His enthusiasm is off the charts and at this point I let him to whatever he wanted for Cleopatra’s Needle and I think it’s just as much fun to watch as it is to listen to”.
CASSIUS KING are
Jason McMaster Vocals
Ron Lipnicki drums
Jimmy Schulman bass
Dan Lorenzo guitars
The band on the cover art concept:
When writing lyrics for the music given, it is normal for the full vision , or concept, of the cover art to come into play much later, and sometimes can even feel forced when given a deadline.
Sometimes, the band name can help conjure the art and where it can go. That was not the case with Cassius King when hearing the song’s pre vocal/lyric idea in rough song form.
…it started with a sort of doom sound. That is my opinion. Some might argue that CK is not really true doom metal. It has that feel here and there and continue ]s to get comparisons to the band, “Trouble”, and the like. So, the “Sabbath” sound seems to come though, influencing my pen, to write of dark shades, and night time minded wanderings. Blame it on the riffs, is what I say.
One of the earlier lyrics I wrote for this, was the song that ended up being called “Leave of Absence”, telling the loose story of being a subject in a mental institution, or in a memory care facility. It automatically brings up memories, personally, as well as from other art,books and movies. Maybe not limited to “One flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest”, but, yes…
I talk of getting lost ,and actually sing of “dancing in the field,until the doctors find you”, non specific as a metaphor that can be used, and ends up making sense when you hear the lyric “your white gown blows up high, above your head”. The guys in white scrubs and sneakers in a sort of search and rescue coming to get you to take you back to the looney bin, after you have conveniently, and somewhat harmlessly escaped. I need to mention,the sort of mind altering medications one might be prescribed after they diagnose you as, well,“ crazy”?… crazy because you talk to imaginary beings that might not, or might actually exist, being the reason you have been told that you are… “crazy”. Even if… these things/beings you see, are your friends, and make you smile, and have docile moments throughout the day. The medications rob you of all of this. I feel I should mention here, to be fair, I have written about this subject matter before. A darker twist on the same thing, on an Ignitor song called, “the Golden Age of Black Magick”. It sings/talks about how the medications are not letting you see/feel the things that might be helping you and your health, in some way, even if they go against common beliefs the doctors and administrations consider archaic, or bad for the media.
As I write the lyrics for “Leave of Absence”, I actually do not have a title before I pen the lines leading up to the final map of the lyric idea. I have a breakdown line that says “just another field trip”. I start out by calling the song “Field Trip”. I finish the song, the lyrics, and I send it to Dan (Lorenzo). Dan is so happy that the songs are coming to life, he pays no mind to where i am going with this. Then, almost on an indecisive dime, I spin and start to think that the title is weak..( Writers doubt themselves often, which is why I don’t think I will ever finish my book). I changed the title to “Leave of Absence”. I inform Dan. No push back at all.
Jimmy (bassist James Schulman) and I started to collaborate on lyrical ideas. Between Jimmy, Dan and myself, we start thinking of what title of the record could/should be. We have half the record written at this point, when Jimmy, not knowing anything about the title change, pipes in and says “How about we call the record “Field Trip”. pretty strange, and maybe not strange at all.
Fast forward, we start to conceptualize the content of the song we took the title from. Jimmy really shines in this moment by submitting asylum room photos, that are truly disgusting, but very much art. I throw the idea of the escaped looney on the trail with his imaginary friends, that only he can see, or thinks are real. Rough ideas take shape. I photoshop the roughs and send them to the band. They think the cover art could be actually finished before the record is. I tell them to pump the breaks and insist we need a real artist to take this to another level.
Enter Claudio Bergamin. the artist known for the cover art for Judas Priest’s “Firepower”.
I met Claudio in Portland, OR. some years ago at a heavy metal convention. He was super cool, and we chatted about nothing and everything in a few minutes. He gave me his card and told me to contact him if I ever needed art.
What you see on the cover, front and back, are photos taken by Claudio, and manipulated into the concept and vision. It all came from an honest place. Some of it originates from time spent with my mother in a memory care facility, and meeting other patients and doctors. I learned a lot. As you can imagine, or have had the same experiences.
– Jason McMaster
Also check out below a sample of the song “Join the Exodus”, taken from the debut album.