Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy, aka the Joyful Gadfly! Musician, podcaster, writer, historian ... here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album is unique in some way. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Swaybone ~ Life On Earth


(Click on heading to visit official website)
Style: hard rock, religious
Label: self-released
Year: 2010
Home: California

Members: Teho Cedar Jones ~ vocals/guitar
Dennis Reyes ~ bass
Oliver Zelada ~ drums
Giovani Maganzi ~ guitar


It's not Christian rock. It's not Satantic death metal at the other end of the spectrum. It's something a little different that's a bit of a child on its own. It's guru rock ... sort of, for lack of a better term. Inspired by the American-born religious teacher/writer Parama-Sapta Na Adi Da Love-Ananda Samraj, Swaybone has put the goal before them of making good music, spreading Adi Da Samraj's teachings & creating a better world following an ideology based on ego-transcendence, prior unity & a global cooperative forum, all aptly summarized by the title of World-Teacher Adi Da Samraj's book "Not-Two Is Peace" which is also one of the songs on the album. I've circulated with this particular group for some years now & have often asked, sadly to no avail, if any of the musicians in it's world-wide community were doing something more on the rock or metal fringe & not just the classical, folksy, Indian & world-rhythms which seem to dominate the group's musical forays drawing from the group's Hindu roots. Actually, I once felt like I was being laughed at for suggesting that narcissistic rock music could meld with an ego transcending religion. Finding Swaybone, spearheaded with great zeal by devotee Theo Cedar Jones, I finally have my answer that it is possible & that somebody is brave enough to chart these new waters! I'm glad someone has seen the potential of melding popular music with the teachings of Adi Da Samraj, which can reach out to people that the other styles of music are missing out on connecting with. For those a bit unsure of heavy religious music in general & expecting something akin to the druggy forays of Yes or the Grateful Dead ... not quite. There is a hint of some 60's prog rock with Swaybone but the instrumental indulgence is kept to a minimum allowing the vocals to take focus. While Swaybone is firmly in the contemporary indie rock market a few wild electric guitar solos thrown in, particularly shining over a couple stand-out acoustic tracks, keep things upbeat & energetic & not falling into maudlin worship songs. In terms of lyrics maybe, on some level, Swaybone is more like Neil Young or Bob Dylan who, having also written their fare share of religious songs, keep the lyrics in the forefront & the musical flights of fancy to a minimum instead relying on interesting arrangements & rhythms. Death metal bands could take a page from the Swaybone book as their throat warbling screaming isn't helping spread their message of armageddon. You can sing along with Swaybone & it's makes a difference. Let alone singing a chorus that includes the line "Not-two is peace" is an enjoyable linguistic experience for the tongue while the mind figures out the meaning of the quasi-mysterious phrase. I was recently discussing hard rock song lyrics with a fellow musician & Swaybone is definetly on the road to proving that one doesn't need to always sing about partying, sex & drugs or other banal subjects to rock out. Though, while Swaybone tries to brave new frontiers, the foreign subject matter is also a brickwall built by their own hand. Working in a record store I find a lot people turn away from Christian rock because they aren't Christians without giving the the music a chance. Swaybone may find itself faced with the same shallow prejudice. They know this already & I'm sure they find the challenge of toppling the wall the drive that keeps them going.

(featured on the Roman Midnight Music CD Reviews & Interviews podcast: episode 18 "Interview: Theo Cedar Jones of Swaybone," May 2011, click here to listen)


2 comments:

  1. Hi Aaron,
    Thanks for writing the most serious review of Swaybone to date. And thank you for our awesome conversations on facebook about the state of rock and metal and the world.
    Love and blessings,
    Theo Cedar Jones

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have heard the new EP of Swaybobe and to miss it would be a missing a great piece of true art!

    ReplyDelete