Children of a Foreign Faith
'Beware the children that you devalue, humiliate, abuse, reject and push out to the fringe, because out on the edge the air is clearer....and when they look back at you they'll see the truth.' ~Anubis Spire Concept album? Rock opera? Thematic song cycle? Yes, yes and yes. And then some. On the surface, CHILDREN OF A FOREIGN FAITH seems deceptively straight forward. At over an hour in length, it moves through it's sixteen cuts seemingly without time for a pause or even a deep breath. Each song leads immediately to the next, separated ocassionally by spoken word lead in's that require the listener to rise up above the fray and try to see the big picture in order to understand. The big picture is what this album is all about. Many artists have written compositions about child abuse and alienation but none have looked beyond the obvious with the all encompassing thoroughness that songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Bill MacKechnie has. Though cruel and deplorable, it's not just the immediate effects of abuse that Children Of A Foreign Faith addresses. MacKechnie has divided the songs into the sub-headings of: SURVIVAL, AWAKENING, THE WORLD and finally TRUTH. Each section deals with the specific effects of damage done and most importantly, just how that damage continues to ripple through all future interactions and even onto the world stage in the forms of fear, hate and violence. Starting on a very personal internal level, the story runs ever onward through troubled relationships, adult disillusionment, corporate greed, religious insanity and cut throat media manipulation, all the while making it clear that the same seminal principle of might-makes-right exploitation and human devaluing is at play. Once the pieces come together, it leaves us shocked and amazed that we've never recognized that simple fact before. In the end, MacKechnie and ANUBIS SPIRE offer no magical solutions or feel-good validations, and the listeners are left to find their own truth. Musically the band again avoids being pigeon-holed and tied down. They speed through diverse styles and genres as if they invented them. Everything from Mahavishnu fusion to Floydian dirge to Zeppelin celtic-acoustic; even Bill's venerable homebuilt ANUBITAR sitar/guitar makes an appearance in the Indian Raga-ish ETERNAL RESONANCE (Part Two). I was blown away by the level of originality and sheer musicianship of their debut CD (Old Lions) but the band has honestly re-invented and out done themselves on this one. Bill, Tim, Mick and newest member, keyboardist David Sweet sound better than ever. Featuring a cast of special guests that includes Saqqara Record's NEIL HENDERSON, MIKE WARD OF TEMPORARY POWER, MARLON KEMPMANN OF DOCTOR MEMORY, the ever-shadowy and elusive JP MACGREGOR among others, ANUBIS SPIRE have fashioned an album that will need more than a few listens to sink in but once it does, if you're like me, you'll have a hard time getting it out of your head. ~ Eric Barron.