Detholz! demo – “Pilgrim’s Regress – Part I” & “The City of Gold”

Welcome to Detholz! Mp3 Blog Episode XVI!

A day late on this one, ladies and germs. My abject apologies.

This week, we’ve switched off the Jukebox of the Dead and are venturing into a magical land of Fairies and Fantasy with
The Pilgrim’s Regress, Part I (includes “The Conclusion” and “The City of Gold”)

or, if you prefer to skip the scene-setting exposition:

The City of Gold (extracted from Part I)

1. CONCEPT

After a particularly weird and depressing week about 2 years ago, I locked myself in my apartment and cranked out this oddity: the first part of an arguably pretentious concept album for Detholz! called “The Pilgrim’s Regress,” which is essentially the classic Puritan allegory, John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress,” in reverse. The basic idea is that our protagonist, instead of seeking to gain access to the Celestial City, seeks rather to ESCAPE from the Celestial City and BACK to his home in the City of Destruction.

I had planned on having him encounter all of the stops on the way– the River of Death, the Delectable Mountains, Vanity Fair, the Worldy Wiseman and the rest– all filtered through this “lens of opposites.” I got as far as having him escape from the Celestial City and had begun on “The River of Death” section– only to have the laptop on which these files resided stolen outside of a show. Damn you, Crime Inc.!

“The Conclusion” is a reworking of Bunyan’s Conclusion at the end of the First Part of “Pilgrim’s Progress.” It is intended to set the stage– kind of an overture– where reality retreats and familiar things are transformed through the power of ecstatic vision.

“The City of Gold” marks our hero’s observations in the Celestial City, and he is discomfited with what he is seeing and feeling. The end of the song chronicles his escape through loose bars in the Gate, though that is not spelled out in any lyric.

After playing this for the band and receiving a lukewarm response– in addition to some radical changes in my thinking about religion– I abandoned this project. It will likely remain on the shelf forever (and ever, amen).

2. COMPOSITION

You could view this as a “Proto-‘Death to the Traitor,'” (see earlier “Death to the Traitor” post) as more of the minimalist and/or repetitive elements Detholz! currently experiment with began to appear here. I had also just finished recording Bobby Conn’s “King for a Day” album, and that sparked my interest in writing “fantasy rock,” as Bobby had woven all manner of fantastic elements into the musical and lyrical content of that record.

A lot of the source sounds are in reverse– most obviously on “City of Gold,” which was constructed on top of a repeated vocal figure in reverse. The melody at that runs through “The Conclusion” is a reworking of the American folk hymn, “Lord, I Want to be a Christian in My Heart” on a (backwards) reed organ. I had intended to use this as a motive that reappears throughout the record– similar to the “Traitor” motive I’ve discussed in earlier posts.

This was both a sincere and sarcastic musical reference. At the time, I found my faith to be completely empty and devoid of meaning. Though that has since changed, it’s interesting from a personal standpoint to have a musical chronicle of that period.

Anyway, “City of Gold” is a reharmonization/rearrangement of an ancient Detholz! song called “Heaven,” (vintage 2000-2001) which we only played one time, as I recall. The original demo was lost forever when a hard drive crashed, but it was a pedantic “shoegazer” arrangement with washy guitars and a backwards-ballcap type of beat. I was dissatisfied with that version–esp. the lyrics, which were god-awful– but liked the melodies. They are preserved in the newer version, almost to the note.

We posted “City of Gold” on MySpace for a time, and it was generally received well. Andrew (Detholz! drummer) has often pushed for us to play it, so… who knows? Perhaps “Pilgrim’s Regress” will ride again someday.

Tune in next week for more free music, and in the meantime…. follow the yellow brick road! Follow the yellow brick road! Follow the yellow brick road! etc.

3. LYRICS

I. THE CONCLUSION

Draw the curtains
And dim the light
Close your eyes
Depart inside the Veil
Murmuring late at night

A land of giants
Of fairs and feasts
A host of thousands
On a Holy Mountain

Talk in your sleep

Laughter is best left
To fools and to boys
The wisdom in dreams
Comes without so much noise

Talk in your sleep

Asleep in the shadows
Asleep in the sun
Asleep with an animal
Asleep with a gun
Asleep at the office
Asleep in the car
Asleep in the alley
Asleep in the bar

The pilgrims are sleeping
The giants are sleeping
The angels are sleeping
The dragons are sleeping
The preachers are sleeping
The revelers are sleeping
The wise men are sleeping
The King is sleeping

Talk in your sleep

II. THE CITY OF GOLD

The golden flash of transfiguration
Shines from the City of Perfection
The bells ring out from the spires
High above the crowns and the lyres

When they zipped off my skin
A fire burned within
Shot from the eyes of the King
From His invisible halls
A terrible beast sang:

Ah, welcome into Heaven!

Is this life after death
Or death after life?
Squint in the face of this brilliant light
The highways are paved with golden tar
Inside the glittering Gate with a thousand bars

Immortal and invisible
Eyes shoot out golden flames
For a million years
A multitude
Shouts through the Holy Names

In the City of Gold
That precious metal is cold
And the hearts of the righteous
Are eternally old
And we’ve earned the right to
Eat from the Tree of Life
In perfect bodies of light

(I can’t feel anything
I think I’m burning alive!)

Ah, welcome into Heaven!

I think I’m burning alive!

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10 Responses to “Detholz! demo – “Pilgrim’s Regress – Part I” & “The City of Gold””

  1. Jim Says:

    Damn you, Crime Inc. for sure. I would have loved to hear the rest of this project. I’ve been a fan of City of Gold for a while now. It’s all a great concept.

  2. Download Music » Detholz! demo - “Pilgrim’s Regress - Part I” & “The City of Gold” Says:

    […] You can read the rest of this blog post by going to the original source, here […]

  3. kebabdylan Says:

    city of gold is one of my all time favorites of yours. I would love to hear the band’s treatment of it. even outside of the concept album, I think you should consider working it into the current group of songs. even though lyrically it might be out of place. i could see it having an interesting relation to DTTT in terms of faith etc…

  4. detholz Says:

    Jim: Thanks! If you’re moving backwards…well, hell, at least you’re moving!

    Download Music >> Detholz! demo – “Pilgrim’s Regress – Part I” & “The City of Gold”: Dig it. God bless you.

    ‘Bab: Unfortunately, given that the next few months will likely be spent recording DTTT, I doubt “City of Gold” will see the light of day any time soon. Glad you’re into it, though.

  5. Jim Says:

    Finally had the chance to listen to Pilgrim’s Regress last night. Man. Cooper, you’re excellent.

  6. detholz Says:

    Jim: Thanks, pally! Hey: tell these curmudgeons running the music committee in Beloit this year to cut us a break! It seems we have been banned…

  7. kebabdylan Says:

    why did you get banned?

    have a nice thanksgiving y’all.

  8. jim Says:

    Banned?! Seriously? My ladyfriend doesn’t go there anymore, so I’m out of that loop. Perhaps you guys just rock too hard. Unfortunately, I was not there when they actually started tearing down the ceiling during Dancin’ on the Ceiling. That may have something to do with it. That’s a damn shame. Those were the best shows ever.

  9. grosser Says:

    I seem to be getting 404s when I download either track. Help?

  10. detholz Says:

    Fixed now.

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