2021, huh? Wow. What the fuck was that. 😐

Shitter's on fire, yo
Shitter’s still on fire, yo.

Well, this end of year blog should be easy. EDIT > CLONE 2020 BLOG > PUBLISH. *dusts my hands off* Happy new year! 🙂

….

OK, fine, there’s more to say about 2021 than that. Some of it actually quite good.

We started the year fairly hopeful down here in Australia, with Covid case numbers declining and a vaccine looking like it was imminent. Not to get overly political here, but things quickly spiralled out of control by the time the Delta variant came onto the scene due to the botched “stroll-out” of the vaccine (“It’s not a race,” according to our Prime Minister) and general mismanagement by our so-called leaders, and by the middle of the year, we were right back in the thick of it again, just in time for the Omicron variant to appear, and the “brilliant” decision to just “let it rip! We have to learn to live with it.” We’re ending the year watching case numbers go from the hundreds at most, well into the tens of thousands in just a couple of weeks. Nice job, everyone! 🙄

This has, of course, continued the decimation of the music industry. So many tours and festivals were postponed or cancelled with very little notice, leaving thousands of people out of pocket, and throwing their PR plans and their lives into chaos.

For us here in LORD, as much as it would have been nice to get back out and do the shows that we planned to do in late 2019 into 2020, we felt like it was a good idea to be cautious and not book anything until it all settles down. It turns out that was a pretty good decision in the end. But that left us with a big gap in the traditional way we would ordinarily promote the band or draw an income. So that led us to be a little more creative.

Undercovers Vol.1

Anyone with any kind of passing interest in the band would know we love ripping out a cover song. This has been a tradition for as long as both LORD and Dungeon before it existed. In fact, the second ever song Dungeon performed live was a cover of Dokken’s “Just Got Lucky” and we kicked off the whole “covering pop songs” thing in the mid-90s with a cover of Blondie’s “Call Me,” so it’s really been in our blood. We had a look back at just the LORD era covers and it was a huge list, but spread out over special releases, foreign releases, test recordings… even a serious collector probably wouldn’t have everything, so we decided to put everything we did, plus a couple of new ones, onto a single album. All up, it was over 20 songs. Insane!

We released it more so as a bit of fun, and something cool for the fans and collectors out there. What we didn’t expect was it hitting the charts, and actually blowing away the chart position we got for Fallen Idols in 2019. 😮

Undercovers Vol. 1 debuted at #7 in the Australian Artist ARIA charts and #1 in the Australia Independent Records Charts, where it remained in the top 5 for 3 consecutive weeks. Wow. That took us entirely by surprise, so we quickly decided to film a clip for the lead song on the album, one of the new songs we recorded especially for this release, a cover of Savage Garden’s “To the Moon and Back” (mostly as an excuse for me to flex my new camera, just quietly 😉 )

Watch To the Moon and Back

We managed to sneak this in between lockdowns, around quite a lot of iconic Sydney locations, and paid tribute to a lot of the scenes in the original Savage Garden video. Even Darren Hayes himself sung the praises of both the song and the video, so I guess we did something right. 🙂

At that point, it seemed like we were all covered out… but then Iron Maiden released a couple of singles from their new album, Senjutsu. One of them caught my ear and I joked to the guys that we should record it and release it before their album came out, expecting everyone to go “no, that’s dumb, we just released a whole album, why would we do more covers?” but instead everyone said “let’s do it!” and the next thing we know…

Stratego
Watch Stratego

Whoops! 🤔

This also went over great (to our surprise – we were expecting a much bigger push-back because when you cover Iron Maiden, no matter how good it is, it’s NOT Iron Maiden, and us Maiden fans are savage like that), and we all agreed that was to be our last cover for quite some time.

Until…

OK, so on Undercovers, we did a cover of the Judas Priest song “Reckless” but that actually wasn’t our first choice, as great as that song is. For years we’d planned to record “Blood Red Skies” but when it came to doing the new songs for Undercovers, that song was just too much hard work to do quickly, for the production I had in mind for it, so we shelved it. My brain had other ideas, however. 🙄 It just wouldn’t let up until I recorded it, so I went ahead in secret (even from the other guys) and got Tim Yatras to lay down a drum track, and I got to work getting this damn thing out of my head.

We sent out some end-of-year Xmas cards to people with a sneaky QR code to grab this song, but we also decided to go all-out and release it on CD, along with 2 other songs and a 30 minute chat I had with Andy about why we did more covers, and what we have coming up next. Plus there was a bunch of cool new merch to mark the occasion. This is out January 1, 2022, so if you’re keen to grab it, CHECK THIS OUT.

I can definitely say this is the last cover we’ll be doing for a while now. Our focus is on new material now, and we go into detail about that in the chat on the Blood Red Skies release (See? There’s a good reason to grab it right there!). All I’ll say here is the stuff we have coming up is… fearless. 😉 That should keep you guessing!

Aside from LORD, I hopped back into guest vocals / production with Ilium on their new EP, which will be out on Jan 14, 2022.

Check that out and pre-order that on their Bandcamp page. It’s pretty cool and probably the next best thing to a LORD release, if you’re into our more melodic/power metal stuff.

For people into more mellow stuff, the My Whisper album I produced came up great and was released this year. We’ve already started on the next lot of stuff, and it’s a great change of pace from the epic layered choirs, orchestras and blast beats of everything else I tend to do. Here’s one of the clips I filmed for them:

Watch Whisper

They’re off to our country music capital Tamworth early in 2022 for some shows, which is fantastic to see!

Apart from all of this, it’s been a fairly quiet year work-wise for me, thanks to Old Mate Virus. I’d like to think that sometime in the next year it gives us all a fuckin’ break so we can get on with our lives.

For now though, it’s time for me to sign off. As usual, I’ll be having a quiet NYE, spending the evening watching fireworks on TV with some kid I helped make (can you believe I’ve kept a child alive for 8 years now?) and maybe enjoying a glass or two of this lovely drop:

Cheers, all – here’s to a better 2022! 🍻

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