DISCIPLES OF BABYLON release new album “The Rise and Fall of Babylon” with a concert at the Viper Room

The long-awaited and highly anticipated release of the new Disciples of Babylon (DOB) album The Rise and Fall of Babylon is finally here, and it’s a revelation. I’ve been following the Los Angeles-based rock band since 2015, and it’s been a pleasure watching them grow both musically and professionally. They’ve been gathering national and worldwide acclaim and a rapidly growing base of loyal fans, not only because of their exceptional, dynamic sound and thought-provoking lyrics, but also their appreciation and undying support for their fans. I know I’m in good company when I say that I love this band!

DOB

All accomplished musicians in their own right, DOB are Eric Knight on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Ramón Blanco on lead guitar, Gui Bodi on bass and backing vocals, and Chris Toeller on drums. The guys have had quite a year. In June, they performed at the extreme sports event Dew Tour 2017, and on July 8, they kicked off the 2017 Gladiator MMA Championship Series with a performance at the iconic Los Angeles Memorial Sports Coliseum. Also in June, Ramón and Gui had the thrill of playing in the backup band of Luis Fonsi when he performed his monster hit “Despacito” on Conan, and then in September, Chris joined Ramón and Gui to once again play backup for Luis Fonsi’s appearance on Ellen. Doesn’t get much better than that, except for DOB themselves to one day perform on Ellen!

DOB premiered The Rise and Fall of Babylon in front of a capacity crowd on Thursday, October 5 at the legendary Viper Room on the world-famous Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California, and they all but blew the roof off the place. The crowd reception to the new tracks was ecstatic – no surprise given the band’s exciting and charismatic stage presence. Along with all seven tracks off the new album, they also played songs from their terrific debut EP Welcome to Babylon, plus an awesome cover of Led Zeppelin’s classic “Immigrant Song.”

DOB Viper Room

Here’s a video I shot of them singing their hit song “KARMA.”

The Rise and Fall of Babylon features seven powerhouse tracks, some of which speak to issues facing America today. Eric feels passionately about social justice, and has strong opinions about the current state of affairs in our country, which he took time to express Thursday night. In a previous interview, Eric explained the impetus behind the new album: “These are precarious times we live in. The Rise and Fall of Babylon signifies something that I feel has been a long time coming. Babylon, meaning the USA, is slowly spinning out of control and entering into vast turmoil. I feel we are at the beginnings of a revolution. one of which the likes we’ve never seen before. As a nation, we are no longer viewed in the regard we once were. The title reflects this shift and quite possibly a prelude of what’s to come.”

The album was produced by GRAMMY award winner and longtime DOB producer Andres Torres, one of the producers behind the Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee smash hit “Despacito.” The album was mixed by GRAMMY award winner Curt Schneider  (Augustana, Richie Sambora, Joe Bonamassa), and mastered by Dave Kutch (Bruno Mars, The Strokes, Outkast, Joe Perry).

The guys get right down to business with “Freedom,” a thunderous full-frontal assault on tyranny as powerful as anything I’ve heard in a long while. Ramon lays down blistering jaw-dropping riffs as Chris hammers out a galloping beat on the drums, anchored by Gui’s pummeling bass. With a passion that borders on fury, Eric brings goosebumps as he screams the searing lyrics:

Oppress us no more
We’ve waited for this day
Our rights have been taken
Your rule is coming to an end
The faster that we rise above
And we scream from our lungs
Freedom! Give us freedom back!
We crave freedom
Yes, we stand strong

Next up is “Without You,” the album’s lead single that I reviewed upon it’s release in late July. The hard-hitting track is a defiant rebuke to someone who’s betrayed you, killing the love you once felt toward them. Brimming with awesome instrumentals, the track is an exhilarating rock song. Ramón’s guitar work is a thing of wonder, and Gui nearly blows the speakers with his crushing bass line, aided and abetted by Chris’s pounding drums.

DOB slows things down a bit on the beautiful anthem “We Are the Ones,” a hopeful clarion call for us to all come together and unite in our fight against those who try to divide us. An especially notable aspect on this track for me are the gorgeous soaring backing vocals. And speaking of vocals, Eric has a phenomenal singing voice. As I’ve already noted, he can elicit chills with power and fury, or bring us to tears with heartfelt tenderness. He does both on the fantastic, emotion-packed “Lift.” And, needless to say, the guys unleash their sonic weaponry once again with mind-blowing instrumentals.

By this point in the album, I’m practically speechless at how incredibly good it is, wondering if DOB can sustain the high quality of the songs. I’m quickly reassured within seconds of hearing “Idiosyncracies,” a pile-driver of a track about struggling to keep a failing relationship from breaking apart: “I’ll fight to keep my sanity. I really want to believe in us, in you and me. There’s harmony, yeah! But I’ll fight to keep my spirit free.” And they keep on delivering the goods with the uplifting anthem “Simple Life.” This is one gorgeous rock song. Everything about it is perfection – lyrics, instrumentals, Eric’s vocals, and the superb production and arrangement.

The guys close the album with “Civilized,” a real head-banger of a tune. Gui sets the rhythm with a pulse-pounding bass line, then Ramon dives in with scorching riffs while Chris commences to attack his drum kit with all the strength he can muster. Eric snarls the lyrics that speak to someone he’s obsessed with who’s hurting him: “I’m out of my head, every time I realize all those things you said to me. So cruel, unkind. From the moment I wake, with every step that I take, draws me closer into you.”

The Rise and Fall of Babylon is a meticulously crafted album on every level, and a testament to the exceptional songwriting and musicianship of these four supremely talented gentlemen. It’s an effort they should be extremely proud of, and I’m so proud of them! I’ve gotten to know them all personally, and they’re as humble and kind as they are skilled at making music. I’m honored to be their friend.

Follow Disciples of Babylon: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream their music: Spotify / Soundcloud / Reverbnation / YouTube

Purchase: iTunes / Amazon

DISCIPLES OF BABYLON – Single Review: “Without You”

DOB

L.A. alternative rock band Disciples of Babylon have released their first official single “Without You” from their forthcoming album The Rise and Fall of Babylon, scheduled to drop this October. I recently wrote a piece announcing the album, which you can read here. As I’ve stated in previous posts about them, Disciples of Babylon (DOB) are one of my favorite indie bands, so I’ve been anxious to hear new music from them, and “Without You” does not disappoint.

DOB consists of Eric Knight on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Ramón Blanco on lead guitar, Gui Bodi on bass and backing vocals, and Chris Toeller on drums. All are seasoned musicians who collectively bring a lot of talent to the band, creating a dynamic signature sound defined by epic melodies, Ramón’s killer guitar work, Gui’s monumental bass lines, Chris’s nimble percussion, and Eric’s commanding vocals. Their song lyrics are always deeply compelling, whether addressing social injustice, troubled relationships or the personal struggle to find truth and meaning in our lives.

“Without You” is loaded with all those signature elements, immediately blasting through the speakers with a soaring chorus and an assault of powerful instrumentals. Chris aggressively pounds out the beat while Gui lays down an impressive bass line, establishing a solid foundation for Ramón’s mind-blowing riffs. This man can play guitar, and I’m confident that as his career continues to grow, he’ll be included among the great guitarists of today.

With his impassioned vocals, Eric snarls the biting lyrics that speak to someone who’s betrayed you, killing the love you once felt toward them: “Without You, I can’t get past these lies that I lived with you. I doubt you could ever feel the same as I’ve felt for you. But this fight, has spiraled me out of control.”

It’s an awesome track, and a harbinger of more to come from The Rise and Fall of Babylon.

Follow Disciples of Babylon:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud / Reverbnation / YouTube

Purchase:  iTunes / Amazon

DISCIPLES OF BABYLON unveil first song “Freedom” from their forthcoming album ‘The Rise and Fall of Babylon’

Hollywood, California-based rock band Disciples of Babylon unveil “Freedom,” the first track from their forthcoming album The Rise and Fall of Babylon, today, and it’s awesome! “Freedom” is immediately available to fans who pre-order the album (pre-order begins Friday July 14 at 3:30 p.m. ET). The lead single “Without You” is scheduled to be released the week of July 24.

“These are precarious times we live in,” exclaims front man Eric Knight. “The Rise and Fall of Babylon signifies something that I feel has been a long time coming. Babylon, meaning our country (the USA) is slowly spinning out of control and entering into vast turmoil. I feel we are at the beginnings of a revolution. one of which the likes we’ve never seen before. As a nation, we are no longer viewed in the regard we once were. The title reflects this shift and quite possibly a prelude of what’s to come.”

Disciples of Babylon (DOB) was founded in 2012, and includes Eric Knight on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Ramon Blanco on lead guitar, Gui Bodi on bass and backing vocals, and Chris Toeller on drums. The band draws its influence from such Rock legends as Muse, The Foo Fighters, Queen, The Who, Stone Temple Pilots, U2 & Led Zeppelin. According to the band’s bio, “Our main musical aspirations are to incorporate key stylistic elements of all great Rock music eras into our music to create a large stadium-worthy sound that thrills all audiences, and proves once and for all that Rock music is here to stay.”  I say hooray to that!

All seasoned musicians, the individual members of DOB, prior to joining the band, have accumulated several national releases independently, some having opened for some of the biggest names in Rock music, including Aerosmith, KISS, The Dave Matthews Band, and Kid Rock. The individual band members have toured extensively throughout the United States and abroad, and more recently, DOB was featured at the Vans’ Warped Tour in 2016. In June, the band performed at the extreme sports event Dew Tour 2017, and just last weekend on July 8, they kicked off the 2017 Gladiator MMA Championship Series with a performance at the iconic Los Angeles Memorial Sports Coliseum.

DOB released their fantastic debut EP Welcome to Babylon in late 2015, which I reviewed. They will now follow up with their first full-length album The Rise and Fall of Babylon, which is scheduled for release in October. It was produced by GRAMMY award winner and longtime DOB producer Andres Torres, one of the producers behind the Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee mega-hit of the summer “Despacito” (which has held the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks and counting). The album was mixed by GRAMMY award winner Curt Schneider (Augustana, Richie Sambora, Joe Bonamassa), and mastered by Dave Kutch (Bruno Mars, The Strokes, Outkast, Joe Perry).

DOB The Rise And Fall Of Babylon Album Cover
DOB The Rise And Fall Of Babylon Album Cover

The Rise and Fall of Babylon | Track Listing
1. Freedom
2. Without You
3. We Are The Ones
4. Lift
5. Idiosyncrasies
6. Simple Life
7. Civilized

Follow Disciples of Babylon:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud / Reverbnation / YouTube

Purchase:  iTunes / Amazon

EP Review: ALL TAKEN – “Accept This”

All Taken is a two-piece alternative rock band based in Los Angeles. Comprised of long-time friends Daniel Daghlarian and Avo Karapetyan, the duo formed in late 2015 and released a strong debut single “Burning Red” in 2016. The guys have now followed up with Accept This, a five-track EP which dropped on March 18, 2017.

All Taken meld electronic and hard rock components, along with a bit of 90s grunge, to create their infectious alt-rock sound. Daniel plays guitar and sings lead vocals, and Avo pounds the drums and sings backup. Listening to Accept This, the thing that stands out the most for me is their exceptional musicianship. Daniel lays down some fine, nimble guitar work, and Avo’s drums are right on point. Also, the guys have written melodies that are both compelling and overflowing with irresistible hooks.

All Taken

House of Wolves” kicks off the EP with some really terrific riffs, set to a catchy, start-and-stop beat put down by Avo’s hammering drums and a generous dose of crashing cymbals. The song seems to be about having a nightmare: “The house of wolves, they call your name. They’re baring their fangs at you.”  The great second track “Hollow” opens with a nice strummed guitar, then aggressive shredded guitars and strong percussion take over. The song’s melodic beat at times reminds me of “No One Knows” by Queens of the Stone Age.  The song’s lyrics speak of someone who’s a shell of their former self: “Remember me for who I was. Not as I am – Hollow.

Rather Not” has a mellow, almost acoustic vibe (albeit done with gentle electric guitar) until, at the bridge, Daniel unleashes an awesome blistering guitar solo before the slow acoustic vibe returns to close out the song. The change-up creates tension that fits the lyrics: “Shadows in an empty room Why would you leave so soon? Do you feel uneasy? My vision is hazy.

Secret” is loaded with hooks and more awesome guitar work, and the guys harmonize especially well on this track. The song’s about not being able to escape the person you really are: “Running from your secrets, whisper words they are the sweetest. The words you confessed are now regrets. You can run, you can hide, but you can’t change what’s inside.” The final track “Restless Nights” has a bit of a psychedelic feel, courtesy of the slow, distorted guitar that’s overlain by shredded riffs, buzzing bass and muscular drums.

All Taken have produced a very good debut EP that showcases their solid songwriting and impressive music skills. Check it out here.

Connect with All Taken:   Facebook / Twitter /  Instagram

Purchase Accept This on iTunes and Bandcamp

EP Review: Disciples of Babylon – “Welcome to Babylon”

One of my favorite indie bands is Disciples of Babylon, a self-described “international rock band” based in Hollywood, California.  Formed in 2012, the band includes Eric Knight (lead vocals and rhythm guitar) Ramon Blanco (lead guitar), Gui Bodi (bass guitar) and Chris Toeller (drums).

DOB Photo

Three of the band members attended the Musician’s Institute College of Contemporary Music in Hollywood. Eric and Ramon, who is originally from Spain, had previously played music independently or with other musicians, but the two joined forces in 2012 and wrote their first song “Arrived” during their first meeting together. Later, Gui, who is Brazilian, was added as bassist and the band recorded “Arrived” and two other songs – “KARMA” and “The Great Pretend” – for their EP Welcome to Babylon.  Shortly after completion of the EP, the band added Ray Rojo as drummer, who has since been replaced by Chris Toeller.

The Disciples of Babylon’s music is influenced by some of their favorite rock bands, including Muse, The Foo Fighters, Queen, The Who, Stone Temple Pilots, U2 & Led Zeppelin. The band states that their songs “echo a progressive message that is meant to elevate and inspire the audience while still paying homage to classically definitive Rock nuances.” The band’s growing popularity is due not only to their great music and talent, but also to their strong sense of loyalty and commitment to their fans, which makes us want to return that loyalty and support for them.

The three songs on Welcome to Babylon sound like the best songs that Bon Jovi never recorded.  These guys are good! “KARMA,” a perfect kiss-off song, is hard rock candy.  The bombastic barrage of furious guitar, pulsing drums, and Eric’s aggressive vocals will immediately grab hold, leaving you wishing the song would go on for another 10 minutes. The video, which was filmed at the Salton Sea in the California desert south of the Coachella Valley, perfectly fits the track

“Arrived” is a beautiful, uplifting rock ballad about staying true to yourself and your dreams, and letting go of past mistakes that can keep you from moving forward. The poetic, compelling lyrics are matched by some really fine guitar and Eric’s heartfelt vocals.

“Don’t go straying, and the fight draw you in/Intoxicated, so abused.
Contemplating, for the choice I have to choose/Obligated, It’s so damn cruel.
Well I’m no fool. I have arrived, the challenge I face in this, I’ll survive. Conquered this time, swallowed my pride/My ignorance humbles this life, I’m alive.”

The third track, “The Great Pretend” is a rousing rock anthem of hope and forgiveness. The driving beat, awesome guitar riffs and Eric’s passionate soaring vocals make this an arena-worthy song.

“Release inside what you feel/Faith, will guide you and lead the way for you/Embrace the change let love heal/The angels surround you protect and take the shame from you”

To learn more about Disciples of Babylon, check out their website. Support these guys by liking them on facebook and following them on Twitter. Stream their music on Spotify or Soundcloud, and purchase it on itunes or Amazon.