Back in January of last year (2019), I was honored to introduce my readers to the extraordinary progressive rock band The Mayan Factor (you can read my article here). Originally formed in 2002, the Baltimore, Maryland-based band quickly built a huge following through the success of two critically acclaimed albums In Lake’ Ch and 44. One of their tracks “Warflower” has been streamed more than two million times on Spotify.
Tragically, their lead singer Ray Schuler died suddenly in 2011, leaving a void that sent the band and their fans reeling. They’d already been recording songs for a third album Yesterday’s Son, which they went ahead and released in 2012. After that album release, the remaining band members went on a hiatus and considered calling it quits, but the love and dedication of their fans persuaded them to soldier on. They eventually found a new lead vocalist in Lenny Cerzosie Jr., and reformed in 2015. Besides Lenny, who also plays rhythm guitar, the band lineup consists of Brian Scott (guitar), Kevin Baker (bass), Dan Angermaier (drums), and Jason Sage (percussion, backing vocals).
Since reforming, they’ve release a number of singles, starting in 2016 with the epic track “Ascension”, followed in 2018 with “Whispers” and “Hope”. Now, after a break of two years, they’re back with a dark new single “Peace“, and it was worth the wait. The song opens tentatively with what sounds like a slowly building fuzz-covered synth accompanied by gently crashing cymbals. Eventually it bursts forth with pulsating riffs of gnarly guitars, becoming a dramatic progressive rock song with elements that call to my mind the music of such greats as Tool and Pink Floyd, among others. The intricate guitar work is spectacular, and I love the interplay between the heavier fuzz-coated riffs and more delicate chiming guitars. Kevin’s deep, throbbing bass line provides the song’s beating heart, while Dan’s insistent drums add powerful strength and depth. Lenny’s haunting vocals are chilling as he snarls the lyrics that seem to speak of a relationship broken beyond repair, and seeking peace by moving on from a toxic situation:
The truth is it was all a suit I never fit into
Please hold on, don’t let go
I, I cannot live inside a lie
Please hold on, don’t let go
I, I cannot live inside your lies
Though nearly six minutes long, “Peace” is so good that it seems over in an instant. The fascinating and dramatic video, filmed in time-lapse and black and white, is a front-seat view from a car as it backs out of a suburban driveway, then drives through a subdivision and beyond. We’re a passenger in the car, watching the view as it speeds through a town and surrounding countryside, as if the driver is trying to run away. The car goes through a car wash at one point, possibly symbolizing a cleansing of not only the car but one’s soul. A small hula girl figure holding a ukelele that’s attached to the dash is in the center of our view as we speed down the road. She’s eventually joined by a witch doctor figure also holding a ukelele as day turns to night and we continue on our journey. After seemingly driving all night, morning returns as we make our way back home and pull into the driveway, having gone full circle. We’re left to ponder whether anything has really changed at all?
Watch the video and decide for yourself.