Get some instrumental rock into your life with the intriguing Boston-based Hymns for the Angels. The band is the fruits of the labour of one-man-band Dan Lyons, who released the second album from this project The Spinning Heart earlier this month.
The first track Dan shared with us, Disappearing Shadow, is a bit of an epic, coming in at more than eight minutes long. It begins in mellow fashion with light piano then repeating synthy sound and other flickering instrumentals gradually creeping in through a prolonged introduction. A bassy noise builds then drops into sombre atmospheric noise before building up again with flickering guitars.
The track is very much chilled out but follows on from the hard-hitting previous release Corridor of the Mammoth, which again starts slow but builds up to a crescendo of rocky noise with heavy guitars, pounding drums and a piercing high-pitched synth.
We spoke to the man behind the band, Dan Lyons, to find out a bit more about him and his music. Read on below…
GR: Who are Hymns for the Angels? And where are you from?
DL: “Hymns for the Angels is a pseudonym for Dan Lyons. I am from Boston MA.”
GR: You just released Disappearing Shadow. What should people be expecting from the song? What inspired you to write it?
DL: “Disappearing Shadow is the last track of a trilogy of songs found on the album The Spinning Heart. To me, this song represents the aftermath of the two tracks that come before it. The trilogy is as follows; The Magic Door, Corridor of the Mammoth, Disappearing Shadow. I would recommend listening to these 3 songs in order, to get the full effect. The inspiration for Disappearing Shadow came from the violent nature of the track before it. People can expect a minimalistic intro, followed by an introverted and reflective journey throughout the rest of the song.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
DL: “I have been told that my sound is hard to categorize. When I was a child, I used to make long instrumental rock songs and record myself on a tape deck that my dad gave me. This was before I knew that post-rock existed. On my new album The Spinning Heart, I let myself go back to that time in my life, and tried not to place rules on it.
“Along the course of my lifetime, Tool was a major influence for me, along with Caspian in later years when I discovered the genre of post-rock. My ‘sound’ can be traced back to my childhood, along with elements of Tool, Caspian.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
DL: “My influences for music writing are life events and journeys, and trying to let it all flow out into the songs. I sort of enter a deep hypnotic mindset when I’m writing, and I try not to judge any part of it. Themes tend to be apparent to me after the fact.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
DL: “I would have to say that musically Tool and Caspian are my main influences. Beyond that, people might be surprised to know that I feel some subtle influences come from musical acts outside the genre, such as The Scorpions, ZZ Top, Meshuggah, Boston, King Crimson and Yes.”
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2019?
DL: “I have more coming for 2019. I actually have a few more songs that never made it onto the album. They are already recorded and partially mixed. I started a newsletter, and I plan on sending some of these unreleased tracks to the newsletter subscribers before I master them and officially release them. The newsletter signup can be found at danlyons.org I will also be releasing music from a second solo project I’ve been working on too. All those updates can also be found in the newsletter.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
“I just want people to know what a journey this has been for me. I did all the writing, instrumentation, recording, mixing and mastering. I am so lucky to have this opportunity, and I am thankful for anyone who listens to my music, and joins me on this journey.”