Artist: Kayo Dot
Album: Moss Grew on the Swords and Plowshares Alike (2021)
Label: Prophecy Records
Genre: Avant-Garde / Gothic Metal / Darkwave
Kayo Dot are a shape-shifting experimental band from Brooklyn led by the inimitable multi-hyphenate Toby Driver. Over the course of the band’s history the group has recorded and performed music ranging from neo-classical chamber music (‘Blue Lambency Downward’) to neon-drenched synthwave (‘Coffins on Io’) and sprawling progressive metal (‘Hubardo’).
With ‘Moss,’ Toby has invoked a spiritual connection to Kayo Dot’s previous form, the experimental death metal group Maudlin of the Well. Bolstered by the soaring lead guitar of former Maudlin guitarist Greg Massi, the songs on ‘Moss’ take on a particularly epic scope, an expansion of the proof-of-concept of this style from the group’s previous album, the excellent and underrated ‘Blasphemy.’ Driver handles most of the other instrumentation, laying down rhythmic bass lines, flighty and progressive drum grooves, and layers of synth pads to create a dark, hazy, and foreboding aura that envelops the listener from track one. His vocal performance is once again stellar, crisscrossing between soaring clean choruses (‘Void in Virgo’ contains one of his finest) and piercing death metal howls (everywhere else).
This sense of eclecticism, coupled with a blurry production that doesn’t do the music any favors, make entering the world of Kayo Dot a daunting supposition, but it is well worth taking the plunge into the ether for the rewards buried within.
Thomas Jacob Jr is a Producer, Composer, Singer-Songwriter, Music Educator and Digital Artist currently based in Arizona – Bringing us rare and interesting selections from his extensive Vinyl collection! For more content follow his vinyl-dedicated Instagram account