Agents of the Sun Rise from the Ashes and Unleash 'Monarchs of a Fallen Society' Oct. 11 on DCide Records

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Agents of the Sun will be releasing their sophomore 'Monarchs of a Fallen Society' album Oct. 11 on DCide Records.

Agents of the Sun will be releasing their sophomore "Monarchs of a Fallen Society" album Oct. 11 on DCide Records.

"It's been an ugly battle, but we finally got to make the record we wanted to make," explains guitarist Jason Fubler of Agents of the Sun.

The Baltimore-based quintet's new album is the follow-up to their 2003 debut, "Aurora" (DCide), which was described by Drum! magazine as having "intelligent craftsmanship, a strong alt-pop sensibility, a gift for making complexity sound easy."

In an A+ review, The Aquarian raved, "an incredibly strong modern rock band that delivers catchy songs with plenty of thought and oomph. Amazingly commercial and still very, very smart. Nice." proclaimed it "…an album that arrives bearing melodious fruit ripe for the picking…" and In Music We Trust concluded, "…Agents of the Sun's eclectic hard rock mix has the sound that today's radio desires, and they do an admirable job of incorporating it into 'Aurora.'"

The title, "Monarchs of a Fallen Society," is actually a literal reference to the Monarch butterflies soaring from the ashes of a burning city in the album's artwork, and this Phoenix metaphor runs throughout the band's story. "Like those butterflies in the artwork," declares singer Ray Dobson, "we felt like our band was artistically trapped in that burning city, but after a long struggle to present our music the way we hear it, we¹re finally flying up and away from the wreckage."

Agents of the Sun--Ray Dobson (vocals), Dave Dobson (drums), Jason Fubler (guitar), Ralph Rodriguez (guitar/vocals), Frank Hernandez (bass/vocals)--entered the studio to make their debut album within three months of their formation as a band, and though the joyous productivity that drove the songwriting was accurately expressed on the record, "it was way too pop and not nearly enough rock," summarizes guitarist/vocalist Ralph Rodriguez. "At the time, we questioned our label for leading us in a lighter, less aggressive direction, but it wasn't until we started touring that we realized we definitely rocked much harder than that album sounded."

With "Monarchs of a Fallen Society," the mounting frustrations of feeling misrepresented as a band fueled the writing and recording, and the harder-charging testosterone of the band's live show is finally captured, especially in the weighty gravity of 311 drummer Chad Sexton's bass-driven mixes and the mastering expertise of Joe Gastwirt (The Grateful Dead, The Beach Boys, The Used, Lifehouse). The album was produced by Agents of the Sun, Mike McAree and Steve Wright.

"We're still all about beauty and harmony in our music, but we're also pissed off and expect to be able to let you feel that side, too," says Ray. He continues, "For this record, we set out to crank up the two guitars, and if I felt the need to scream at the top of my lungs, I did. Period."

The soaring melodies and signature vocal harmonies that originally distinguished the band are still present, but now the full spectrum of the band's emotions is properly on display, all characterized by Ray's remarkable development and abilities as a singer. His honest, visceral expression ranges from near crooning to blood-curdling screams carefully placed within the platform of frenetic drumming, melodic bass lines, and intricately orchestrated guitars. The musicianship and performances are stellar.

As for the subject material of the record's lyrics, it's clearly a bittersweet world for Ray. He favors nature's expanses in his imagery (e.g. starscapes, oceans), but while he often comments on its beauty, he usually references a darker side with such lines as "standing on the shores to nowhere," from the song "Wounds." "When I look at the ocean, I'm overwhelmed by the potential of nature's beauty, but I also see a lot of emptiness, and this album is mostly a lot of black emptiness because failed potential seems to be weighing on me a lot the last few years."

Specific themes like failed relationships, escapism, and betrayal, are cut from the traditional angst mold, largely because Ray often writes his lines on the spot in practice as the band writes the music. "The band starts playing and the words and melodies come out according to how I feel then and there," he states. "I go back over my lines--a lot actually--but I never try to be too clever and prefer to keep things as honest and true to the basic inspiration that comes to me as the music unfolds."

Honesty was clearly the key in the band's search to create their music as they wanted it heard. "This time, we knew what we wanted, we didn't second guess ourselves according to styles or let outside influences steer us down some path we had no business on," asserts Jason. "We had to fight hard and it took a long time to finish, but we know we were right 'cause everyone--us, Chad, our manager, our label--loves this record."

In touring news, road warriors Agents of the Sun (who's shared the stage with 3 Doors Down, Cky, Saliva, Cold and Trustcompany) have been tapped to perform on the side stage and at after-parties at various stops along 311's U.S. trek starting next month. A formal U.S. tour is currently in the works and will kick off in September. Stay tuned for details.


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