Amber Asylum - "TOT" (audio) (premiere)

The San Francisco band puts a neoclassical twist on a doom metal classic.

Led by visionary composer/multi-instrumentalist Kris Force, Amber Asylum have been artfully blending neoclassical and dark ambient music for nearly 20 years now, and have just released their latest album Sin Eater this past Friday 4 December. As usual the pairing of ornate string instrumentation and dark, gothic themes casts an intoxicating spell, but nowhere does it work better than on the wonderful cover of Candlemass's 1999 song "TOT". By stripping the composition of its doom metal bombast and instead focusing more on minimalism and contemplation, it packs a powerful emotional punch.

"It was suggested by our violist, Sarah Rosalena Brady, that we cover 'TOT' and we all fell into line behind it," Forse explains. "It was an 'aha' moment. The lyrics paint very evocative and powerfully bleak imagery of a cold a barren place where everything is...dead. One must have death before inviting the Sin Eater to dinner."

The Cigarette: A Political History (By the Book)

Sarah Milov's The Cigarette restores politics to its rightful place in the tale of tobacco's rise and fall, illustrating America's continuing battles over corporate influence, individual responsibility, collective choice, and the scope of governmental power. Enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 5. "Inventing the Nonsmoker".

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