The Minstrel Cycle was formed in 2004 by five Mountain Dew-addled high school friends who played both rock music and Dungeons & Dragons, and thirsted for a way to fuse their passions. The theatricality of rock and the pageantry of the high fantasy genre could meet in a blessed union, loud guitars and heavy drums mingling with mandolins and flutes like dwarves and elves drinking mead together at a magical forest hoe-down.
Eventually, that vision fused with an art form that has long lay dormant in popular music: the “side-long” song, 23-minute epics found on 1970s albums by the likes of Yes, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, and Vangelis. “The Legend of the Book-Looker” is such an epic, telling the story of a young man who, dissatisfied with mundane reality, discovers the “Books of Lore”, ancient tomes filled with dark mysteries and thrilling tales. In the course of reading from the books, he is sucked in to one of the stories and finds himself recast as a scribe in a medieval village called to a dangerous quest: rescue his little sister from a Goblin lair. But the goblins are only a warm up, as the Book-Looker soon discovers a greater evil lurking in the shadows of his fair valley home: the hideous Nosferatu.
The Minstreal Cycle Promo Photo 2
Such an adventurous yarn is typical of The Minstrel Cycle’s songs, and of their lives. Tales from the Books of Lore is an album five years in the making. Recording commenced in spring 2004, followed by additional sessions in the next two years. The Minstrel Cycle was put on hiatus as drummer Evan Burrows and guitarist/keyboardist Steve Kozak focused on their other band, CAW! CAW!, through an EP release and several tours. Having honed their skills over the years, the members of the Minstrel Cycle rolled their polyhedral dice and went about recording their album in the same attics and basements where they had so often cast their spells of Friendship and Melf’s Acid Arrow, with similarly stunning results.
Tales from the Books of Lore is out now as part of Slanty Shanty Records’ Tape Club.