Ides of Gemini return on April 28th, with their third album, Women… and no, they don’t cover the Def Leppard song of the same name. Covering Def Leppard might work for Ides of Gemini, but it probably wouldn’t be a great idea since they are a completely different brand of that’s difficult to classify.
Guitarist/songwriter Jason Bennett expounded on the band’s classification:
We get lumped in with a lot of metal bands, I guess for obvious reasons. There are some metal songs on the new album, but it’s really not a metal record. And we’re not exactly a goth band, either. So I don’t know what to call what we do. Is it heavy? Yes. Is it metal? Not exactly. I guess you could say it’s a mystery…
Even the haziest of musical entities undergo some process of regeneration between records. Ides of Gemini are no different, but their journey from their stunning 2012 debut, Constantinople, and its formidable follow-up, Old World New Wave — both released via post-metal mavens Neurosis’ Neurot Recordings — to brand new studio album Women, the band’s first for Rise Above Records, has been a turbulent and challenging one. Original drummer Kelly Johnston-Gibson incurred a career-threatening injury while on tour in the U.S. in 2015, causing Bennett and vocalist (and then-bassist) Sera Timms to reassess their next move. After enlisting Scott Batiste of Saviours as a stand-in drummer for a short West Coast tour, a new alliance was formed and Scott soon became a permanent member. The band then expanded to a quartet for the first time, as Sera relinquished her bass-playing duties to newcomer Adam Murray.
Bennett commented on the transition:
Having Sera make that change ended up being the best thing we ever did. It’s freed her up to do so much more vocally. She was somewhat confined by also playing bass, and now she doesn’t have to do that anymore — the sky’s the limit. Scott and Adam are awesome. It’s almost a new band. I think that the new record would’ve been pretty similar if we’d stayed a three-piece, but it wouldn’t have been this good. There’s a totally different dynamic now. We’re new and improved.
Produced by the inimitable Sanford Parker, Women also features guest appearances from Tara Connelly of Clay Rendering (on “Queen of New Orleans”) and bewitching singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle (on “She Has a Secret”). As ever, Ides of Gemini’s new songs uniformly fizz and crackle with a storyteller’s verve, as Timms’ emotionally devastating delivery and Bennett’s scabrous riffs paint vivid images of womanhood’s multifarious routes to the gates of Hell and beyond. As a result, the new album’s title was a no-brainer.
Bennett explained the album title:
Why Women? The short answer is that all the songs are about women! The way we work is that I title all the songs and Sera writes all the lyrics, and I give her an idea of what inspired each title for me. She can either take my idea and use it or totally discard it and come up with her own concept for it. Some of these women are mythological figures, some are historical figures, some are obscure actresses, and some are people we just made up. But every song is about a woman, so the title seemed obvious.
Women Track Listing:
1. Mother Kiev
2. The Rose
3. The Dancer
4. Raft of Medusa
5. Heroine’s Descent
6. Swan Diver
7. The Last Siren
9. She Has a Secret
10. Queen of New Orleans
Determined to make up for the time lost during recent upheavals, Ides of Gemini hope to use Women as a springboard to re-launch their assault on the consciousness of the world’s outcasts and eccentrics. Revitalized and armed with their finest album to date, these inveterate square pegs may yet prove to be unstoppable.
On future touring plans, Bennett states:
We want to tour as much as possible. There are a lot of places we haven’t been yet and a lot of places we haven’t been to in a while. We never finished the tour when Kelly got injured, so we haven’t done a full national tour since 2013 when we went out with Ghost. And we haven’t been to Europe since 2012, so it’s been a while. We can’t wait to get started.
Rock Hard \m/