Jason Bieler and the Baron Von Bielski Orchestra have returned once again with ‘Postcards From The Asylum‘, the follow up to 2021’s critically acclaimed ‘Songs For The Apocalypse‘.
The Baron Von Bielski Orchestra’s music has been described as Nordic Ambient Post-Classical Satanic Love Songs for Nomadic Peoples Living Above the Arctic Circle catering specifically for those who staff Musk Oxen Rescues and wear hemp based sweaters.When aggressively prodded for comment The Baron says…“Well, Art is Art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know.”
Renowned as a writer, producer, raconteur, comedian, singer-songwriter, fashion icon and hand-model (no, me neither?), Jason Bieler and the Baron Von Bielski Orchestra is new to me but having heard the single, Heathens, released earlier this year, I was intrigued enough to want to hear the whole album and once I’d heard it, I was even more intrigued…
When you read the who’s who of guests on the album, you get some idea of the musical style that it will follow. With the stellar talents of Andee Blacksugar (Blondie, KMFDM, Peter Murphy), Marco Minnemann (The Aristocrats), Todd “Dammit” Kerns (Slash & The Conspirators, Toque), Edu Cominato (Geoff Tate, Soto) and Ryo Okumoto (Spock’s Beard, Progject) on board, it sounds to me like we are in for a bit of mad ride of progressive rock, metal and hard rock and, if that’s the case, please count me in!
The tongue-in-cheek black humour and out there lyrics are blended with some seriously sublime musical talent to create a pretty unique piece of musical theatre, one with a deliciously dark side to it! Covering thirteen (unlucky for some!) tracks and coming in at nearly seventy-five minutes long, ‘Postcards From The Asylum’ is infused with dystopian, steampunk infused images, the brilliant album cover and art drew me in on its own. A mysterious, dark and enigmatic collection of tracks that always leave you guessing and always leave you wanting more.
The highlights for me include the hard rocking opener Bombay with its pedal to the metal energy and dynamic riffing, the excellent vocals being central to proceedings, single release Heathens has a really funky edge to its glam rock leanings and the guitar is pure 90’s hard rock. Mexico has an almost ballad-like gloss and is a beautiful piece of music that would not have been out of place on a mid 90’s platinum selling stadium rocker’s album ( it takes me back to my youth, that’s for sure) and Birds of Prey takes it a step further with its definite Guns N’ Roses sound.
Flying Monkeys is an edgy, syncopated track that steers the album on a more progressive course and I feel there’s a definite Marco Minneman influence to this very likeable song. The Depths is another addictive listen with its darker aura and insistent tone and Beneath The Waves is my favourite track on the album, a thunderous, high energy combination of hard rock and metal with an added progressive rock intellect. A properly intense grunge style gives Feels Just Like Love a jaunty edge and Deep Blue is superb symphonic prog very much in the Spock’s Beard vein.
This highly intriguing and throughly enjoyable musical experience closes with the elegant charms of Human Head and you’re left wondering what just happened. There is so much invention and musical virtuosity contained in this album’s pretty lengthy running time and it requires quite a few listens to really buy in to the story that is being laid out before you. Trust me, you need to persevere because ‘Postcards From The Asylum’ could be one of the most fascinating and beguiling records you will have the pleasure of listening to this year.
Released 14th April, 2023.
Order from bandcamp here: