THE MIGHTY BARD will finally release Beyond the Gate, their first new music for nine years and first to feature new singer, Benj, and drummer, Tom Mear, alongside founding members Dave Clarke on Guitars and Neil Cockle, formerly of Silmarillion, on keyboards; Mark ‘Cad’ Cadman on bass; and Mark Parker on violin.
Following on from 2014’s ‘Blue God and Other Stories’, Beyond the Gate brings a new voice and groove to The Mighty Bard sound and a whole new dynamic to the progressive musical landscape. Featuring all the elements you’d expect from classic prog, tracks include the eponymous title track, Beyond the Gate; Magician; Guarded Secret; Illusion; Compound The Problem; Secret Garden; and Last Orders. The album takes the listener on an exhilarating journey through light and shade to epic and baroque, complete with innovative rhythms, time signatures, song structures, and virtuoso playing.
The band has signed an agreement with the Epictronic label for the album’s worldwide distribution, which will see Beyond the Gate promoted in multiple territories and feature across numerous digital platforms for streaming and download. Digital release date: July 7th, 2023.
CD and vinyl versions of Beyond the Gate will be available later this year , and these can be pre-ordered via the band’s website: tmbmusicshop.com.
“The phrase ‘they just don’t make music like this anymore’ just about sums up Beyond the Gate,” explains The Mighty Bard founder member, Dave Clarke. “We strive for an eclectic mix of music on our albums and the prog community can rest assured that we have delivered that. Beyond The Gate is a work of passion that features almost an hour’s worth of intricate, emotive progressive rock, developed, honed, toned, and recorded over years. Featuring all The Mighty Bard trademarks – layered keyboards, lush guitars, and beautiful vocal harmonies – we believe we have produced a complex, beautiful, and epic album that comfortably stands alongside some of the best in classic rock. We’re confident that the unique mix of songs that music fans will discover on Beyond the Gate will make up for the amount of time we’ve been away.”
The title of ‘Beyond the Gate’ was inspired by a visit to the local pub near where Neil lives in Buckinghamshire. It, therefore, seemed only appropriate for the band to work with two incredible mixologists to produce it: John Watt, the producer, engineer, and writer, whose credits include the theme tune for the BBC TV series Dragon’s Den; and Yaron Fuchs, the New York-based Grammy-nominated uber-producer and engineer, who has worked with a veritable who’s-who of artists including Herbie Hancock, Annie Lennox, Christina Aguilera and Sting.
New singer Benj says: “I’m really excited to be a part of the renaissance of the Bard as we release some wonderfully eccentric and beautifully-produced songs to the Progressive world. Even if I weren’t in the band, the music would really strike a chord in me. Everything I love in music is here. In Beyond the Gate, I hope the wider classic rock community will get the same ‘happy place’ feeling I had when writing and recording, and that I now get when listening back to the lush, epic, and soulful tracks that feature on the album.”
The album cover art was carefully crafted by the celebrated artist Duncan Storr in collaboration with the band. Following the commission, Dave and Benj met up with Duncan, whose previous forays into musical illustration include working with Hawkwind, to discuss what the sleeve design might look like, and what characters or themes could feature. He listened to early versions of the tracks as he painted, slipping little easter eggs from Beyond the Gate’s lyrics into the final design, which superbly encapsulates the ‘quintessentially British’ concept behind the album’s creation.
Concludes Neil Cockle: “I’ve played in many groups spanning different genres, including dance, new wave, and heavy metal, but keep going back to my roots: Prog rock. When Dave and I started the band over 17 years ago, we found a great outlet for our joint songs, with the line-up soon augmented by Cad on bass. The addition of Benj, Mark, and Tom since the release of our first album has the band operating at a whole new level. With Benj’s layered harmonies and emotive voice taking us to heights we haven’t reached before, and Mark’s tuneful violin and Tom’s drumming providing the foundation for the melodies to weave in and out of, I feel our new album deserves to be heard at its very best. To me, Beyond the Gate means ‘The Freedom to be Prog Rock’. No rules and no barriers.”