Now that I’ve shared Joe Floyd’s original mix of Transition and the sordid story behind it, I’m going to move on to some ultra-rare Destiny’s End studio material. As usual, right click on the links below and “save as” to download the MP3s. [Update – 29 Nov.: Had some technical difficulties with the server housing the MP3s, but it has been fixed. Comments have also been enabled and fixed. Feel free to leave one. Happy downloading! πŸ˜‰ ]

breathedeepthedark Destiny's End Rarities! | Cirith Ungol Online
Breathe Deep the Dark cover painting by Rainer Kalwitz

“Thief of Life” was recorded during the Breathe Deep the Dark sessions in early 1998 at Bill’s Place in North Hollywood, CA, with Bill Metoyer behind the board for engineering duties. It was meant to be the Japanese bonus track. The reasoning being that kids in Japan usually had to shell out the equivalent of $30 (U.S.) for a single CD, so bands usually gave them a little something extra. Metal Blade had a habit of licensing their releases to JVC in Japan, and we were told by Brian Slagel and Mike Faley that this would probably be the case with Breathe Deep. Somehow, despite the fact that the album was well received in the Land of the Rising Sun as an import, Metal Blade dropped the ball and Breathe Deep was never licensed to JVC or another Japanese label. Breathe Deep remained on Burrn Magazine’s import metal chart for several months, and I’m sure if there had been a Japanese release, it would’ve been far easier for Japanese headbangers to get their hands on the album. Metal was at an all-time low in America (it was the saggy-pants era), but the Japanese were still devouring it like candy. The studio recording of “Thief of Life” never saw the light of day, though we played it several times live in Texas. We nicknamed it “Thief of Beef.” Not many people are aware this one exists, so it’s definitely time to share.

raybradbury Destiny's End Rarities! | Cirith Ungol Online
Ray Bradbury and his cat

“Thief of Life” started out as several riffs bassist Nardo Andi brought to rehearsal, inspired by King Diamond. Dan DeLucie and I interpreted and embellished them on guitar and added a bunch of parts, while drummer Brian Craig honed the arrangement and dynamics. Dan and I are both big Ray Bradbury fans, and Dan loaned James the collection Quicker Than the Eye to read Bradbury’s short story “The Finnegan.” No theme or message involved. It’s just about a giant trapdoor spider. James was responsible for most of the lyrics. Like many of King Diamond’s songs, this one became a fun little horror yarn. 

I played the opening solo. When I doubled the lead, I was a bit behind the first track, which made for a trippy delay effect. Dan’s solo comes in the middle of the tune. There’s a short dual guitar harmony in between the verses which spiced “Thief” up further.

Another tune we worked on during the Breathe Deep sessions was something Nardo wanted to call “Symbol of the Soul.” I wrote some riffs for it too and toyed around with an alternate set of lyrics, this time called “Demise of a Lie.” Those words never would’ve flown in DE. Anyhow, “Symbol of the Soul” was left unfinished, and part of it still remains on the multi-track ADATs wherever they’re hiding now.

61T6SH6V7ZL Destiny's End Rarities! | Cirith Ungol OnlineIn late 1998 we were approached to contribute a track for Necropolis Records’ King Diamond tribute album. Being enormous fanboys of the King, we accepted and picked this song off Fatal Portrait, the first KD album. It’s my fave of the two tributes we recorded. Because this one was banged out quick there are a couple of rough spots in the guitar solos. Our pal Mike Grant didn’t beat around the bush in making that observation when he visited the studio. Who can outdo Andy LaRocque and Michael Denner?! They are two of the most tasteful and skilled axemen in all of metal. Andy’s lead tone is like melted butter! This marked our first time at Silver Cloud Recording (the old Burbank location) with engineer/co-producer Joe Floyd (also guitarist for ’80s metallers Warrior). We stayed very faithful to King and really didn’t alter anything outside of some improvised guitar solos. 

This is an immortal metal classic. Everybody, non-metalheads included, knows it, and it’s always kinda foolhardy to mess with perfection. Ronnie James and Co. were a force to be reckoned with. But Century Media wanted us on their Dio tribute and we were able to piggyback it with King Diamond’s “Dressed in White.” Again, it was a rush job. Unlike the original, there are no keyboards on DE’s version. Dan tackled the solo and did an admirable job, considering he had to live up to Viv Campbell’s shred-tastic lead. We didn’t change too much, and I almost feel like it was a waste of time to attempt the flawlessness of Dio. Our studio time could’ve been better spent on an original tune. Oh well, it’s another rare piece of DE history.

4. Rock 101 FM KLOL radio ad for Breathe Deep the Dark and DE’s debut gig in Houston, Texas

3 20 98deticketcardis Destiny's End Rarities! | Cirith Ungol Online

KLOL is a sadly defunct pure rock radio station that was based in Houston. It was a lot like KNAC (105.5 FM) in SoCal. This MP3 is a plug for our first gig (3/20/98) at Cardi’s, Houston’s premier club for heavy rock and metal. I love how the voiceover dude pronounces it “Deshtiny’s End.” Classic! How ’bout the ticket on the right?! Tiny?! I hear she’s downright small. πŸ˜› Spelling wasn’t high on the priority list at Cardi’s. When I first heard the ad I was reminded of the cool promo clip that starts off Coroner’s self-titled disc. The cassette of this is one is probably long gone. Luckily I copied it off James many moons ago. I was pretty nervous about our first show. Hell, I’d never gigged out of CA before. Cardi’s was packed to the rafters, a major contrast to the reception a traditional metal band would’ve received in ’98 on the Sunset Strip in Hollyweird.

I had some trouble with the little rack I was using for my tuner and effect unit and nearly missed the first song. James had the sound guy play a suitably spooky Dead Can Dance track off Within the Realm of a Dying Sun as our intro, and I just barely managed to bypass my rack and go direct into my amp. Fixed the connection after the first song. I was a tad sloppy at first, but warmed up pretty quick. I think a lot of people don’t realize how much pro metal bands do things themselves. No roadies, no management, etc. Especially in the late ’90s. It was the same for Iced Earth and Nevermore when we toured in May-June ’99. Dan and I were changin’ strings alongside Jeff Loomis, Tim Calvert and Jon Schaffer. Not to mention loading the gear trailer. Not a stereotypical singer, Matt Barlow actually lifted plenty of amps and speaker cabs. It was a breath of fresh air to actually have a guitar tech in Europe in Aug. ’99, and I was very appreciative for all the grunt work Sacred Steel’s crew did on our behalf.

Members of different Helstar lineups got up and did a set following DE at this gig. Larry Barragan borrowed Dan’s Ibanez Joe Satriani signature and Aaron Garza played my B.C. Rich Warlock.

PMG Warlock Destiny's End Rarities! | Cirith Ungol Online
’83 Warlock at Cardi’s, courtesy of Dave Rivera

Aside from this promo, DE did tons of radio interviews. Unfortunately I don’t have any of those. What I do own is the goofy DE appearance on the Nastyman Show. The Nastyman was a comedy shock-jock a la Howard Stern. He was actually on the same station as Howard (KLSX 97.1 FM). Dan, Brian, Nardo and I were invited to be guests by Nastyman’s pal Sheena Metal (an alias for Jenny Sherwin). Dan couldn’t make it, but we were joined by Kragen Lum and Vince Levalois from Prototype. Nardo basically took over. It was hilarious and extremely dirty (“doity!”). We didn’t talk much about metal. The boisterous babble ranged from flavored lube to the stripper who wanted to “try out” for us in person. Ironically, my mom was the one who stayed up late and taped it for me. Nice! I might unleash it on the unsuspecting world later. Until then, enjoy these odds ‘n’ sods!

Categories: Blog

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x