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Thanatos Comes Alive! — Part 1 (the 90s)

by Thanatos

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about

Thanatos live is a fundamentally different creature from Thanatos studio. On their first two albums, the songs were mostly acoustic and built around singer, acoustic guitarist and songwriter Patrick Ogle’s voice and lyrics. Then in 1996, Ogle took the band out of the studio and on the road. And they (almost) rocked! On these two (almost) complete shows from ’96 and ’97 the focus of the music shifts from the acoustic to the electric guitar. Even though there are plenty of purely acoustic tracks here, William Tucker's electric rings out, making Thanatos live sound punchy and powerful, changing the tone from the often-retiring studio versions.

“A big part of this change was having Tucker in the band, but it is also the fact that if you play mellow music in a club — and we played lots of clubs — you wind up with people talking louder than the music!” says Ogle.

Until 1996 Thanatos had been a home studio project consisting of Ogle and keyboardist Sam Rosenthal. There never really was a thought of playing live. While living in Los Angeles, Ogle caught the live bug (there is no vaccine for this). You might say the “bug” bit him at a Chris Connelly Band show at the Troubador. That's the night Ogle met Tucker for the first time.

A few months later, back in Chicago, Ogle contacted old friend and former Godbullies bassist, Eric Polcyn who signed on to play with Thanatos live. Polcyn suggested asking Tucker to join the band. Ogle's initial reaction was “Why would he want to play with ME?” The music was something of a departure from the usual bands Tucker played in such as Ministry, Chris Connelly Band, Foetus, Pigface, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, and seminal NJ instrumental band, Regressive Aid (which later morphed into Scornflakes when vocals were added). After listening to Thanatos’ 1995 sophomore album AN EMBASSY TO GAIUS, Tucker signed on.

“He said, 'I get it, it is like a concept album,'” says Ogle. “And we went to work from there. We fundamentally changed some of the songs over time to fit the live environment. On stage, we worked on and worked out the songs that would wind up on the BLISTERS record.”

Thanatos' first show ever was in Hamilton, Ontario in '96 as part of a half dozen dates in the Northeast. The tour continued later the same year with the second leg starting at Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte, NC. That show is captured on THANATOS COMES ALIVE PART 1 (THE 90S). The other show on this recording is from Thanatos' third (and longest) tour, in ’97. It was the second-to-last show at Chicago venue, Thurston’s. Both shows capture the band as a three piece with no drummer. Tucker played electric guitar and did programming. Ogle sang and played acoustic guitar while Polcyn added bass, keyboards and occasional percussion.

Included is a dramatic and dirge-like version of Thanatos’ famed cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s "(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” and five tracks that would later appear on the 1997 BLISTERS album.

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released May 20, 2022

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Projekt Records Portland, Oregon

Projekt is America's premier independent label specializing in passionately intense introspective music in the ambient, electronic, ethereal & darkwave genres.

39-year-old Projekt is home to Steve Roach, Erik Wøllo, Michael Stearns, Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Aurelio Voltaire and many others. The label continues to nurture the careers of its select roster of artists.
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