FIEFDOM OF ANGELS: SIDE ONE by Kevin Max (music review)

The lid on musician/poet/author Kevin Max’s imagination is slowly being peeled back as new glimpses of his Fiefdom Of Angels franchise continue to surface. From the first random clues as to the focus, story, and imagery of this new venture on through to the release of the Zero Issue of the graphic novel and, most recently, the release of the FIEFDOM OF ANGELS: SIDE ONE EP, my curiosity has steadily evolved into fully engaged interest. I certainly think that caution should be exercised when toying with the mythology and the reality of angels, but, one certainly has the right to wonder why the topic hasn’t been subject to such a deep exploration, the likes of which Max is now attempting to execute, before. While I really can’t offer any additional insight or even an opinion about the substance of the series (due to the fact that only the introductory Zero Issue has been released so far – with further issues and a possible novel yet to come) I can say that the musical tapestry that Max is skillfully weaving around the project through the release of the FIEFDOM OF ANGELS: SIDE ONE EP will only heighten the expectations for future releases whether they be in the form of new graphic novel issues, text, or film. Unlike the original 1983 Real Life version of “Send Me An Angel,” Kevin Max’s cover version opens the EP with a hauntingly grandiose, atmospheric feel that sets the tone for the EP as an entirely different direction from past releases by Max. “End of the Beginning,” successfully blends a clear Beatles influence into the mix without compromising the unique thematic integrity of the project as a whole. The track, in particular, harkens back to some of the material released in 2001 on Kevin Max’s first solo release STEREOTYPE BE. While “Shadow Play” doesn’t stick out above the rest for any particular reason, it does serve as an added layer of dramatic contemplative texture that could have really set the stage for Max’s cover of Muse’s “Take A Bow” had “Shadow Play” been sequenced to play just before “Take A Bow,” which, unfortunately, it wasn’t. What comes before “Take A Bow” is a cover of Queen’s 1980 “Dragon Attack.” While it’s a decent song in its own right, it seems to be somewhat out-of-place in terms of the mood and feel of the EP as a whole. “Take A Bow”, an epic theatrical climax to the EP, ensures that EP finishes with a bang and leaves the listener wanting  more. The EP certainly accomplishes what all good teasers and movie trailers do: build interest and lead the listener curious about what is yet to come as Kevin Max’s brainchild continues to unfold before us.

Life Defined

My daughter said this evening, while I pretended to be a genie granting her three wishes, that she wished God would make her an angel. My reaction was that I’m not sure how God would do that, but, that it sounded nice…or something like that.

Later, while mopping the kitchen floor in anticipation of her fifth birthday party tomorrow, it hit me: the common explanation for how people become angels. That thought quickly transitioned into a sudden awareness of how fragile we all are as humans. The chain-reaction momentum quickly picked up as shivers of panic started to infiltrate my psyche and, for a moment, I pondered to the thought of losing her, like so many other parents, due to diverse and unfortunate circumstances.

It is moments like these that I realize how fortunate I am to have my wife and my children and that I become aware, more than ever, of the real and undeniable dynamic that exists between life and death: love. It is the foundation on which life is built. Denying love in the interest of self is denying life in the interest of death.

Tomorrow morning when she wakes up, we will cuddle in the big chair in the living room as usual. I will hold her close, wish her a happy birthday, and tell her that I love her.


For some reason, I never took the idea of angels, or guardian angels, seriously. Recently, however, I came across the following words spoken by Christ within the context of discussing the connection between God and children:

“See that you do not look down on these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:10 NIV

 As a father to a four year old little girl (with a baby boy due in October) this verse is extremely comforting to me. I often find myself worrying about the dark circumstances of the future world that they will be living in. However, Jesus has guided the willing for far longer than I can comprehend and he will be faithful to guide my kids, too.