Released 30 May 2014 by Birds Robe Records (BRR043)
Official release description:
Anubis’ third album, Hitchhiking to Byzantium is the first Anubis album not to have a plot or narrative. It's more of a thematic work, based on modern life. "It's about growing older and trying to do better at things", says guitarist Dean Bennison, "and about the excuses we make for ourselves, all the crutches and braces that we find for ourselves along the way, and how good and bad they are for us". "It's perhaps a little more esoteric than the last two albums", say guitarist Douglas Skene, "although I think at core they all touch upon the same theme - which is what is and isn't important to people in their lives". "You do still get the sense that it's someone" says drummer Steven Eaton, "Someone who is on a journey. And the hope is that when they get there, they're happy with what they've found".
However, the journey to find Byzantium hasn't been easy. Nearly three years, and a new line-up later, the band find themselves under pressure to deliver a record that matches up to the expectations left by it's predecessors. "We've had a lot of motivation because there is so much to live up to" says Moulding, candidly. But that pressure has already yielded rewards. Most importantly, the addition of new bassist Anthony Stewart. "Anton's just fantastic" says Dave, "and although he didn't arrive in time to play on this record, he knew exactly what did need to be done and has done it brilliantly, really adding to our chemistry". "He's just a phenomenal player" says Robert Moulding, who did play the bass on Byzantium, "absolutely, definitely the standout when it came to looking to people to work with".
Whilst it doesn't have the narrative cinematic approach, Hitchhiking to Byzantium does have an emotional punch quite unlike anything before on an Anubis record. "Whilst we hid all our very real emotions behind conceits before - haunted workhouses and lost friends - this record is about the things that happen every day" says David. "I feel that there's more of us in there - the hurdles that life throws at us and the only way to feel true inner peace - by examining the love around you. It's certainly an introspective record - but it's real life. It's about you, it's about me, it's about all of us. Hitchhiking to Byzantium. That journey is life."
From the pastoral, almost celtic feel of the opener Fadeout, the music is immediately quintessential Anubis. Whether it’s the restrained rage and aggression of A King with no Crown or Blood is Thicker than Common Sense, the complex polymetric powerhouse that is Partitionists, the epic sweep of A Room with a View, the humanist hymn Crimson Stained Romance and the contemplative Silent Wandering Ghosts or the accessible and melodic Dead Trees and Tightening the Screws, the musical DNA remains resolutely intact. Powerful, melodic cinematic progressive rock, multi-part vocal harmonies, conceptual and thought-provoking lyrics and an inventive and idiosyncratic arrangement style.