You've probably never heard of them. That's cool, they were pretty obscure.
Even more obscure is a side project by the lead singer and two of the other band members, Brave Saint Saturn. They played a different style of music from FIF (no horns, for one thing) and were a studio project, producing a trilogy of concept albums that they call the Saturn 5 Trilogy. The third one just finally came out earlier this year, and I took the opportunity to purchase all three!
Across these three albums (So Far From Home, The Light Of Things Hoped For and Anti-Meridian) they tell the story (through music and with the occasional poetic interlude) of the crew of the USS Gloria, a manned spacecraft on a mission to map Saturn's rings. While in orbit around Titan, a crippling disaster forces the ship into a geosynchronous orbit on the dark side of the moon, cut off from radio and sunlight. They're presumed lost, until almost two years later the ship finally drifts out into the sunlight, and contact is re-established.
One of the crew sacrifices his life in order to detonate the ship's fusion core, and jettison the ship's escape pod, the Starling, on a course back to home, saving the other two members of the crew, as well as the mission data. After being towed back to earth by a Russian vessel, the Invictus, the data is examine, and it's revealed that when the fusion core was detonated against the Starling's copper casing in the void of space, they had inadvertently created a process for creating antimatter. The Starling Method, as it's called, is formulated, and ushers in a new era of spaceflight and resolves the energy issues that had been plaguing mankind.
The ending's a little hokey, yeah, but that's just the summarized version (and most of this isn't made explicit in the albums itself; it's all in the manual, as they say). As it's told musically, it's really beautiful.
I am hosting these three albums here, for your downloading pleasure, because more poeple should hear them! After a few days I'll be locking the post to keep the copyright police from landing on me. NOTE, though: If you listen to these albums, and you like, them, then please, please, please, please go to their website and purchase the albums. These guys are not big-name recording artists who are rolling in money! They are the little guys and they need every sale they can get.
With that said.
Oh, and these albums all deal with Christian themes, sometimes explicitly, sometimes not. Doesn't bother me because, well, I am one, but if you're allergic to religion in your music this is probably not for you.
Just off the border of your waking mind,
There lies another time,
Where darkness and light are one.
And as you tread the halls of sanity,
You feel so glad to be unable to go on.
I have a message from another time.
The first album, So Far From home, traces the Gloria's mission from takeoff, to its arrival in Titan's orbit.
02. Space Robot Five
03. Independence Day
04. Shadow of Def
07. Under Bridges
08. Data Stream One
10. Moon Shines Bright
In perfect orbit they have circled,
As the light of many worlds falls softly on their skin.
And days here pass like minutes;
One moment of brilliant daylight will shift into the next,
A flash of dark behind some distant, lost moon.
And then, it is over:
Like the pause the before waking,
Sleep is replaced by light, and life, and hope.
It is the light of one far away sun,
that has beckoned them to leave,
And the hope of home that has lifted them from slumber.
The hope that, though the dark may come,
The sun also rises.
The second album, The Light Of Things Hoped For, begins with the completion of the Gloria's mission, and the crew planning the journey home. However, and accident pushes them into the dark side of Titan and cripples the craft. At the end of the album, they emerge from the darkness back out into the sunlight, and re-establish contact with the Earth.
02. The Sun Also Rises
10. Heart Still Beats
11. Babies Breath
12. I Fell Away
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad, they shall be sane;
Though they sink through the sea, they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost, love shall not;
And Death shall have no dominion.
The third and final album, Anti-Meridian, starts with an excellent cover of Here Is The News by the Electric Light Orchestra. It tells the story of the crew of the Gloria's return in the Starling, and the events that followed.
01. Here Is The News
05. When You Burn Too Fast
06. Through Depths of Twilight
07. Hero's Homecoming
09. Fields of the Fallen
10. Always Just Beneath The Dawn
11. Fortress of Solitude
12. Blessed Are The Landmines
14. Begin Again
15. These Frail Hands