On May 23rd 2017, Australian Prog Rock sextet Anubis released their fourth studio album, 'The Second Hand', following on from their critically acclaimed release 'Hitchhiking to Byzantium' (2014).
'The Second Hand' is, like the band's earlier work, a return to the narrative driven concept album format, charting the downfall of an aging media mogul, James Osbourne-Fox, who, after a severe brain injury is left paralysed and imprisoned in his own body and left to contemplate the futility of his life of corporate success.
The album seeks to address the notion of balance, the media's influence on those who consume it, and how the bias and hysteria benefits no-one but those who sign the cheques, dividing people and leading to political turbulence and unrest. The lyrics - written very early in 2016 - had, by the end of the year and recording process, become seemingly even more prescient with the media and moneyed interest's roles in influencing the results of referendums, elections and even conflicts worldwide.
Musically, 'The Second Hand' also channels some of the influence of its narrative-driven predecessors, with the stylistic diversity and dark heart of their debut 230503 (2009) and the classic symphonic progressive rock sound and style that typified A Tower of Silence (2011).
In a departure from previous albums, after the group returned from its 2015 European Tour, they spent 4 months in a studio creating the music together, before recording the album in a traditional way with amps, microphones, acoustic instruments, vintage and analogue keyboards - even a Mellotron. In this way, The Second Hand, though very much an album written for 2017, is still a performance record, and as such finds itself connected to a rich heritage of symphonic progressive music.
At the time of it's release, the album had received some of the most positive reviews of the band's 12 year career, with Prog Magazine calling it a 'thought-provoking, fan-pleasing epic'. A pre-order campaign for the album saw fans from around the world continuing to support the band and reaction to the initial released tracks Fool's Gold and The Making of Me extremely enthusiastic.
Anubis began in Sydney in 2004 as a writing partnership between Robert James Moulding (vocals/guitar/bass) and David Eaton (Keyboards), and they were subsequently joined by Steven Eaton (drums), Douglas Skene (Hemina; guitars), Dean Bennison (guitars), and later, in 2014, by Anthony Stewart (bass).
The release of Hitchhiking to Byzantium in mid-2014 saw the band taking steps forward as it's more contemporary sound helped raise the band's profile at home in Australia to grow, culminating in high profile appearances performing with modern progressive heavyweights Anathema and 70's stalwarts Uriah Heep.
In April 2015, selections from the band's 2015 Australian shows were released as the live album Behind Our Eyes which the band released to help fund a European tour for Hitchhiking to Byzantium which lead them through Germany, Holland and the United Kingdom, including a headlining appearance at the inaugural Prog the Castle festival at Heidelberg in Germany, where the band presented a two hour show with the setlist being chosen from fan-favourites from the three studio albums.