You all knew “steampunk” was a genre, right? Of music? Okay, I admit that until not too long ago, I didn’t know that there was a steampunk music that was not just electro-swing. Yet bands like THE COG IS DEAD do exist and they’re exactly the sort of metal-adjacent music that many metal-lovers are drawn to. Their last albums date to the pre-corona times, so the release of a new single, “Can You Help Me?” in August was a pleasant and welcome surprise.
If the wild and wonky brass at the beginning of this song do not bring you joy… I can’t even. You might be broken. There is nothing more delightful than this pleasantly wacky music that is so full of sounds but never goes beyond toeing the line of “too much” within the chaos.
John Sprocket is using a wonderfully deep voice in this piece, somewhat reminiscent of Jon Ivar Kollbotn of MAJOR PARKINSON. He sings the story of having his ass kicked by a gang, who left him bloody and beaten with a broken arm. He stumbles in to a “local fix-it shop” where he is helped by the kind woman there, who – in true steampunk fashion – amputates his arms and gives him a mechanical replacement. As he continues on his way, he promises to repay her kindness. However, the chorus is far more open than this, almost even slightly disconnected from the story itself, as the chorus and C-part talk about the toughness of the world and the need for each individual to survive. It’s a rather relevant subject at the moment in its own metaphorical way.
As a band (or even, perhaps, a musical project) that is largely funded by Patreon, it’s always fun to share independent artists who have different quirky styles. THE COG IS DEAD have some true gems in their discography, but “Can You Help Me?” may be my new favorite! Here’s hoping this means a new album is on the way that keeps up the bouncy, delightful fun of this track!