Sunday, March 3, 2024

Jethro Tull’s Mountain Climb

Legendary British progressive rock luminaries Jethro Tull released the group’s first studio album of new material in over 18 years with The Zealot Gene, via Inside Out Music.

It garnered critical acclaim, as well as the being the band’s first UK top 10 album since the 70s. It also saw the band entering high in the charts in Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Austria and more. 

With Jethro Tull now back out on the road in Europe, they recently added the fan-favourite new track ‘Mine Is The Mountain’ to their live set.  To celebrate, a new video for the track was commissioned, created by Tom Hicks who previously did the clip for ‘Shoshana Sleeping’.

‘Mine Is The Mountain‘ is, perhaps, a late-life partner to the Aqualung album song ‘My God’,” said band leader Ian Anderson. “I had, as usual, a strong visual reference at the core of the lyrics. A miserable, committed trudge up Mount Sinai by Moses to face an angry maker before he must deliver the goods to his followers below is a powerful image, best imagined unless you are a wilderness trekker and much younger than I.”

You can check out the video here at RAMzine.

The Zealot Gene began to take shape as early as 2017. In many ways, it seeks to defy convention during a time when the business of being a touring and recording artist has never faced more uncertainties. Tull bandleader Ian Anderson holds no reservations about the role for which the mythos and themes of Biblical storytelling played in the lyrical content of the new album, having stated:

“While I have a spot of genuine fondness for the pomp and fairytale storytelling of the holy book, I still feel the need to question and draw sometimes unholy parallels from the text. The good, the bad, and the downright ugly rear their heads throughout, but are punctuated with elements of love, respect, and tenderness.”

Looking back on the earth-shaking disruption of the coronavirus pandemic, that ultimately ended the band’s touring plans and hopes of a 2020 release for The Zealot Gene, Anderson said, “It was so sudden. Amidst the concerns and warnings of the scientific community and a few more enlightened politicians, we all retreated in disbelief to our homes to wait out the storm.”

However, to give Tull fans a taste of the new record, the group has been releasing singles highlighting some of the tracks, and issuing videos to accompany them. Previous to ‘Mine Is The Mountain‘ was the title track, ‘The Zealot Gene’, its accompanying video directed by Iranian film-maker Sam Chegini who previously created a clip for ‘Sad City Sisters’.

Band leader Ian Anderson commented on the track: “The title track offers many allusions to the radical, politically-charged world of populism in leadership. As a song lyric, it sums up, for me, the divisive nature of societal relationships and the extreme views which fuel the fires of hate and prejudice, more so today perhaps, than at any time in history.

“Perhaps you think you know who I might have been thinking about here but, in reality, there are probably right now at least five prominent, dictatorial national figures who could fit the bill.”

The aforementioned ‘Sad City Sisters‘ musically calls to mind festive offerings of yesteryear from the band, lyrically in conjunction with the video it contemplates on modern society while casting reference to mythical pasts.

The first single from the album was ‘Shoshana Sleeping’, the video of which was accompanied by visuals created by Thomas Hicks.

You can watch the videos to all these songs right here at RAMzine.

The Zealot Gene was made available as special edition digipak CD, gatefold 2LP+CD+LP-booklet, limited 2CD+blu-ray artbook and limited deluxe 3LP+2CD+blu-ray artbook.

Both artbook editions feature a second CD of demos and initial ideas, plus extended liner notes and an interview with Ian Anderson undertaken by Tim Bowness (No-man).

The Deluxe 3LP+2CD+Blu-ray Artbook comes on white vinyl and includes a third LP with the rough demos. It also includes a slipmat and a numbered art print.

The Zealot Gene features the tracks: ‘Mrs. Tibbets’, ‘Jacob’s Tales’, ‘Mine Is The Mountain’, ‘The Zealot Gene’, ‘Shoshana Sleeping’, ‘Sad City Sisters’, ‘Barren Beth’, ‘Wild Desert John’, ‘The Betrayal Of Joshua Kynde’, ‘Where Did Saturday Go?’, ‘Three Loves, Three’, ‘In Brief Visitation’ and ‘The Fisherman Of Ephesus’.

You can listen & order the album here.

With more than 30 albums to their credit and sales totalling more than 50 million, Jethro Tull is one of the most successful rock bands of all-time with a catalogue that contains classics that still resonate today. The band continues to tour throughout the world, entertaining audiences of all ages.

They have a busy live schedule over the next few months, visiting countries across Europe, and a full list of dates can be found here. 

The current line-up features Ian Anderson – Flute, acoustic guitar, harmonica, vocals, Joe Parrish-James – Guitar, Florian Opahle – Guitar (album only), Scott Hammond – Drums, John O’Hara – Piano, keyboards and accordion and David Goodier – Bass guitar.

You can pre-order The Zealot Gene here.

Paul H Birch
Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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