Five Eight

This album was first going to be called What Can One Man Change? and it was to be a concept album about love and politics and where they meet in our lives," says Five Eight lead singer Mike Mantione about what would eventually become Your God is Dead to Me Now.

The follow-up to 2004's eponymous album instead became an intensely personal and cathartic album seeped in social and moral issues. War. Death. Sorrow. Loss. Intolerance. And, yes, love and politics. It's all in there. While 2004's Five Eight actually sported a black cover, Your God is Dead to Me Now instead explores its grimness in the lyrics itself.

And then there's that album title...

"Underneath my spiritual exterior is a deeply confused, non-believing, church-going, ex-Catholic, agnostic who talks to the god of my understanding as if he really exists, knowing full well that when we die it's over... I think," Mantione explains. But what helped fuel the song and album title of the same name were also the acts of intolerance, violence, and hatred perpetuated by so-called religious people that left Mantione cold to their higher powers.

Not that you'd necessarily know about all of these meaning-of-life topics with a cursory listen. Five Eight has made a history with all of their music - 6 albums worth since 1992 - of stuffing intense lyrics into tightly packaged songs that bring the rock and stick with you long after the last chord.

These songs come courtesy of the four-piece Five Eight lineup that hadn't recorded together in 14 years made up of founders Mantione (guitar, vocals, lyrics) and Dan Horowitz (bass), along with Sean Dunn (lead guitar) and Patrick Ferguson (drums). After Dunn and Ferguson parted ways with Five Eight in the late 1990's, Five Eight soldiered on as a trio with Mike Rizzi on drums. In 2004 when Five Eight opened for R.E.M. in Seattle, Dunn took the stage with the band for the first time in six years, rekindling a friendship that led to his reunion a few years later. Ferguson was wooed back for "a few shows" in 2007 that turned into a full time return. The "classic" Five Eight lineup was back.

The record proved harder to get together.

After the release of Five Eight in 2004, Mantione began commuting from Atlanta, GA to Ath­ens, GA daily for work. During the long drives, he'd "demo" the songs that would eventu­ally make up most of Your God is Dead to Me Now by singing them in the car and endlessly working them out. First recording the songs for the album in Atlanta, the band's lineup changes necessitated scrapping most of those sessions.

Perhaps because of the songs' lyrical depth, they still needed to get out. Ferguson offered to produce and re-record the entire album in Athens, GA at the recording studio where he worked. That's when the recording and the band gelled like never before.

The result is Your God is Dead to Me Now. The album arrives on CD, vinyl, and digital versions via Athens, GA-based Iron Horse Records, which also helped release Five Eight's entire back catalog of CDs, singles, and EPs digitally in 2010.

"This is the album that I never really wanted to make due to what it dealt with," says Mantione. "But I guess it says something that we recorded it twice with two different drummers in two different studios with two different producers."

Now's your chance to find out why.

©2009 Five Eight
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