In June I included the stupendous cover art you’re looking at (sans the band and album names) in a post about new metal artwork. Then, I didn’t know who the artist was, but now I do: Mark Cooper (a/k/a Mindrape Art). He created this piece for the cover of a new album by Rings of Saturn named Dingir (din-jeer), and that leads us to a sordid tale of woe, the moral of which is a reminder that the community of metal still includes people with no morals.
In June, when the album art was released, the band’s label (Unique Leader) also provided a teaser clip of samples from the album and a tentative release date: November 20. The recording and production work on the album was apparently finished. What remained was the promotional run-up to the release.
And then Dingir ran into some potholes on the road to its release. First, as disclosed by the band last night, undisclosed “legal issues” arose which led to a delay in the album’s release from November 20 to February 5. I’ve seen no explanation of these issues. Undoubtedly, that extra two months of waiting for release was a source of frustration for the band.
But second, and more important, an unfinished, unmastered, pre-production version of Dingir leaked yesterday, apparently appearing across a variety of metal blog spots and torrent sites, as well as on YouTube. And that drove the band to take unplanned action to limit the damage.
Last night Rings of Saturn uploaded the entire finished version of Dingir to YouTube for streaming, three months before its official release, and have made a public request that pre-production versions of the music be removed from YouTube and that fans buy the album when it finally becomes available rather than satisfy themselves with the leaked version.
This story caught my eye for two reasons. First, I’ve been interested in the band’s music ever since hearing them perform in Seattle several years ago (when they had a different vocalist than they do now). Second, it pisses me off to see the continuing evidence that people in our community still don’t get it.
Some people apparently still think it’s cool betray the trust they’re given by labels and bands who give them pre-release copies of new music, whether for review purposes or for other reasons. So they fuck up release plans and fuck up efforts by bands and labels to make a little money off their labors by leaking the music. In this instance, the fact that an unfinished version of the music was leaked was both better and worse than if the final version had been leaked.
It was better because people who availed themselves of the illegal download still have a reason to get the album in February if they like the music; what they’ve got now isn’t the music that the band intended to distribute.
It was worse because the leak will be creating impressions of the music based on a version of the album that the band and their label would never have released on their own. I don’t know how much of a difference there is between the leaked version and the finished album, but the point is that it doesn’t represent the band’s fully realized vision of what they wanted to create.
As I write this, I haven’t even listened to the band’s YouTube stream of Dinjir. I don’t know whether I’ll like it or not. It doesn’t really matter. Even if I thought the music sucked, I’d feel the same way about what happened to Rings of Saturn and their label. I don’t mean to lecture, because once upon a time I did my fair share of illegal downloading. But I like to think I’ve gotten wiser. I’d like to hope that more people would wise up, too.
I’m sure there will always be malicious fucks out there who get some kind of perverse pleasure from leaking music or who enjoy the acclaim of their bros for making theft of the music possible. However, I’d like to believe that as time passes, more and more fans will stop letting downloads become a substitute for buying the music they like. If you believe in metal, if you believe in mutual support within the community, then you ought to honor the wishes of the artists who create the music. If they don’t want to give their music away, then it’s just not right to take it from them against their wishes.
And that’s the end of this sermon. Below is the full-album stream that Rings of Saturn uploaded, with an index to the songs. Below that is the band’s full statement about what they’ve done and why, taken from their Facebook page (here). It’s an interesting read.
UPDATE: Rings of Saturn have now gone a step further than simply uploading the album for streaming. In cooperation with Total Deathcore, they’ve now made the album freely downloadable. Go HERE to do that.
Dinjir Track List and YouTube Index:
1.Objective to Harvest 0:00
2.Galactic Cleansing 4:05
3.Shards of Scorched Flesh 7:35
5.Faces Imploding 14:21
6.Peeling Arteries 20:13
8.Fruitless Existence 28:12
9.Immaculate Order 31:28
10.Utopia (Instrumental) 36:06
Here’s the band’s complete note as it appeared on facebook:
Here is the official album version of Dingir streamed in high quality. There are many reasons as to why we decided to stream our new album in its entirety before its scheduled release date. One big reason is because we are dealing with legal issues right now which unfortunately WILL push back the release date of Dingir from Nov. 20th to Feb. 5th.
The second reason is that a very poor quality, unfinished, and unmastered, pre-production version of our album went viral across many metal blog spots, torrent sites, and youtube this morning. It is unclear whether the original poster thought that the pre-production version of the album was the actual album, or if the original poster leaked it maliciously. In any case, If you guys are going to listen to a leaked version of our album, we would much rather you listen and jam out to the ACTUAL high quality finished album, rather than a low quality unfinished product. If you DID happen to upload the pre pro version to your Youtube channel (chances are that you did since our video is the first video of the actual finished album) we ask that you please take it down now that the actual album is up streaming because we don’t want to confuse people.
The third reason is that we know you are all tired of waiting for this, we are also EQUALLY tired of waiting, and we know that our true fans will continue to support the band, pre order our album, buy our merch, and come out to our shows. If you ARE in fact a true fan of Rings of Saturn, or you like what you are hearing, or you want to see us come to your town our city, then you will share this video EVERYWHERE, you will show all of your friends, and you will pre order and actually still buy our album when it does come out on Feb. 5th because a band’s first week album sales dictate what tours the band gets on, what slots they get, and where they are able to go. If you want to see us play in Europe, or Australia, or come back to Canada, or back to your state, then you will pre order Dingir or pick up your copy within the first week of its release. We are only able to keep doing this because of your guys support. We will keep everyone posted on pre-orders and new merch from this page. Again the new release date for Dingir is Feb. 5th and remember, SHARE THIS VIDEO and Enjoy!