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Flagpole Premieres: Jet Engine Dragons, Ronin Full Album

Album artwork by Samuel Nelson

Not long after progressive death metal band Jet Engine Dragons released its full-length Ashes of Anthemusa in 2017, guitarist and vocalist Corey Flowers left Athens for Vienna, Austria. Though the long distance temporarily limited live performances, the time spent abroad provided critical inspiration for what would eventually coalesce into the band’s long-awaited new album, Ronin.

Written as a way to process—or escape from—feelings of isolation, loss of identity and purpose, rejection and culture shock, Ronin is a concept album in five tableaux that contemplates the sacrifices and suffering often endured to achieve a goal.

Today, Jet Engine Dragons shares Ronin in its entirety with Flagpole, ahead of its official release this Friday.

Flowers, who metalheads may recognize from blackened thrash band Beast Mode, is also a classical guitarist who holds a doctorate in guitar performance and minor in music composition from the University of Georgia. While his metal pursuits initially served as an outlet separate from his academic studies, his classical training subtly informs his creative process.

“The songs on the first record are a little more groove focused, but still feature a lot of lead work, shifting time signatures and contrasting sections—the latter being a feature of both progressive and classical music,” says Flowers. “Ronin was written after I finished my studies at UGA and I think this, along with discovering a lot of music that came out while I was in grad school (i.e. living under a rock), led me to challenge myself a bit more. The composition lessons I had with Chic Ball during my last couple of years of school also affected my writing. He taught me to look for opportunities to break phrase patterns and expectations, and to be aware of an idea becoming stale and having the impulse to find a way to keep it fresh. This also pushed me to take a more active role in the production/recording process, fine tuning our arrangements and parts in the studio as well.”

Flowers says that “Come, Heavy Sleep” was originally a lute song by Renaissance composer John Dowland that was later used by English composer Benjamin Britten for a variation set called “Nocturnal.” Flowers used the text from the original song to set a new melody, and then wrote the four-part counterpoint from there. Additionally, the interlude preceding the title track is nod to one of his former guitar teacher John Sutherland’s favorite pieces from the guitar repertoire.

Jet Engine Dragons consists of Flowers, John Cooper (guitar), Jonathan Lane (vocals, keyboard), Michael Rivero (bass) and Ross Hardin (drums). The band will celebrate the official release of Ronin at Flicker Theatre & Bar on Friday, Apr. 5. Presented by Shadebeast, the night also includes sets by Atlanta acts Scorched Moon and Control the Devastator. Doors open at 8:30 p.m., and entry costs $12. Keep up with Jet Engine Dragons on Instagram and Facebook, and check out their new music videos below.