Folks, if you’re not paying attention to what Richmond vocalist, poet, and writer extraordinaire Ryan Kent is up to by now, you’re really overdue for a wakeup call on that one. And Dying Comes With Age, Kent’s debut solo album, is the perfect thing to give it to you.
You might be familiar with Ryan Kent’s name already. He’s previously supplied his vocal talents to Richmond metal bands Gritter and Murdersome. He’s published multiple volumes of poetry, including Poems For Dead People and Hit Me When I’m Pretty. And yes, he’s a regular contributor to RVA Magazine. But here’s the thing: we wouldn’t pay him to write for us if he wasn’t such a great writer.
Dying Comes With Age supplies ample proof of his writing talent. It’s actually a tough record to categorize, because unlike the straightforward metal music he’s made in the past, this album is an unusual combination of spoken poetry and musical backing. Contributors to the music you’ll hear behind Kent’s words on this album include a variety of metal luminaries, including Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe (who has also contributed to RVA Mag on occasion), Eyehategod’s Jimmy Bower and Mike IX Williams, Laura Pleasants of Kylesa, and Oxbow leader Eugene S. Robinson.
But it’s Ryan’s words that are the star attraction here, as is made clear by lead single “Son Of A Bitch.” Over a dirge-like backing track created by Bower that unsurprisingly contains a fair amount of stoner-swamp-sludge, Kent delivers a tale of lying in the shower under the hot water, overcome by despair, as workmen outside swap in a new utility pole for the old one that had begun to lean unsteadily. When a chorus of sorts comes around, Kent switches from spoken declarations to outright singing, harmonizing with Laura Pleasants on a spooky chorus about the way the gurgling drain sounds like old jazz songs.
This dark, poetic hybrid of literature and music sets the tone for the entire album, an album that evokes powerful names like Tom Waits, Mark Lanegan, and Leonard Cohen, though with a significantly upped metal quotient. If you’re the sort of person who can connect with both Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Neurosis, you’re gonna find a lot to like here.
Dying Comes With Age will be released on black/white spatter vinyl by Rare Bird, who’ve previously released work by artists as disparate as Chuck Palahniuk and Duff McKagan. It comes out on August 9th, but you can preorder a copy right now by clicking here. And you really should do so — something this odd, unusual, and one-of-a-kind doesn’t come along that often, and it’s often not recognized for its greatness until many years have passed. Here’s my advice: beat the rush and recognize the greatness of Dying Comes With Age now.
We can’t let you hear any of the tracks from it yet, but we’ll leave you with this previous Ryan Kent work: “The Lurch,” read by Eugene S. Robinson. This is only the tiniest hint of what’s to come. Enjoy.