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Led by founding member Toby Driver (Secret Chiefs 3), Kayo Dot emerged in 2002 from the ashes of Boston, MA, metal group Maudlin of the Well. Since then, Driver has led Kayo Dot through lineup changes and stylistic shifts: from traditional metal, to atmospheric, avant-garde metal; and now with their new album Coffins on Io, to the bats-in-your-belfry hard rock of Sisters of Mercy intersecting with Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, Scritti Politti and early Roxy Music. In 2013, Kayo Dot released their critically acclaimed conceptual double-album Hubardo. Undeniably experimental, but largely unclassifiable, it received rave reviews: SputnikMusic ranked it among the best of 2013, and Cvlt Nation called it, “mesmerizing avant-garde blackened doom,” and a “towering achievement.” But Kayo Dot’s evolution is governed by an inscrutable inner-logic. Accessible songwriting on Coffins on Io and an emphasis on vocal melody and electronic percussion makes the record’s darkness and intensity familiar and relatable. For example: the dark wave of “Offramp Cycle, Pattern 22” might be unrecognizable to Kayo Dot’s metal fans. “The sound is kind of like a sexy combination of Type O Negative, Peter Gabriel, Sisters of Mercy,” Driver says. But the track also encompasses the brooding menace of classic Bauhaus as well as current dark wavers Cold Cave and Crystal Stilts: artists young and old who live and die in those unknowable corners where heaviness meets delicacy and sincerity meets theatricality. Driver’s penchant for prog rock surfaces in the ethereal “Spirit Photography,” complete with a saxophone melody line—strikingly gentle when compared to the group’s brutal back catalog. “Longtime Disturbance on the Miracle Mile” could be a Bryan Ferry-era Roxy Music cut, and “The Mortality of Doves” could be Eno-produced David Bowie. Driver says there’s also an element of sexuality in Coffins on Io.“Basically the vibe that we’re going for here is inspired by ’80s retro-future noir—Blade Runner,” Driver explains. “I wanted to make a good record to put on while you drive across the desert at night under a toxic, post-apocalyptic atmosphere,” he says, adding, “There’s a weird underlying theme of murder, shame and death.”