Song of the Day: L.S. Underground - The Fold

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I first heard L.S.U. in about 1991. I had been a pretty staunch metalhead, but a few alternative rock bands were starting to open me up to new colors in my musical palette. While the experimental This is the Healing was the first album I heard from them, The Grape Prophet is a favorite of fans and critics alike.

The album was one of the first and only concept albums, or “rock operas” as band leader Michael Knott liked to call them. The Grape Prophet tells the story of Ellis, an orange picker who works for Col. Peckeson. After droves of orange pickers depart the orchards to go pick grapes for the grape prophet, Peckeson sends Ellis out to find out what’s happening.

The story is an allegory of Knott’s observations of a trend in Christianity that he deemed had cult-like tendencies. Specifically, it targeted the so-called “Kansas City Prophets.” This added to the album’s controversy, as the group had mixed reviews of support or criticism, depending on where one stood. A further point of controversy in the album is that it doesn’t end on a positive note. No tidy resolutions to be found here.

In a manner of speaking, this adds to the prophetic nature of the album (pun intended), as the Kansas City Prophets are still in operation, and still just as controversial as they always were–with connections to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and figures like Bill Johnson (Bethel), Lou Engle (International House of Prayer), and many others. My purpose here is not to make a judgment on any of those things, but rather to point out Knott’s brilliant artistry and not shying away from making a criticism of highly-regarded figures in an artistic and controversial way.

“The Fold” finds Ellis encountering the prophets, who are inviting him to join their group. It is the heaviest LSU song I’ve ever heard, but ends on a mesmerizing note of invitation:

Come into the fold
Come into the fold
Come into the fold
Come into the fold

It’s a highly effective track. And if controversy, allegory and prophetic concept albums aren’t your thing, at the very least the song absolutely rocks! The album was recently remastered and reissued on vinyl with new artwork, so we’ve included that version here.

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Nicholas
August 13, 2021 11:48 am

Appreciate this! Have also enjoy Knott’s work.

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