With New Single “To The Wind,” KOZEN Aims to Open Minds

Throw it away and start again.

In a way, the tagline for KOZEN’s latest single could also be their broader mission statement. On the Toronto band’s innovative debut double-EP, Swimming to the Stars, they dismantled metal and started from scratch, rebuilding it with spare parts from pop, gospel, and R&B.

In the chaotic new video for “To The Wind,” KOZEN brings the same progressive approach to philosophy. The band plays in an empty white room, but that blank slate is quickly colored in with quotes on faith, doubt, and community from a diverse range of sources–thinkers like Chinua Achebe and Simone de Beauvoir, poets like William Butler Yeats, and even the foundational texts of Christianity and Taoism.

“It’s a song about the willingness to knock down one’s own misconceptions and assumptions in pursuit of the truth and enjoying the process of learning,” says singer/guitarist Maxwell Aka. “It’s about the fear of living a lie and the wide-eyed wonder of a genuinely open mind.”

Aka speaks from his experience in seminary, but invoking that open-mindedness points to something more universal. As the song’s press release puts it, quoting from theologian Jürgen Moltmann, “the truth in human freedom lies in love that breaks down barriers.” It’s an ambitious statement for a music video, but a timely one in a world obsessed walls, whether literal or theological.

The genre synthesis of KOZEN’s past releases still drives the instrumental, building on the broad talents of guitarist Jericho Leal, singer/keyboard-player Sidone Harrison, bassist Jeremy John, and drummer Jared Leal. After opening with a funky bass groove and four-on-the-floor verse beat, it transitions into more familiar prog-metal territory with crushing guitar riffs and a screamed-vocal breakdown.

In other words, whether you’re in the mood to smash through walls or dance around them, KOZEN has you covered. Their debut full-length A Fearful Wonder drops this June, and “To The Wind” bodes well for their direction–you’ve got to hand it to a band that can make you scratch your head and make you want to headbang in the span of four minutes.

WARNING: This video may potentially trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. Viewer discretion is advised.

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