The Conscience Pilate Return to Release Maxi-Single “Army of Devils”

Photo Credits: Duke Swallswell
Photo Credits: Duke Swallswell

The Conscience Pilate play guitar-driven pop music that combines the energy of CBGB’s post-punk with the texture of 80’s alternative. The new single "Army of Devils" marks the return of Toronto indie art rockers The Conscience Pilate and the start of their new collaboration that will see new singles arriving monthly for the remainder of 2023. After a 25 year hiatus, Edward Pond and Neil Leyton decided to reunite and immediately wrote "Army of Devils" over a bottle of Rioja. The Conscience Pilate started in Toronto in 1995 when songwriting duo Edward Pond and Neil Leyton finished university.

They weren’t into grunge, which was huge at that time, and pushed back with a revolutionary glam band and a lofty art-school name inspired by David Bowie’s turn as Pontius Pilate in the Last Temptation of Christ. Move a few letters around, add a “the” in tribute to Syd’s Pink Floyd and a band name was born. As with most urgent rock projects, TCP self-destructed after just one album, but Pond and Leyton remained brothers. One night in November 2022 Neil said, “We have some unfinished business. Let’s make another record.” Two songs were written that night alone in Montreal.

The song title is ripped from the cover of a violent pulp-fiction action novel Pond owned as a kid. He explains, “Army of Devils is a song about not letting the demons in our head mess up the good things in our life, and how sometimes we wreck it a little anyway. As soon as we penned this song I called up Moe “The Pursuit of Happiness” Berg to produce, and I played him a scratch recording I’d made. He liked it, even though it was me on the tape blowing my head off trying to sing Neil’s really tough vocal parts.” Army of Devils’ production had so much momentum the band created two versions of the song – celebrating 12” singles from the 80’s featuring multiple versions of songs by the Cure and Depeche Mode. The Army A-Side track is the original produced by Moe Berg of the Pursuit of Happiness with the driving power of his hit songs “Hard to Laugh” and "I'm An Adult Now.” For the B-Side track guitarist Mick McKenzie kept building the song with new parts and created the Red House mix. Ryan Dahle from Limblifter and Age of Electric stepped in to master it via analog tape. The result is a classic maxi-single evoking the classic 45 rpm vinyl records.

It takes a village, so while Pond and Leyton remain the core of the band, many of their musical cohorts from across the years are stepping up to play drums, guitars, record and pour synergy into this project. The band reunion happened because Pond had been storing 300 of Leyton’s vinyl records for the last 12 years, when Leyton moved to Lisbon. Finally Leyton came to Montreal (for the M for Montreal conference) and brought a set of three purple suitcases to stuff with vinyl to take back on the plane to Lisbon. They had piles of records on the floor of the hotel parking garage when Neil said, “Okay, we need to make our own record now.” They wrote Army of Devils that night. Starting in the summer of 2023 The Conscience Pilate will release a new single each month, beginning with "Army of Devils".