by DUSTIN CARROLL & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & S & lt;/span & ometimes bands come up with conceptual ideas behind their music and lyrical content as a crutch to overshadow a mediocre album. Zao's Funeral of God comes to mind: an incredible story hidden inside a rather lackluster release from a pinnacle band. There's the other side of the coin, of course; groups like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin taking already epic music and creating rock operas that become movies because the music and concept are both so damn good. Jedediah the Pilot, a local four-piece, is trending towards the latter.

The story goes like this: Our hero, Arolus, is framed for the rape and murder of his beloved by a member of the sinister Brotherhood of the Hand. As punishment, Arolus is sentenced to battle in a traveling street-fighting cage, operated by the malicious Claus. Claus turns the fighters in his traveling cacophony into part-animal/part-human hybrids; thus was the fate of our hero, as Arolus was transformed into a bear. His comrade, Jedediah, a helicopter pilot, has been questing for Arolus ever since, vowing to rescue his companion by any means necessary.

The members of what would become Jedediah the Pilot hashed out the story over many nights of beer-induced acoustic guitar playing. Vocalist Bryan Nelson and guitarist Jason Overdorff eventually figured, "Hey, this is pretty good, let's get a drummer." After the entrance of Travis Singleton, and shortly after bassist Aaron Ruff, the band embarked on an epic quest to spread the Gospel of the Bear. The lyrics that Nelson sings/screams are composed from the conceptual story, but represent only a part of the total tale. The full story, complete with artwork, will be included when the group releases a full-length album.

A futuristic sci-fi concept album from a group of seemingly normal local guys? Not the usual fare coming from Spokane's heavy music scene, but Jedediah the Pilot intends to break the mold -- and not only with its storyline. The sound is self-described as "electro/jazz/metal." Borrowing from influences such as Don the Reader, Dillinger Escape Plan, Minus the Bear and Norma Jean, the quartet blasts through off-time, abrasive experimental jams that crave the listeners' attention. They recorded a three-song EP at Amplified Wax Studios (you can download it for free off their MySpace page) and intend to record a full-length there as well in the near future.

"We write songs like a doped-up jazz band," Overdorff claims. "Recording at Amplified Wax was awesome, we're doing the full-length there for sure."

"Mos def," chimes in Nelson.

If the members' names sound familiar, they should. Overdorff is the lead vocalist of local hardcore act My Fatal Mistake and has also been involved with Johnny Get Down and Welcome to Whittier alongside Nelson. Ruff and Singleton provided the rhythm section in the now-defunct Hero of Time. Jedediah has remnants of all these bands, but takes things to an entirely new level. These guys provide a very welcoming breath of fresh air into an otherwise stale heavy music scene.

Jedediah the Pilot with Blues, The Murrs, Cyrus Fell Down and Boy Named Sue at the Empyrean on Thursday, July 3, at 6 pm. Call 838-9819.

53rd Annual Art on the Green @ North Idaho College

Sun., Aug. 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
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