Apollo invites listeners on a journey to a magical land

Aurora Rose Horn, Lead Copy Editor

It is often said that music can transport you to another world, and with his sophomore album Tales From Cazilor, Iowa-based singer and songwriter Naethan Apollo does just that.

 If Apollo’s name is familiar to you, that may be because you’ve heard some of his other songs which got famous on TikTok, such as “Lemon Lime Lips” and “Person In The Mirror.” This time around, though, he is taking us to Cazilor. Cazilor is a world that Apollo created for the cover art of his first album, Hello World, and in Tales From Cazilor, Apollo strives to give the listener a glimpse into this world. He even hired four voice actors in order to create an immersive experience. Tales From Cazilor contains seven scenes, as well as six songs titled “Cannibal,” “Night Watch,” “You’re Not Welcome,” “Do What I Gotta,” “I Don’t Get Sleep” and “Summer Night In Domita.”

Cazilor is a war-torn world of humans and giants. The giants to the east, ruled by Toltag, want to exterminate all humans, while the giants to the west, ruled by Ginsi, believe that humans should be treated as equals. This debate sparked a war, which has been going on for as long as anyone can remember. After a while, the humans wanted to be a part of the action rather than just being bystanders, so Ginsi created the Mazmus, an army in which humans and giants fight side by side against Toltag’s forces.

The whole album plays out in a conversation between Apollo’s self-insert character (named Apollo), his no-nonsense squadmate Arthur and a character known only as Captain. The former two are training to be in the Mazmus, and the latter has been in the Mazmus for a very long time. Captain is supervising the younger soldiers as they are on a night watch, and they are passing the time by having conversations. Each scene, aside from the last one, has some kind of connection to the song that comes after it; for example, in the first scene Apollo asks the others what their fondest memory is, and Captain says that his is the day his ex-wife died. 

The song that comes after Captain expresses this sentiment is “Cannibal,” which is something that Apollo does not write often: a break-up song. He characterizes the addressee of the song as a “hungry, hungry cannibal” who “feeds off [his] attention” and commands them to “starve.” Since Apollo’s angrier music is so rare, it’s like a treat to his listeners. I quite enjoy this one; it’s catchy and a great song to scream along to.

One song on the album I find myself coming back to again and again is “Summer Night In Domita,” which serves as a primary source account of one of the most devastating attacks on the human population of Cazilor, the fall of Domita. The narrator of the song had taken his love on a romantic night out for their anniversary when the attack happened, and he stated that as long as he had her he would be fine. The most heart-shattering line of the song was “I looked at my hands, they’re holding hers tight, but looked up to her, she’s nowhere in sight.” Every time I hear this song, I have to hold back the urge to cry. 

Another such song is “I Don’t Get Sleep.” First of all, that title is so relatable. I, too, don’t get a lot of sleep. But also, the wordplay is great; I never would have thought of rhyming “diamond” with “find it.”

All in all, I have to hand it to Apollo: he gave us a skipless album with a cohesive story, lovable characters and lots of lyrical wordplays. I’d give anything to listen to Tales From Cazilor for the first time again, to relive what it was like to fall in love with the world Apollo created. If you do listen to this album, though, I advise you listen to it in order, the way it is meant to be experienced.