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Old March 24th, 2010, 11:10 PM   #51 (permalink)
stizzleomnibus
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Arkhangelsk

A - 0:00

The intro to Arkhangelsk is incredibly beautiful. The opening keyboard melody is set against a unique and slightly unsettling ambiance. While it would be impossible to fully describe the melody, certain observations can be made.

The counting of the drums underneath the piano melody accents the most important notes in the melody. This rhythm is notated below, along with moments at which the harmony (a synth in the background) changes.

Melody :|----x-----x---x-|--------x----x--|----x-----x---x-|--------x----x--|
Harmony:|X-----------X---|X---------------|X---------------|X---------------|
Count..:|1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |


Of note is the fact that the two highest moments in the melody (the second half of the first measure) actually fall just before the changes in the harmony line. This pattern in shifting and overlapping tones demonstrates the basic science of tonality, elevated to an incredibly powerful level.

The interplay of the harmony and melody creates unique changes in mood. These shifts occur so rapidly that they form into a single, emotionally-confusing atmosphere, rather than forming separate moments in the song. That is, we are not presented with simple moods such as “happy” or “sad,” but rather a mood which is a combination of feelings. It might be described as a mix of fear, hope, and resignation.

The almost peaceful moment in the final measure slowly gives way to the gradually increasing intensity of the supporting synth. In the following measures it is played as a tonal shift in the guitars (on the third beat).

The melody repeats, but ends with two quick cymbal pulses that signal the introduction of the band (0:16). The melody is unchanged, with the guitars adding a new intensity to the supporting harmony. The drums create an incredibly heavy rhythm here, notable for its seemingly slow tempo. The sparse notes in this beat make each one more powerful, an effect which is enhanced by the addition of carefully placed cymbal crashes. The wide gap between the notes that make up the back beat causes the ear to latch onto the hi-hat notes in between, treating them as though they were beats.

For simplicity, I have chosen to notate the piece as though it had a rapid tempo, but plays in half time. This simplifies the count and prevents the appearance of 32nd notes in faster sections.

The fill which ends this section (0:28) is two quick measures in the 3-3-2 syncopation, setting up the rhythm of the next section.

B (Verse) – 0:32

This verse, in contrast to the melodic intro, is flat and rhythmic. It continues the 3-3-2 syncopation introduced at the end of the preceding section, though the beats are played alternately between snare and bass drum, making them slightly harder to find. Rather than the slow, deliberate evenness of the intro, the drums and guitar hammer rapidly into oddly timed beats.

The fill transitioning out of the verse (0:48) ramps up towards the chorus, with rising tones in the guitars and synths. The drums play in straight 8th notes, dispelling the syncopation.

C (Chorus) – 0:52

Much like the introduction, the slow tempo of the chorus causes stress on the notes between those of the backbeat. The syncopation from the verse is gone, replaced by an even rhythm over which the guitars and synths play in an alternating fashion.

The synth melody shifts only on the primary beats (1 and 3, or the quarter notes depending on the counting interval), repeatedly shifting from low to high tones. The guitar accents the upbeats between the notes of the synth melody.

This is an interesting effect, used commonly in dance music. In straight 4/4 rhythms, the downbeat (on which the synth shifts tone) would be the primary beat (or downbeat), while the 8th notes in between form a lesser intermediary beat (the upbeat).* Typically, in this rhythm, the listener “drops” into the downbeat, but in this instance every second downbeat in the synth is actually a higher pitched tone. While the synth tone shifts back and forth, the guitars play consistently through each measure.

(*Here is the basic disco beat. Similarly, you could try In Flames' Only For the Weak around 0:22, where the drums maintain the downbeats and the guitars play the upbeats.)

The tension is further built by the haunting tones of the synth, as well as a very gothic atmosphere (similar to Dream Oblivion).

A – 1:24

While this melody was imposing the first time, it almost comes across as gentle when played immediately after the chorus.

B + Solo - 1:40

This verse alternates small blocks of guitar melody with the vocals. The final measure (1:52) is different in this instance, ending the lead guitar melody and creating a slight pause in tension before building back into the chorus. The drum buildup is a played in 16th notes, rather than the 8ths in the previous chorus.

C - 2:00

D – 2:32

The second chorus, rather than resolving into the A section, instead lets its accumulated tension hang in the air. The drum beat disappears immediately, replaced by time keeping using a series of cymbal crashes. Beneath the loud, chaotic guitar, a new melody begins to build. The distorted guitar slowly fades to nothing, allowing the quieter melody to finally play uninterrupted several times (2:49).

The secondary melody fully develops, led by the keys (2:56). The drums enter in double time, playing evenly through the section. Rather than droning over the top (as in the introduction of this melody) the distorted guitar work is more cooperative with melody of the keys.

D + Solo – 3:12

This section is essentially a continuation of D, with the vocals giving way to a small guitar solo. The drums switch to placing snare notes on every beat, while continuing the evenness of the original D section with alternating bass drum notes.

C – 3:28

For the final chorus, the drums maintain the pounding double-time beat. Here, however, it smooths out into a double-bass roll as in previous choruses. Maintaining the double-time feel underneath the otherwise standard chorus gives a feeling of increased energy without actually modifying the rest of the composition. For the listener, it is almost difficult to tell why this chorus sounds more urgent than before.

Notes:

They should have sent a poet.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 02:12 PM   #52 (permalink)
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I don't think compliments get redundant so keep up the amazing work. Its really the homestretch and I'm really excited to hear about the next three songs (god forbid you do the bonus tracks haha) so I'll just wait with baited breath. :P
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Old March 29th, 2010, 09:30 PM   #53 (permalink)
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I Am the Void

A - 0:00

After the slow tempos of Arkhangelsk, I Am the Void starts fast. In classic DT style, the opening riff is comprised of melody interrupted by fast shredding. Unlike the more familiar interpretation of this riffing style, the melody and shredding occupy a very narrow pitch range, rather than placing the melody notes at a higher pitch than the grind. This gives the entire riff a flatter, more integrated feeling, and is largely responsible for the "thrash" feel.

B (Verse) - 0:18

This verse features similar riffing to the intro, but this time emphasizing the melody notes outside of the grind. These notes are higher in pitch, and contrasted to palm-muted grinding. The extended tones in the guitars which end the repeats of the melody (0:21 and 0:26) are matched by the synths, adding depth to the transitions.

The tempo of the section changes (0:29), with the drums dropping the blast beat in favor of a double-bass roll, effectively halving the tempo. The guitars and synths play the same music over the top, despite the half-time feel.

The blast beat returns, and a new riff is introduced at the end of the verse (0:40). This riff is much sharper than the preceding one. It is played in the space of four measures, peaking at the end of the second measure. The tension peaks here, and is dissolved at the end of the fourth measure which segues into the chorus.

C (Chorus) - 0:50

This chorus is unique because it begins with less intensity than the rest of the song. Gradual transformations in the chorus will increase its power, but it never reaches the energy of the rest of the song. This is partly because of the lowered tempo, but mostly due to the relatively mellow guitar work. While it lacks the frantic energy of the verses, it opts instead for a greater melodic depth.

The dual guitars in the opening play an offset rhythm, depicted below. The accents in the rhythm guitar are played directly on the beat, while the lead guitar plays notes leading into this beat.

G1:|--xx--xx--xxx---|--xx--xx--xxx---|
G2:|X---X---X-xxX---|X---X---X-xxX---|
CT:|1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |


For once, this chart is accurate because it depicts a perfectly monotonal riff. Because of the stereo separation of the two guitars, the alternating pattern has the effect of "throwing" the rhythm from one ear to the other. This interplay creates a unique heaviness: rather than relying on melodic shifts or a heavier beat, the sonic separation and offset playing emphasizes the beat. This effect is broken slightly in the end of the measure when the two guitars play in unison, giving extra punch to the fourth beat before remaining tacit until the first beat of the next measure.

Over the top of this riff, the keys play the main chorus melody. This melody reaches its peak when it is joined by the guitars (0:59). At this moment, the guitars play in unison ends the stereo separation of the preceding riff, creating a perceptible unity in the melody.

The chorus melody is repeated again (1:03), but this time one guitar joins the melody of the keys while the other continues to play the grind from the first iteration of the melody. Both guitars again join the synths in playing the end of the melody (1:08).

A - 1:17

B - 1:26

C - 1:58

D (Bridge) – 2:25

This section begins with the stereo-separated thrash riff from the chorus. When the melody kicks in, the rhythm guitar plays the riff from the end of the verse (which first appears at 0:40) while the solo plays over it. Rather than the blast beat which would normally accompany this riff, the drums maintain a double-bass roll through the solo.

The bridge ends with an amalgamation of the stereo riff and the thrash intro (2:50). The drums play a new beat, in which the 32nd note kicks in the drums match the pulses of the guitars. In the first two measures, the lead guitar plays the last few descending notes of the solo. The final two measures (2:55) play the grind at first, but end with a flourish taken from the A section thrash riff.

A - 2:59

B - 3:07

C - 3:28

Like the bridge, this chorus ends with a measure which is half the chorus grind riff and half notes from the intro. The notes from the intro riff, rather than leading into the full melody, play into nothingness and abruptly end the song.

Notes:

This song has one of the more distinct structures on the album. The beginning of the chorus is masked slightly because it begins with less melody and intensity than the rest of the song. This isn't unusual for a DT song, but most down-tempo choruses would be introduced with a more intentional build up. The low-key chorus, along with the consistent structure of sections (A-B-C in order, repeatedly), gives the impression of cycling steadily through predetermined parts without stark divisions of chorus and verse.

The stereo riff which begins the chorus is a particularly interesting moment in the song. Generally, the heaviness in metal comes from directing the listener towards beats. This can be accomplished through narrow melodies or heavy guitar work. Here, however, it is accomplished by leading the ear into the riff with one guitar while the other grinds out the beat itself.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 11:15 PM   #54 (permalink)
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Surface the Infinite

A - 0:00

The intro riff to Surface the infinite begins with three identical measures, each playing a series of ascending notes. The guitars change on each quarter note, an effect which is enhanced by the pulse of the drums. The fourth measure of the riff begins at a lower pitch and ends on a higher one, creating a wider tonal shift in the ascent. The combination of straight 16th note playing in the guitars and drums gives the section a perfectly even feel.

There are several interesting fills used in the drums here. While the bass drum and cymbals continue uninterrupted, the unique pattern of accents in the snare creates a fill. Two examples are notated below:

|X---X---X--X--X-|X-X--X--X--X--X-|
|1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |
|--------3--3--2-|2-3--3--3--3--2-|


The second half of the first measure above is a fill in the familiar 3-3-2 syncopation (0:04). The second measure depicts the fill that ends the section, and contains a syncopation of 2-3-3/3-3-2 (0:16). While the drums switch to simple counting in the next section, the guitar continues playing this rhythm.

B (Verse) - 0:18

This verse begins with just the guitars over cymbal counting, breaking from the evenness of the intro. The harsh guitar riff is less melodic than the preceding riff, though it borrows the rhythm of the drum fill at the end of the A section.

When the drums enter fully, they play an incredibly fast blast beat (0:27). This is essentially the same as a normal blast beat, but the cymbal and bass drum play every 16th note while the snare plays the 32nd notes in between.

C – 0:36

At the beginning of this section, the drums play a normal blast beat (half the speed of the one in the previous section). The riff is much more melodic than the previous one, and plays a much simpler rhythm based on 8th notes. Interestingly, in the four measures in this section, the riff does not repeat and instead plays through one continuous evolution before moving into the chorus.

D (Chorus) – 0:45

The introduction of synths in the chorus immediately gives it more impact than the preceding sections. The drums return the rhythm to the quarter note pulse from the A section, halving the tempo relative to the B and C sections. Similarly, the drums make use of fills first seen in A.

The synth melody plays in a repeated rhythm, but the harmony played creates a sharp shift in tone in the second half of the melody (0:50), which changes again in the following measure.

B - 1:02

C - 1:20

D - 1:29

A – 1:47

This version of the A section begins with just the guitar playing. This "bottomless" arrangement gives the impression of the melody playing over empty air. Small, dexterous flourishes in the drums “ground” the guitar melody at the beginning of each measure, the lowest point in the melody.

The section eventually returns to the full orchestration seen in the intro (1:57).

E (Bridge) – 2:05

This bridge smoothly carries over the rhythm of the preceding section for a small guitar solo. The end of the solo (2:14) brings an abrupt stop to the song. The keys enter, playing a pulsing rhythm in half-time. The band joins (2:17). The backbeat of the drums is enhanced by a

The melody of this section is a reference to Deionarra's Theme from Planescape: Torment.

B - 2:52

C - 3:10

D – 3:19

After the last word in the C section, the song falls silent except for the synths which quietly play the chorus melody. The listener expects the C section to flow directly into the chorus, as in each preceding instance, but the song instead plays a very subdued version of the melody. This creates a moment of tension by suspending the normal flow of the song and replacing it with beautiful, quiet moment. The drums enter (3:26) and build until the song explodes into the full chorus. This final occurrence of the chorus is the most powerful in the song, as it develops out of the most tense moment of foreshadowing and provides the greatest moment of contrast.

Notes:

The two quiet moments in the song (1:47 and 3:19) are important in this song, as they both convey the sense of emptiness implied in "the infinite" and "the void." The first features the guitar singing out over nothing but its own reverberations. The second primes the listener for the chorus, but does so by pausing "time" in the song. The failure to resolve into the full chorus, as well as the harmonic sophistication of the melody, creates a breathless moment which would be peaceful except for the titanic energy before and after.
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Old April 7th, 2010, 07:51 PM   #55 (permalink)
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Iridium

A (Verse) - 0:00

Iridium begins with a verse, rather than a unique intro. The single guitar which opens the song is joined by the other instruments (0:18), but continues playing the same thing through the remainder of the verse. The melody is unchanged with the exception of a handful of chord changes which add a disturbing, dissonant quality to the composition. This monotonous consistency leaves the listener with a sense of monotonous repetition, soon to be violently shaken. After the last line of the verse (0:53), there is no fill or other indication of a transition. All instruments disappear except for the original guitar, which continues the same melody, quietly. Unaware.

B (Chorus) - 0:55

The violent explosion of the chorus is unexpected after the softness of the verse. This intensity is partially due to the contrast between the two parts, but the power of the instrumentation also contributes. The drums use the same double-bass roll used in other high energy choruses, while the guitars grind out the melody. The sound of the synths is incredibly rich and heavy. The chorus is introduced with a dubbed scream which, while unusual for a DT song, adds an incredibly effective impact.

The melody of which the chorus is composed is unique. For the entire duration of the chorus, it never repeats itself, evolving and shifting constantly. The tones in the first eight measures are incredibly ominous. Beginning in the ninth measure (1:13), the melody suddenly becomes very warm before returning to the darker tone in the thirteenth measure (1:22).* While these are the two largest shifts, and the most distinct bright or dark moments, the entire melody is composed of complex tonal shifts similar to the intro to Arkhangelsk.

(*Again, to avoid 32nd notes in the bass drum, I'm counting this as half time in a fast measure. If you're counting the snare as a back beat (2 & 4), 'nine' and 'thirteen' above should be 'five' and 'seven'.)

C - 1:31

The massive energy of the chorus quickly fades, replaced with a spacey, descending melody in the keys. The instrumentation sounds as though it might be a heavily modulated piano. A series of cymbal flourishes leads into the full introduction of the drums and bass before reentering the verse.

A' - 1:50

While this verse maintains the simple, consistent clean guitar heard in the first verse, the distorted guitar adds an extra layer to the composition. In the opening measures, the second guitar hammers out the beat. At the moments where the clean guitar changes to more dissonant chords (1:59 and 2:18), the distorted guitar lets notes ring through the measure. This reduces the emphasis on the rhythm and allows the strangeness of the chord changes to shine through.

Unlike the first transition from A to B, this section includes a small drum fill to carry the listener into the chorus.

B - 2:26

D (Bridge) - 3:03

The keyboard melody from C returns, but this time as a complement to a guitar melody. Like the clean guitar from the A section, this melody is based on repetition. This creates a familiar, unified moment for the listener, which is then slowly developed.

The melody evolves first by growing louder and adding a pinch harmonic at the end of the melody (3:21). At the same time, the distorted rhythm guitar is added, playing rhythmic accents to complement the lead. The second evolution occurs when both guitars join together (3:39), enhancing the melody and removing the heavy rhythmic character of the rhythm guitar in the section immediately prior. This version of the melody has a slightly different ending as well, repeating the notes at the end of the melody in the same place that the pinch harmonic had been placed earlier.

Like the A' section, this bridge transitions into the chorus with a small fill.

B – 3:58

This chorus plays initially like previous ones, but with extra measures. After the normal chorus, an extension to the melody is added.(4:35). This mournful conclusion is half the length of the normal chorus, which is an unusual division in music. Rather than playing the chorus twice, these extra measures continue the pattern of playing one extended, non-repeating melody line. This makes these measures completely unique in the song.

The final lyrics of the normal chorus are repeated over this section.

C (Outro) - 4:52

The end of the final chorus returns to the descending keyboard melody. This extended exit is accompanied by a few small melodies in the keys, as well as electronic noise. This is a familiar technique (similar to At Loss for Words or Winter Triangle), creating a sound which is more “atmosphere” than music, but completely foreign. The electronic ambiance dose not resemble a familiar terrestrial environment. Eventually, everything disappears except for the descending arpeggio which itself fades out, ending the main album.
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Old April 11th, 2010, 10:34 PM   #56 (permalink)
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Star of Nothingness

A – 0:00

This opening theme is the most active in the song. The peaks in the melody are ornamented by rapid pull offs, creating swift moments of tonal descent.

B – 0:25

This melody is much more reserved than the intro. The lower pitch and smaller range give it a more subdued tone. The most notable thing about this moment in the song is the lack of ornamentation relative to the other themes.

C – 0:37

This theme is something of a hybrid of the other two. While it maintains the subdued tonal character of the B Section, it implements some of the dexterous ornamentation from the A section.

The fourth and fifth notes of this section (0:39) are identical, creating an effect known as anticipation: the off-beat note forecasts the pitch of the following note on the beat.

A - 0:49

B - 1:13

C - 1:25

In this iteration of the C section, the effects on the guitar start to become more prominent, eventually overwhelming it.

A - 1:37

Only half of this A section plays before the harmony resolves and the guitar dissolves into noise.

Notes:

Star of Nothingness is a running duel between electronics and instrumentation. The entire song has a layer of ambiance behind it, which slowly grows to overwhelm the guitar. While the melody cycles, the song's linear evolution is in the balance. As the ambiance grows, the effects on the guitar become more prominent, eventually reversing the notes (though the melody continues to play forward normally).

The most interesting aspects to the guitar work would require digging into each note individually, so I will summarize them here. Techniques such as hammer ons and pull offs create notes which are slightly less percussive (and therefore, weaker) than picked notes. The various themes in the song play beats differently. The A section, for example, tends to de-emphasize beats beats by playing weaker techniques. This causes the melody to sound somewhat “unbound” to the grounding rhythm. The B section, in contrast, is fully picked, and lacks the same fluid feel.

The entire song is in 3/4, which I believe is a first for DT. Certain parts could be described as 3/4, but would be better described as 6/8 or 12/8. The key here is the emphasis on a slow (quarter-note) count of 3, rather than the tendency to count to two blocks of three in 6/8.
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Old April 13th, 2010, 11:07 PM   #57 (permalink)
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To Where Fires Cannot Feed

Theory - Compound time

To Where Fires Cannot Feed is in compound time. This means that each subdivision of time contains three beats, rather than two. Essentially, the meter of this song is 4/4 with triplets. For the sake of simplicity, we will call it 12/8 (4/4 is normally 8/8; three 8ths to a beat gives us 12/8). Each measure of 12/8 can be expressed as 24/16, and the 24 16th notes will be our test for equality in the varying measures below.

If there are three 8th notes to a beat, there must be six 16th notes. This is where compound meter becomes tricky. The placement of accents in each of these sextuplets creates vastly different effects in the song. The compound meter must include blocks of threes on one level, and blocks of two on another. These blocks create the unique "compound effect" of the meter. Below, two variations of the meter are described:

Version 1 - Counting three 8th notes (each a length of two 16ths):

Accents : |X-x-x-X-x-x-X-x-x-X-x-x-|
N. Count: |1 + a 2 + a 3 + a 4 + a |
8th Count:|1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 |


In this chart, each quarter note contains three accents ('x'), with the quarter notes themselves accented ('X'). Each of these notes is comprised of two 16th notes, based upon the number of ticks occupied.

There are four blocks three 8th notes, each 8th being two 16ths (4 x 3 x 2 = 24). There are more strong 8ths per beat, but each is comprised of a familiar, simple block of 2.

Version 2 - Counting two 8th notes (each a length of three 16ths):

Accents : |X--x--X--x--X--x--X--x--|
N. Count: |1 + a 2 + a 3 + a 4 + a |
8th Count:|1..+..2..+..3..+..4..+..|


There are four blocks of two 8th notes, each 8th being three 16ths (4 x 2 x 3 = 24). There are fewer strong 8ths per beat, but each is comprised of a compound block of 3.

The second version is extremely appealing in metal, as it places the compound effect on the 16th note level, provide an interesting space in which to build unique shredding riffs. At the same time, note the
pattern of accents: four evenly placed beats with four even intermediary beats. On its own (without compound 16th notes played in between), this sounds identical to 4/4. It is also worthwhile to note that the 2nd example shown above actually demonstrates double-time feel in a compound meter.

These distinct uses of 12/8 are described here, as To Where Fires Cannot Feed uses both.

A - 0:00

This section serves as a "launch pad" for the rest of the song. The guitar and bass play the main theme of the song quietly. This creates contrast to the more bombastic interpretation of the theme to follow. Note the pattern of chord changes here, as it will occur at various times throughout the song.

The rhythm played by the instruments most resembles the first usage compound time demonstrated above.

B (Verse 1) - 0:16

Here, the rhythm shifts to the second compound time example shown above. Because of the placement of accents, the tempo effectively doubles. While this part of the song is played in double-time, it shares the harmonic rhythm of the section above. That is, each chord change is in the same place during each part, even though there are twice as many accents in the instrumentation.

The guitars play smoothly through this section. The drums make use of the compound 16ths to provide the accents to this even rhythm, bringing out the beats without causing the riff to sound punctuated.

C (Verse 2) - 0:32

In this section, the smooth guitar work is replaced with rapid arpeggios, playing up and down through a series a chords. The tight guitar work is accented by remarkably precise drumming. The sharp combination of ride cymbal and bass drum notes, played perfectly over every note in the guitars creates the effect of accenting every note. In the B section, the guitars played every 16th note in the measure, but it had a smooth flow; here, the sharp and constant impacts of the drums give every note punch despite the evenness normal introduced in playing every note.

Rather than play the drumbeat through the section in the simplest fashion, this passage is adorned with a number of extra touches, from splash cymbal notes to mini-fills on the toms.

B' - 0:48

This version of the B section is generally identical to the earlier one. The only real difference is the addition of an extra synth melody played above the rest of the instruments.

C' - 1:04

In this version of the C section, the guitars are different. Rather than the rapid arpeggios originally played, one guitar plays rapid shredding, interrupted by the other notes of the chord to form a small melody. The other guitar plays the block chords behind it.

D - 1:20

The D section uses a similar guitar rhythm to the one introduced in C'. Instead of the series of chords in the preceding section, it repeats the same chord, creating a heavy, non-melodic grind. Chord changes, played along with the other guitar and synths end the passage (1:26). Note that these chords which fill out the riff are played on the keys by the introduction of the arpeggio which will accompany the repeat.

The repeat of the section adds a rapid arpeggio in the keys. The arpeggio, like the guitars grinding away below it, cycles through the same chord several times before playing the chords that end the section.

B '- 1:36

E - 1:52

Here, the tempo of the song is half that used in the rest. The drums accent half as many beats, but continue playing the counting in the cymbals on the same beats. This effectively places the song in 4/4, but with the oddly-spaced 8th notes creating a shuffle feel.

At the same time that the drums become sparse, the rapid, even guitar work of the previous section is replaced by drawn out chords. This creates a small moment of dramatic tension in the song, separated from the rapid technical work played elsewhere.

From this basis, the keys play a slow, somber melody. The even notes of the piano are a byproduct of the 4/4 similarity described above and in the intro. The spacing of the notes leaves no hint that they are played in a song composed in 12/8.

F - 2:08

All instrumentation disappears except for the keys, joined shortly by the drums (2:24). The rhythm here, after all the compound chaos in the rest of the song, is actually in straight 4/4. This is significant because it completely changes the feel of the song. After flowing counts of three throughout the rest of the song, the simple two-counts here sound almost mechanical.

Also significant in this transition is the impossibility of notating it. The beats of this section match perfectly with the beats in the rest of the song. However, given the editorial decision to describe the song in compound double-time, the "8th notes" in the piano would actually fall somewhere on odd 32nd notes in the notation shown in the introduction.

G (Solo) - 2:40

This section aggressively restores the 12/8 feel, while maintaining the beat of the previous section.

This solo is an excellent example of a reserved DT solo. It begins slow, then picks up steam as it goes on, shortly moving into the next section without interrupting the flow of the song.

The rhythm guitar riff here is new to the song. The chords played are taken directly from the A and B sections, but the specific orchestration of the riff is much sharper and more rhythmic.

E + Solo - 2:56

This section is based off of the E section played above, but with both guitars playing playing a rapidly tapped melody which forms the conclusion of the solo. Because both guitars are playing such a high-pitched melody, the mid-levels of the song are empty. This gives a similar “clear air” feel as in the verses of Her Silent Language.

Halfway through the section (3:04), one guitar switches to playing the chords of the section, filling the sonic gap between the other instruments. The ending is interesting, in that it actually adds in a single odd measure to create a gap before moving on with the song (3:12).

G – 3:14

This section is essentially the G that originally accompanied the opening section. Here, however, it functions as a verse. It still inherits the harmony of the A and B sections, but it uses harsher grind of the first G section.

D - 3:30

Notes:

From the solo onwards, the smooth B section, as well as the less-smooth but still even C section, which effectively introduces the song is not seen again. As a result, everything after the chorus, while harmonically referencing the earlier moments of the song, is much harsher and more rhythmic.

This song possesses one of the more unique structures on WAtV. The B section originally lacks the extra synth melody which will accompany it in all later iterations. This simplifies the opening of the song, while the lead that comes in later serves to elevate the energy of the B section to match the more technical Cs that surround it. The introduction of a guitar riff in a solo, which is later used on its own is also an interesting choice. As described above, the G section that appears towards the end of the song, instead of the smoother B section, maintains the cold, rhythmic feel of the song's conclusion.
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Old April 26th, 2010, 05:34 PM   #58 (permalink)
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Out of Gravity

A - 0:00

The intro to Out of Gravity is tricky and difficult to count. The guitar plays in patterns of two notes at a time, given the impression of playing in simple time (three measures of 4/4). However, these notes alternate oddly over the counted notes which are in compound time (specifically, 12/8). The cymbal counting is depicted below, with the '~' representing the roll at the end.

Cymbal:|x-----x-----------x-----|------x-----x-~~~~~~~~~~|
Count :|1 + + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + + |1 + + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + + |


Note that the guitar patterns are offset, creating an interesting stereoscopic effect as the two melody lines play against each other.

B - 0:11

The full band enters. While the drums carry the compound meter, the bass drum follows the syncopation of the guitars. The piano over the top plays the smooth, flowing count of the compound meter.

C (Verse 1) - 0:27

The sharp, rhythmic syncopation of the guitars is replaced by drawn out chords. The melody in this section is very slight, and focuses on moving between chords.

When reciting this song in my head without hearing it, the final word of the line "what took you from me" seems to be wailed, even though the growl is the same as the rest of the line. The effect comes from the way that the ear perceives simultaneous sounds, subconsciously combining the pinch harmonic behind the word with the delivery of the word itself.

D (Verse 2) - 0:42

Here the drums play every 16th note, giving the section an even feel. The lead guitar plays a rapid melody composed of so many notes that it's almost difficult to follow. Listening to the melody without really focusing on it allows the melody to emerge from the chaos.

The drums almost play this section in double time, as the ornamentation on the cymbals accents notes between those accented by the snare.

The fill that ends the section, in both the drums and rhythm guitar, introduces rapid triplets at the 16th note level, which forecasts the complex meter of the next section.

E (Chorus) - 0:57

Here, the beat changes significantly. Instead of accenting the first note in blocks of three 8th notes to form a beat, the final 8th note in each group of three is accented. It becomes necessary, then, to count each 8th note as a beat. The resulting feel is that of a waltz, a traditional dance meter composed of three beats. Waltzes are notated in 3/4 to emphasize the blocks of three. In this instance, the quarter notes of a 3/4 measure would be equivalent to the 8th notes in the 12/8 of the rest of the song. This common element allows the sections to be bridged smoothly during performance.

The rhythm element of the keys features blocks of three over the drums, with a second melody playing over the top. This melody plays over the blocks of three such that it forms a shuffle, a common element of the waltz feel.

In the notes for To Where Fires Cannot Feed, I described various divisions of compound time as requiring divisions of either a) two 8th notes, each of three 16ths in length, or b) three 8th notes, each of two 16ths. This was a lie of convenience. It is possible, though incredibly rare, to compound a compound meter. That is, three 8th notes in a block, each of which is composed of three 16th notes. In this instance, each block of three has a value of 9/16. In traditional waltz meter, 9/8. If the 12/8 of the rest of the song is continued here, each measure is equivalent to 36/16.

In the present case, the keys follow the 8th notes, while the guitars and bass drum grind away in the extra layer of compound notes. A notation of one cycle of the drums follows; the guitars follow the bass drum perfectly.

Cr|x--x--x--|x--x--x--|x--x--x--|x--x--x--|
SD|------x--|------x--|------x--|---x--x--|
BD|xxxxxx---|xxxxxx---|---xxx---|xxx------|
Ct|1--2--3--|1--2--3--|1--2--3--|1--2--3--|


In the above notation, each measure is a count of three. If all four measures are packed into one, the result is the same 12/8 as the rest of the song. In blocks of three, it represents the waltz feel (each numeral could be an 8th or quarter note; it's arbitrary). Note that each beat is comprised of three 16th notes denoted by '-'.

Adding to the interesting composition of this section is the fact that the four measures shown above, which form the basic template for this section, play in three times, then repeat for another three. This is extremely unusual, as song sections are generally comprised of even numbers of measures.

In short, this composition contains
- two iterations of the section, each composed of
- three repetitions of pattern which is
- four measures of
- three beats which each have a length of
- three 16th notes.

For reference, the vast majority of music uses blocks of four measures of four beats and four 16th notes. Each instance of the number three in the above list is a deviation from music convention.

D - 1:20

E - 1:50

F (Solo 1) - 2:13

This solo resembles the one in The Fatalist, in that it is based on a repeating melody. This melody is played through twice each time, with two different endings. The first two beats of each measure are identical, but the first measure ends with the melody dropping an octave and playing in tandem with the rhythm guitar (2:15), while the second measure ends in an ascending melody before repeating.

In the first iteration, the lead melody plays over a short, percussive interlude by the drums and guitar (2:13). The second iteration plays after the introduction of a beat filled with ornamentation on the drums (2:20). The third iteration introduces rapid pull offs into the guitar pattern (2:27).

Note that, like the E section, this solo plays through three iterations, each comprised of two 12/8 measures.

G (Verse 3) - 2:35

This verse is new. After the furious technicality and dramatic chord changes of the preceding section, the smooth and even feel of this section is soothing, creating a small moment of tension and contrast between the two solos.

H1 (Solo 2) - 2:51

This solo is introduced quietly, beginning with a moment of contrast between the pounding rhythm guitars and quiet lead. The opening melody played by the clean guitar resembles that played in the F section, including the part of the melody played in tandem with the rhythm guitar (2:53). The melody plays through two measures in 12/8, before taking a third measure to build into the proper solo. Three measures is a very unusual number for any section of a song.

H2 - 3:01

The rhythm guitar begins playing a riff which is very similar to the B section, grinding on notes in between those of the snare (3:01).

The melody of the lead guitar is a more typical solo: bombastic and non-repeating. It builds through several iterations before returning to the song. Specifically, it plays through two sections of four measures each (the second set of four begins at 3:16).

C - 3:32

D - 3:48

E - 4:03

In this iteration of the chorus, the even triplets in the keys are missing. As a result, the sound is somewhat hollow, with a sonic gap between the hyper-technical grind and the soft shuffle of the melody.

Notes:

The waltz feel in the chorus of Out of Gravity is unique. Careful attention to the two melodies in the keys makes the unique rhythm apparent, but the ability to import the groove without actually creating an anachronistic-sounding waltz is impressive.

The numbers in Out of Gravity are very strange. The chorus and first solo are based off of repetitions of three measures, rather than the symmetrical four that are expected. The second solo is introduced by two measures which reference the pattern of the first solo, but has a third which functions as a ramp into the solo proper, itself composed of conventional blocks of four.

Aside from the interesting occurrences of threes in the arrangement of the song, the entire thing is in compound time (12/8 in my counting above, or twice as many measures of 6/8 if you prefer), introducing threes at that level as well. This is more of a stylistic choice. On the technical level, the chorus exhibits an impressive compounding of its own compound meter, introducing threes at an even lower level. Interestingly, the song could be reinterpreted without this last layer of compounding, as the notes used are purely rhythmic and would not distort the melody if rearranged into duplets ("twos").

Reading meaning from non-lingual art forms is almost always doomed to failure, but one wonders if there is not some hidden meaning to the repetition of threes. In some ancient cultures, quantities of one and two were definite, whereas three and beyond was simply "a great amount." Multiples of three, then, represent layers of magnitude, with great amounts of great amounts multiplying geometrically towards infinity. Or something.
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Old April 29th, 2010, 08:30 PM   #59 (permalink)
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The Bow and the Arrow

A – 0:00

In this intro, the keys and one guitar using an e-bow play a sparse melody over the work of the drums and the other guitar. The rhythm guitar plays a pattern of straight sixteenth notes. The first and third beats of the measure are accented by rapid 32nd notes, while the second and fourth beats are accented tonally. The guitar pattern breaks in a few places (such as 0:06), returning emphasis to the drums for the end of the pattern. The 32nd note grind is also used as a fill in the section. Since the 32nd note blocks act as accents, they actually add punch to the melody, which descends as they play (0:11).

B (Verse) – 0:25

The grind of the guitar gives way to quiet, clean guitar work. The sonic contrast makes this a mellow moment in the song. While the drums carry the same beat from one section to the next, the ambiance of this section is composed of steady bass work and light guitar chords.

C (Verse 2) – 0:37

This section of the verse is more active than the preceding one. A new guitar lead is introduced, playing a more defined melody than in the previous section.

D (Pre-Chorus) – 0:49

Here, the song switches to double time. The guitars begin shredding out the rhythm while a rolling synth melody plays over the top.

E (Chorus) – 1:01

The tempo returns to its original pace. The pounding rhythm in the drums adds weight to each 16th note played in the double-bass roll, while the snare drum plays either on the beat or on odd 16th notes which set up anticipation for the beat.

The first few notes are played by just the guitars, which move from one pitch to second over which the keys play short blocks of descending notes. In the second iteration of the section, one guitar begins playing the melody of the keys, but at a lower pitch, partially cloaked by the other guitar (1:13).

F – 1:25

The melody of this section is very similar to that of the C section. Here it is played with more aggression and distortion. Similarly, rather than the hanging tones and partial melody heard earlier, here it is developed into a tight metal grove before returning to the chorus.

D – 1:37

This time, the D section plays through twice, ending the first time with a roll on the toms (1:47). While the previous section also ended with a fill that transitioned smoothly, this one ends by simply pounding out the 3rd and 4th beats of the final measure. This causes a break in the flow from one section to the next. While this is generally avoided, it helps to bridge these two sections which are in different time signature (simple vs. compound). Further, since the D section is in double time and thus placing beats on every 8th note, this fill helps to center the rhythm on the quarter notes in preparation for the next section.

G (Bridge) – 2:01

Apart from the return to the normal tempo, begun in the fill ending the previous section, this is also in compound time. The rhythm used is based off of adding compound 16th notes to the 8th notes of the previous section (as opposed to adding extra 8th notes). This allows the two different time signatures to overlap, as they share quarter and 8th notes. The guitars play chords over the section while the keys play a short, simple melody, using the 8th notes of the measures.

The section switches to a double time groove (2:13). This is much the same as switching to double time in a simple meter (i.e. the transition from C to D). However, it is now impossible for the instruments to avoid playing the compound meter, as the next division of time below the beat is in threes. Here, it manifests in the shredding of the guitars. The keys continue as before, now using synthesized strings instead of piano. The melody of the keys does not share the double time transition, playing at the same rate as before.

The section returns to its original compound meter (2:25) with the addition of lyrics before continuing onward.

A – 2:37

This section ends the compound time of the bridge section, returning the song to simple time. Reintroduction of the lone guitar grind emphasizes the difference between the smooth feel of the slow compound time and the sharp, rhythmic grooves in simple time.

Unlike the original A section, this one features an extended intro. The rhythm guitar enters alone. The first and third beats are still accented with the 32nd note grinds, but the tonal accents are otherwise ignored. The entire intro, then, is composed of a single note. The gaps for emphasizing the drums (like the drums themselves) are also gone. The second guitar joins the grind (2:40) before the original, full A section riff is reintroduced (2:42).

B - 2:55

F - 3:01

This F section, based off of the C section, takes its place as the second half of this verse.

D – 3:13

E – 3:25

Notes:

Here are some attempts at illustrating the math of switching from simple time to compound time, and then performing a double time transition in both simple and compound time. I've done this entirely using drum tablature, as the drums most clearly signal the location of notes (through cymbals and snare).

To begin, here is what simple time looks like (most sections):

C|x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-|
S|----x-------x---|
B|x-------x-------|
c|1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |


Now, with the addition of double time in the second measure (D section):

C|x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-|x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-|
S|----x-------x---|--x---x---x---x-|
B|x-------x-------|x---x---x---x---|
c|1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + |


Here is the first simple time example, notated in compound time (showing where the new notes will pop up). Note that each 8th note is now comprised of three `-` (G section):

This is played exactly the same as the first simple time example: nothing is played on the extra notes just yet, and the 8th notes overlap. The ticks just represent smaller divisions of time.

C|x--x--x--x--x--x--x--x--|
S|------x-----------x-----|
B|x-----------x-----------|
c|1 + + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + + |
<-This counting is meaningless in this form of compound time.

Now, the compound notated beat shown in double time (G section):

C|x--x--x--x--x--x--x--x--|x--x--x--x--x--x--x--x--|
S|------x-----------x-----|---x-----x-----x-----x--|
B|x-----------x-----------|x-----x-----x-----x-----|
c|1 + + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + + |1 + + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + + |


These are the two basic patterns used in the G section:

C|x--x--x--x--x--x--x--x--|x--x--x--x--x--x--x--x--|
S|------x-----------x-----|---x-----x-----x-----x--|
B|xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx|x-x---x-x---x-x---x-x---|
c|1 + + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + + |1 + + 2 + + 3 + + 4 + + |
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Old May 5th, 2010, 09:30 PM   #60 (permalink)
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The following passages are a compilation of speculation, conjecture, caffeine overdoses, and WAGs. They should not be taken seriously by anyone. There is wide space available for the interpretation of abstract lyrics; no assumption should be made that any of the following is correct or even particularly logical. You're welcome to disagree, and finding your own meaning and inspiration in the lyrics is encouraged.

“Persona,” “narrator,” and “speaker” are used interchangeably. They refer to the person speaking words. “Protagonist” refers to the character undergoing the metaphysical journey of the album. He doesn't speak in most songs, but words are directed to him. I think Stanne uses 2nd-person phrasing to address the protagonist/himself to add punch to his lyrics: “Your thoughts are broken” is an accusation, “My thoughts are broken” would be more of a whine or confession.

I have Americanized all spellings. Due to epic historical accident, punctuation marks go inside of quotation marks in America, but outside for the rest of the world. I would prefer outside, personally, but I have gone American on that point as well.

We Are the Void contains 2,701 words, not counting titles. The following contains 7,168, though I have quoted liberally from the master.

"I'm sorry I wrote you such a long letter; I didn't have time to write a short one." — Blaise Pascal
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Old May 5th, 2010, 09:31 PM   #61 (permalink)
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I - A - Fatalism

I. Concept and Theme

A. Fatalism

We Are the Void is about death, but it is more accurately (and seemingly paradoxically) about life. While it is common for explorations of death to focus on the thing itself, this album concerns itself primarily with man’s living relationship to the inevitability of his own death. The story centers on a protagonist who is forced to confront his own mortality by witnessing it externally. A large portion of the album is spent dealing the philosophical implications of mortality, rather than the moment itself. This series of monologues ultimately resolves with another, more definite question that serves as a prompt for the protagonist to live by.

The element of death is embodied through the philosophy of fatalism. Fatalism is the belief that man’s ultimate fate (death) is decided, and cannot be altered. This idea is related to determinism, the belief that all events are predetermined, but distinguished by its limitation to matters of ultimate fate. A fatalist believes that, while the past and distant future are immutable, the present is subject to will. The decisions made by the protagonist according to his will become central subjects in the album.

Fatalism has ancient Scandinavian roots, as anyone who has read Beowulf (or watched The 13th Warrior) could tell you. In some cultures, the belief is liberating as it absolves individuals of control of one of the scariest aspects of life, its end. Shadow in Our Blood, which serves a thematic overture of the album, introduces the concept in a different light.

Quote:
We are delusional
To go against mortality
Still we fight, love and create
As the only creatures
In on life’s grand secrets
We sense the pointlessness beyond
These lyrics describe the paradox of humanity: we follow our animal survival instinct despite the conscious recognition that life is temporary. At the same time, the lyrics also describe the species as “delusional” for living in the face of death. This is presented in the overture as a critical piece of the puzzle that the protagonist must solve. Here, he has judged our continued living in the face of death negatively, assuming that it is based on falsehood. This position will alter as the album progresses.

The Fatalist begins to introduce the plot of the character’s progression:

Quote:
For once we’ve seen the fragile nature
Of things behind these windows
The character’s fatalism is inspired by a forced confrontation of mortality. Having witnessed death in another, he is forced to confront the value and nature of his own life in the face of this new input that he had previously hidden from himself. The degree of this revelation is realized in contrast to the protagonist’s previous state:

Quote:
What once had been an endless realm
Of possibility and dream
Now laid to waste and ruin
And laid to waste again
The “ruin” that befalls the infinite realm is believed to be caused by death itself. The words of the chorus are directed at the fatalist, not spoken by him. He is described externally as a fatalist, as though it were an objective matter and not one of philosophy. The inevitability of his fatalism is echoed in reality, in which he “walk[s] on soil that dreams of blood.”

Quote:
The day has come
You are the fatalist
You walk on soil
That dreams of blood
The “day [that] has come” in the above lyric could be viewed as the moment of death, described with a definite article (“the”), as it is the only predetermined day to the fatalist. What is significant, however, is that this day of death is not the day in which the protagonist dies, but the one in which his infinite reality is slaughtered by the arrival of his fatalistic revelation. His remaining reality, the portion of eternity which he is afforded, is simultaneously made meaningless by its limited nature and anti-climactic ending.

While the protagonist reaches this conclusion early on, he has not yet fully considered the implications of his fatalist beliefs, believing his fatalism to be inevitable. This flirts with the concept of determinism, and serves to absolve him of responsibility for his own life. The doubt is introduced in the final verses of The Fatalist:

Quote:
Your thoughts are broken
Your reasoning is flawed
Defense is just an act
And lies are all you’ve got

How easy can we see
Defeat behind your argument
That fatalistic smile
“That fatalistic smile” is the façade of indifference to fate. The protagonist seemingly embraces fatalism, a philosophy with some physical truth to it, and uses it to justify his resignation to determinism. His smile is false, as the philosophy that he claims to have embraced is based on flawed logic and serves only to absolve him of responsibility for his remaining life.

This philosophical conundrum is partially resolved in The Grandest Accusation. This song, like The Fatalist, is most likely sung from an external perspective as it addresses itself to the protagonist of the story. In the opening lines, parallel structure is used to describe death in several analogies:

Quote:
What if you are an island of sorrow?
Then I’ll be the raging sea
What if you are the reaching trees?
Then I’ll be the storm that with fire rages
The persona speaking these lines is likely the character’s sorrow, an embodiment of the negative aspects of his fatalism. This sorrow is personified, as the protagonist needs this agent of fate to give his will over and surrender. However, he is instead treated to the Grandest Accusation:

Quote:
Man is the cemetery for unlived life
All for naught
The grand accusation
There are several possible interpretations for what the Grandest Accusation may be. It is my belief that it is best interpreted as this: Man is his own murderer. While his mortality may have severed him from the eternity that he naively thought he would live, it was his own inability to manage the resultant sorrow that killed his remaining potential. Paralyzed by the fear of death and given over to determinism to avoid the battle against that fear, he fails to realize his remaining time, and thus becomes “the cemetery for unlived life.”

Note also the ruin described in The Fatalist: “now laid to waste and ruin/now laid to waste again/you wash your hands in blood.” Not only is our eternity slain by mortality, but we ruin it a second time by surrendering to sorrow. In that surrender, we “wash our hands” of responsibility, justified by our impending deaths.

Fueled by this revelation, the protagonist is finally able to realize his will and challenge his fate. It is said that great literature raises questions, but does not give answers. Here, that maxim is fulfilled by a conclusion in the form of a question. In At the Point of Ignition, the protagonist faces off against his fatalistic sorrow:

Quote:
Do not hide your sorrow
Or banish it from sight
Take it out to burn
Set the pain against it
Here the resolution is first voiced: rather than banish the sorrow of mortality, confront it. The flame metaphor is introduced here, but not fully elucidated until the chorus:

Quote:
In our day that holds no other
What are we
The fuel or the flame?
In the life that hides behind you
What are you
The fuel or the flame?
The fuel/flame dichotomy, when fit into the revelations of fatalism, is the choice between being consumed by sorrow or using that sorrow to inspire life. Despite being about death, and dwelling so thoroughly on the implications and sorrow associated with it, the album actually peaks with a message of hope. One’s impending death should be a motivation to do greater things now, rather than an excuse to simply give up. At the Point of Ignition also reconciles this enlightened view of sorrow as a motivator, rather than a destroyer, in a later verse:

Quote:
What if we don’t question
The meaning of it all?
The answer in our system
Bound to kill the spark
Here, fatalism is termed “the answer in our system,” a default human reaction to mortality. It is a self-defeating philosophy which “kill[s] the spark” and leaves us unable to burn onwards in life. Questioning this view and recognizing the defeat inspired by fatalistic thinking leads to a simple realization: without questioning our fate and our dying instinct, everything is meaningless. Here, the protagonist does not expose the meaning that he has found to inspire life, but he does draw out the conflict and the decision he must make to continue: In a world of self and sorrow, which will consume the other?

Bonus point: Between the album’s original arrangement and the release, At the Point of Ignition and Shadow in Our Blood switched places on the album. In the current arrangement, this cycle of songs at the beginning of the album leads from resignation to hope; in the original arrangement, it moved from hope to resignation. This leads to an interesting issue of objective truth:

The persona in At the Point of Ignition thinks that surrendering to sorrow without searching for meaning is cowardly and meaningless.

The persona in Shadow in Our Blood thinks that fighting the inevitability of oblivion is delusional and meaningless.

Which one is correct? Different arrangements of songs lead to different metaphysical paths by the protagonist. As this is not truly a concept album, there’s really no reason to assume that the songs should be read in one direction or another; it is up to the listener to decide which end of that journey, the fight or the surrender, is a greater truth.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 09:32 PM   #62 (permalink)
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I - B - Loss

B. Loss

Loss is also a major part of We Are the Void. While many songs deal with an individual’s relationship to his own mortality, it also deals with the effects of mortality on relationships. Logic allows us to redefine our beliefs and responses to stimuli; in the above example, one moves from paralysis over death to a supreme inspiration from it. Logic, however, cannot overcome the chemical and metaphysical pain of loss. In its darker moments, We Are the Void dwells on this pain.

One of the most compelling lyrics on the album is found in To Where Fires Cannot Feed: “The burden of love alive.” This could mean many different things. In context, there is “no way to hold” this burden. Its uncontainable nature is suggestive of the massive scale of the burden. Several interpretations exist, and provide the key to understanding the fear of loss embodied in the album.

The simplest explanation is that it is the pain of love separated by death. Her Silent Language strongly evinces these feelings:

Quote:
Why do I see her
Through never ending nights?
Why do I see her
Wearing nothing but the dark?

Have you come here to warn me
Of what I cannot see?
You want to tell me something
But you do not have the words
Our narrator is haunted by the memory of a lost loved one. He is burdened by the feeling that something was left unsaid, but powerless to communicate across the boundary of death. Death is represented here by the darkness in which she is cloaked, as well the oblivion of nighttime which brings him closest to her memory. The woman to whom he is speaking “do[es] not have the words” because she does not exist. Words that were not spoken before the separation cannot ever be spoken, leaving him tormented by the curiosity of what has been left unsaid.

The pain of loss, like all pain in Dark Tranquillity songs, manifests in passionate defiance. Out of Gravity concerns this defiance of mortality, inspired by loss:

Quote:
Each and every night
My heart shoulders the armor
And charges into the dark
To slay what took you from me
But there in the eye of the prey
I see my reflection
The armor now shatters to pieces
Until I hear the call again

Alone I set out to find you
Below the timeline
Alone and far from the stars
I walk out of gravity
The protagonists cloaks his emotions, represented by his heart, in an armor of resolve. He charges into the night, the oblivion which brings him closest to death, to exact his revenge on the thing which took his loved one. It is nebulous in this instance, but his target may be death itself, or it could be fatalist thinking manifested as suicide (willful acceptance of death). Recognizing the thing which took his loved one in himself, his resolve breaks. He abandons his quest until the “call” returns. The chorus presents an interesting series of images: “below the timeline” may suggest that his quest takes place in memory, skipping around in the narrative of his life. “Far from the stars” could suggest that there is no space image intended. It could also reinforce his solitude, as he elsewhere refers to humans as “sun gods.” “Out of Gravity” could mean that he is breaking from logic, or breaking from earthly mortality. Defying the physical force of gravity might parallel the concept of breaking out of time. Time and gravity are certainly connected by general relativity (which will not be explored here).

The Bow and the Arrow is also about loss, and heavily suggestive of suicide:

Quote:
The print you left
Bear just witness
To the forceful push
With which you thrust yourself
Out from this world
Your own very being
Launched away from this
Temporary hold

You are never gone
The letters of your name
A scar that never heals

So be the bow and the arrow
Be the rope and the angered scream
To “be the bow and the arrow” suggests that one becomes not only an impelled object (the arrow), but also the mode of impulse (the bow). As humans are carried by time and gravity towards death, becoming the bow suggests taking charge of fate. Consider the fatalist's dilemma: to surrender to inevitability, or to live a life of value in spite of it. Suicide is ultimately a way to be free of the fear of death by embracing it. The “temporary hold” of the physical body, itself held by the gravity, time and death, is broken with a “force push...out from this world.” At the same time, a “print” of memory is left behind. Time slowly wears away at this print:

Quote:
As time now eats away
At the unmarked graves
And indifferent winds take speed
Over lands of uncertainty
To hold what can be held
Against the coming dark
The passage of time wears down the memory of the lost. The “indifferent winds” may represent time, passing into an unknown future. “To hold what can be held against the coming dark” refers to the survivors, who maintain their lives into an unknown future which certainly contains death. The character that embraces death is forgotten in the passage of time. However, the pain of that loss is born by the survivors: “Grief is the razor within these walls of skin.” Similarly, The Grandest Accusation is particularly harsh to those who choose to embrace death:

Quote:
You chose rejection
Over thoughts of insight
You take action
From focus on intent
And brace for impact
Now waiting for the fall
The Burden of Love Alive may alternatively represent the compulsion to continue living in fear of death because of our obligations to others. Death is a less daunting concept to solitary characters. A “lone wolf” has nothing to fear from death other than the loss of individuality: “The ultimate rebellion/be nothing to no one.” However, as we grow older and develop ties to family and friends, death becomes more meaningful, as our survival is necessary to save those closest to us from the pain described above. In My Absence is an interesting track, as it appears to be spoken from beyond death. Whether or not the speaker is supernatural, the subject is one that is meaningful to the living: the fear of leaving dependent survivors behind.

Quote:
But I can never be there
The rush of hours that never seem to end
What life has dealt you cannot comprehend
I am the absentee

I know you're out there searching tonight
I'm right here
Another day and I cannot see through your eyes
I'm right here
At the same time, the song could simply be about one who cannot connect deeply enough with a person considering suicide. That person “can never be there” because they cannot see the true misery and thought processes fueling the fatalist, and is thus unable to prevent the inevitable:

Quote:
How could I have known what preceeded your own thoughts?
Wish that I could listen to what only speaks inside
Every raging dissonance, each jarring note

But I could never be there

How could you think that I would understand
When words just go around what the heart truly wants?

I am the absentee
In this instance, the first interpretation of The Burden of Love Alive is true: the protagonist is mourning the loss of a loved one. Another interpretation of The Burden of Love Alive is discussed in section D.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 09:32 PM   #63 (permalink)
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I - C - Global Extinction

C. Global Extinction

Iridium presents an interesting challenge in interpretation. The lyrics from the chorus suggest that it may have something to do with the recycling of matter. Because the earth is a (generally) closed system, we are all composed of matter that was once a part of something else. When we die and return our elements to the earth, and we will eventually be re-incorporated into new life.

Quote:
Shattered into a million brighter stars
Each flare unique and rare
Scattered across forever
Out from creation’s core
An end beyond compare
While We Are the Void generally takes an atheistic view of death, the thought that our matter, “a million brighter stars,” is at least recycled into the chain of life is a pleasant one. The shift in the chorus, from ominous to semi-comforting suggests that, while death is a large and ominous thing, it is a very natural process; our fear is to be expected, but there’s really nothing bad about it.

However, this reading completely ignores the title of the song. Iridium is an element (atomic number 77). It is in the platinum family of metals, and extremely difficult to work with due to its hardness and melting point. It is approximately 1/4th as abundant as gold, making it one of the rarest elements on the planet. It has a number of industrial uses, though worldwide consumption is fairly low. While Industrial Uses of Transition Metals is almost certainly the title and subject of the next Devin Townsend album, it is an unlikely subject for Dark Tranquillity. So, what is Iridium about?

In geology, layers of soil are compressed beneath other layers, hardening to become rock. Digging through rock, we can see rock strata, lines representing different soil compositions at different times in history. Strata, much like the lines in a tree, is a timeline of the planet’s life. This allows us to study historic climates and date interesting things found in rocks (such as fossils). At times, sharp shifts in the strata suggest that something major has happened.

One interesting transition is the one between the late Cretaceous period (the last age of the dinosaurs) and the Tertiary period (now). This boundary is know as the K-T boundary, and represents a turning point for life on earth. Simultaneously, many species from below the barrier became extinct, and a number of new species came into existence afterwards. The K-T boundary also contains massive amounts of iridium relative to the rock above and below it. This suggests that iridium, very rare on the earth, was somehow introduced to the planet in large quantity at the same time that everything living on it became extinct.

Iridium is only rare because it bonds with iron and sinks into the Earth’s core; it is more common in extra-terrestrial bodies which contain even distributions of elements. For this reason, it is hypothesized that most of the iridium in the K-T boundary was introduced to the earth from a meteor impact.

This was largely confirmed by the discovery of the impact crater. The Chicxulub crater, off the Yucatan peninsula, dates to the time of the K-T extinction event. It is believed to have been caused by an asteroid, ten kilometers in diameter, which impacted Earth, forever altering its topography and creating massive climate disruptions that destroyed most of its species. The asteroid is believed to have originated from an impact in the asteroid belt that sent a number of high-energy fragments blasting out into the solar system.

Quote:
Shattered into a million brighter stars
Each flare unique and rare
Scattered across forever
Out from creation’s core
An end beyond compare
Iridium
Here, the shattering could reflect the collision in the asteroid belt or the tendency of meteors, while burning through the Earth’s atmosphere, to break into smaller particles. After these “unique and rare” flares smashed into the planet, vaporized iridium particles settled in significant concentrations all across the planet. The “end beyond compare” could refer to the epic destruction of the asteroid. It could also refer to the scale of death planet-wide, greater than any other natural disaster.

The intense, ominous, and unexpected chorus of Iridium makes sense if you assume that it’s about an inconceivably large object striking the earth and ending all life.

Iridium was named after the Greek goddess Iris, goddess of rainbows, because the initial salts created from the element were brightly colored. This was some time in the early 19th century. The irony did not become apparent until the formulation of the K-T extinction theory over 160 years later. Iris is a winged goddess, and the messenger of the gods. This is much like the archangels of Judeo-Christian tradition. One notable Archangel is Michael, the strategist of the armies of heaven. The Archangel Michael Monastery on the bank of the Dvina River became the namesake of the city which grew there, Arkhangelsk. Arkhangelsk is about some cataclysmic event, and makes reference to a “morning star”:

Quote:
Inherit from the morning star
What others brought and the land forgot
Perhaps the “morning star” is a chunk of iridium. The Chicxulub crater where it landed is an undersea crater, undiscovered until 1976. Perhaps that morning star and its impact are what “the land forgot.” Arkhangelsk also makes reference to “soaring through Van Allen belts.” The Van Allen radiation belts are layers of charged particles that surround the Earth, trapped by its magnetic field. Anything traveling through the Van Allen Belts is either coming or going from the planet.

(It should also be mentioned that Vikings once invaded Arkhangelsk, and it was later the base of operations for attacks against Sweden. There was also a huge cache of buried silver discovered near the city, so it’s possible the lyrics have nothing to do with the connection drawn above.)

Further, this picture suggests an archangel/meteor connection. Both songs share co-writing credits in the lyrics.

The image of the planet becoming inhospitable also has interesting implications when considered with some of the other songs on the album. Specifically, To Where Fire Cannot Feed uses a lot of imagery (and music) suggestive of launching into space, while Out of Gravity could also be about leaving the earth. These songs likely have their own meaning, but leaving this planet would grant the species a greater degree of immortality by allowing it to escape an earthly cataclysm.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 09:33 PM   #64 (permalink)
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I - D - Transcendentalism

D.Transcendentalism

The Fatalist: “You squander time/We borrow from eternity”
Henry Thoreau: “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity”

Transcendentalism is an existentialist philosophy. One of its beliefs is the concept of an “over-soul,” a supreme soul shared by all men. In theory, humans share each others' suffering during times of war or great unrest, and share in triumph during better times. Thoreau's witticism suggests that killing time, just to pass it, injures eternity. The lyric from The Fatalist has an interesting structure: You squander time, we borrow from eternity. Time wasted by the fatalist during his mortality-inspired paralysis affects humanity as a whole.

These quotes play on the grand accusation: our wasted time is a crime against our own potential. The injury to eternity is perhaps even a reference to the resultant non-contribution to the potential of the species, which is relatively undying compared to its members.

This may be part of the subject of To Where Fires Cannot Feed; “nod[ding] at each other from across the open plain grave” may refer to acknowledging our ancestors, much like Newton’s “standing on the shoulders of giants.” The Burden of Love Alive may be the obligation of each generation to continue on the works of the previous, growing the undying species even if each contributer will be lost along the way. To Where Fires Cannot Feed suggests that grand human endeavors, which extend from the work of our forebears, are our living purpose:

Quote:
We throw ourselves
Like rocks against the heavens
To call to us attention
And set our sights for higher ground

Into the emptiness
Where fires cannot feed
No way to hold
The burden of love alive
“We throw ourselves like rocks” towards space, an accomplishment to which our biology is ill suited. In doing so, we achieve the end goal of thousands of years of technology and research. We assume a sort of immortality for our accomplishment, and simultaneously contribute to the success of our immortal over-soul. Note the line “where fires cannot feed.” On one hand, this could simply represent space; the lack of oxygen means that most conventional combustion cannot occur. However, placing this lyric in the context of the fuel/flame concept from At the Point of Ignition suggests that we become immortal, unconsumed by death, through our contributions to great endeavors. We contribute to these goals because there is “no way to hold the burden of love alive,” the embodiment of duty to society. It is the task of the living, in acknowledgment of the “greater beings” that precede us, to continue these quests: “we nod at each other from across the open plain grave.“

Admittedly, the lyrics of the album never come close to making transcendental statements. However, certain hints are given:

Quote:
What if we don't question
The meaning of it all?
The answer in our system
Bound to kill the spark
What is “the meaning of it all?” While the loss of the individual spark is meaningful to the individual, what is the greater consequence? The relative insignificance of a single life is what inspires the persona in Shadow in Our Blood to describe the entire species as “delusional.” What inspires the protagonist of At the Point of Ignition to continue? How can we prove ourselves innocent of The Grandest Accusation?

Further, consider the significance of global extinction: man is mortal, mankind is not. At the same time, the entire species is vulnerable should anything happen to the planet. The choice to move beyond it by leaving it could represent the choice of the species to continue living, despite the impending destruction of the “greater being” in whose body we hide.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 09:33 PM   #65 (permalink)
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II - Motifs

II. Motifs

Fatalist images

“We are the void,” “shadow in our blood,” “fragments of self-destructing code,” “the answer in our system,” “I carry my nothing/every single day,” “Dance to the bloodsong.”

All of these are examples of fatalist images. They represent the fact that man carries his inevitable mortality (fate) from birth. This predetermination is a critical concept in fatalism: even if individuals exercise free will, they were born to die. “Bloodsong” in Dream Oblivion likely refers to a heartbeat; blood is claimed in the opening lines of The Fatalist. In Greek mythology, blood is the source of mortality; the immortal gods have none (ichor takes its place). In that way, the bloodsong is beat of human mortality, a finite rhythm.

The Void

The void is, obviously, a critical object in the album. It loosely represents death. Specifically, it is an atheistic view of death, not characterized by eternal reward or torment, but by non-existence. It's neither good or bad, but the concept of non-existence is obviously threatening to the living. A series of references to the void draws a picture of it and the living relationship to it.

Shadow in Our Blood:
Quote:
There is a void between our hands
That drowns the sounds of night
I Am the Void:
Have you ever noticed
The spaces inbetween
Where life is in recession
And agony begins?
Surface the Infinite:
Quote:
We carry our fear inside
A space that holds the darkness
We stretch our skin around
To cover the abyss
Calls

I Am the Void: “I am the call/I speak inside of you” “I am the howl that calls you out” “These waters know you/It calls you by your one true name.”

In My Absence: “Wish that I could listen to what only speaks inside”

The Fatalist: “Your name has been called out for aeons” “You walk on ground that screams for murder”

Dream Oblivion: “Dance to the bloodsong”

Arkhangelsk: “They gather, drowning in the sounds/Of the grinding wheels of Arkhangelsk”

Out of Gravity: “Until I hear the call again”

The Grandest Accusation: “What cries here, cries inside”

Each of these represents an instance in which the void is calling out to the protagonist. They represent the ominous call of death. Interesting, death does not call the protagonist until he becomes acutely aware of his mortality. The call does not represent the character of death so much as the unshakable awareness exhibited in the fatalist. Note specifically the lyric from The Grandest Accusation: what cries here, cries inside.

Certain examples above may simply refer to a character's thoughts, not necessarily fatalistic (In My Absence).

Body/Building

The Fatalist:
Quote:
For once we've seen the fragile nature
Of things behind these windows
...
And seen what drives the hopeless
In between their closing yellowed walls
The windows represent the eyes. The closing walls represent the body, ever collapsing around its occupant.

At the Point of Ignition:
Quote:
Our fragile frame falls apart
This is not the best example, as frame describes both bodies and buildings equally in normal language. The frame may represent the collapsing body, or a loss of an epistemological frame (a window through which we view the world).

Her Silent Language:
Quote:
Her head hangs low
In the silence of her room
The room referenced here could represent the mind. The dejected individual in the room contains neither thought nor speech as she is merely a memory. The language and room (mind) are both silent.

I Am the Void:
Quote:
You have always been
Between another set of walls
Outside of which
The world is watching down on you
Inside the silence speaks
Here we have another series of walls, as in Her Silent Language, inside of which there is silence. The lyric “another set of walls” is interesting. If the body was already one set of walls, what is this other one? Maybe there's only one, and I'm just reading it wrong.

Surface the Infinite:
Quote:
No shelter
No barriers between
What's already inside
The building of the body already contains the “fire of the soul.” Hence, the normal barriers, the walls, have become a trap.

Individuality [in-duh-vij-oo-al-i-tee]

On We Are the Void, mortality and individuality are tied together. Some images of individuality are described, often extending from the Body/Building comparison described above. They center around several items that specifically define identity: face, name, and heart.

Further, the void threatens to embrace all objects of individuality. It is the sameness of death and the loss of person-hood which is most bothersome to the protagonist. It is also interesting to note that individuality is specifically tied to mortality. The connection will be drawn in the allusions.

Shadow in Our Blood:
Quote:
How will this world within a world live on?
Another page torn from the book of strangers
Who says "I" when all voices fear their own sound
And who remembers the hours
The “world within a world” is the sum of one's individuality, as deep and complex to itself as the world that surrounds it. The “book of strangers” is society; the strangers are not necessarily entirely unfamiliar with each other, but each is unique. Similarly, they fear to refer to themselves as individuals (say “I”) because their unique individuality is the source of their mortality.

Dream Oblivion:
Quote:
I have the upper hand
This ends on my terms
I challenge non-existence
Every single day

The end of mind, end of freedom
End of everything

A most violent event
Breaks individuality
And turns out your shadow
Here, our protagonist fears the loss of his individuality in death. He challenges his non-existence, resolving to end his reality on his own terms.

The Fatalist:
Quote:
Eventually they'll come
Your name has been called out for aeons
The impending void which calls to the protagonist specifically calls his name, targeting his individuality as the thing which is to be claimed.
In My Absence:
Quote:
Eyes that meet to say farewell
And linger through the sleepless nights
...
Another day and I cannot see through your eyes
The eyes that meet represent a deep connection, in which individuals are able to see through the “windows to the soul,” past their shields. Separated by death, they are unable to connect in this fashion and remain searching for each other fruitlessly.

The Grandest Accusation:
Quote:
Your name on the door
Just like a diagnose
For venomous disease
This lyric connects the individuality motif to the body/building motif. The name, the mark of individuality, is upon the building like a diagnosis would be posted to a body: it is itself the source of death. Individuality = Mortality.

Quote:
Your face is your name
Word and shield
Sharp as a curse
This equates the physical images of individuality, namely the face, with the conceptual, in this case the name. Note in The Fatalist the use of the face as a shield (“The fatalistic smile”). The “word and shield” are “sharp as a curse,” paralleling the disease metaphor from the previous quotation.

Her Silent Language:
Quote:
Eyes far into the distance
A life that does not connect
Much like In My Absence, here eyes are unable to connect because of the separation of death.

Her head hangs low
In the silence of her room
Her head hangs low
She takes a bite out of her heart
The head and heart are both marks of individuality, here within a room (a building).

Arkhangelsk:
Quote:
Underneath the heavy clouds
The lifted sword, the broken shield
The hand that drew the final word
From the frozen mouth of Arkhangelsk

Let them go, let them burn the world to cinders
Let their heads hang down
Again, heads hang down in a dejected stance. The cause of this is the burning of the world, much like the flame imagery from At the Point of Ignition. If the shield represents the face, as above, it is here broken by the aggressor in the song.

I Am the Void:
Quote:
Drink this water again
That runs by without memory
Where your name is lost
Drink and forget yourself
This featureless stream
That carries your face further on
These waters know you
It calls you by your one true name
The “waters” probably represent the oblivion of the void. In these waters, the individual's “name is lost.” These waters know the individual, and call him by his “one true name” the name again represents the individuality which is consumed by death.

Out of Gravity:
Quote:
Each and every night
My heart shoulders the armor
And charges into the dark
To slay what took you from me
But there in the eye of the prey
I see my reflection
The armor now shatters to pieces
Until i hear the call again
This verse is loaded with images. The protagonist armors his heart (wrapping resolution around his emotions). He sets himself against mortality to retrieve a loved one, and ends up making eye contact with death and seeing his own reflection. The eye contact represents the connection, but the thing with which he would connect (mortality) is himself. This breaks his resolve, and he waits to hear the call again.

The Bow and the Arrow:
Quote:
The print you left
Bear just witness
To the forceful push
With which you thrust yourself
Out from this world
Your own very being
Launched away from this
Temporary hold

You are never gone
The letters of your name
A scar that never heals
The subject of The Bow and The Arrow leaves a print (memory) upon their exit from reality, which involves thrusting their “own very being” out from this world. The subject's name, glyphs signifying that memory, remains as a scar on the survivors.

Gravity

Gravity is the binding force of reality. It is an essential law, as well as the force that binds objects. To “walk out of gravity,” one must either cease corporeal being (die), or abandon reality. This could reference delusion, such as a despair-fueled break from the realm of possibility.

In a non-delusional context, leaving the planet for space would similarly provide a break from gravity. To Where Fires Cannot Feed may reference this as well, as escaping the gravity of the earth could represent a break from the reality of mortality (the immortality component of To Where Fires Cannot Feed is explained in I - D).

Days

At the Point of Ignition: “In our day that holds no other”

“Days” are referenced several times on the album. Infinity is often defined recursively. For example, numerical infinity is defined by the concept that any given number is always followed by another number, which is in turn followed by another, and so on. In the case of infinite time, eternity is defined by every day having a tomorrow. A “day that holds no other” is likely the end of one span of time (such as an individual life), as there is no tomorrow.

More simply, the lyric could refer to time having only one thread: today is the only day that could have followed from yesterday, and there are no other paths through time. If our naively-immortal protagonist still possessed his “endless realm of possibility and dream,” there would be a chance for branching possibilities in the scope of eternity. As is, he has only this moment in which to make his decision.

Later in the song, the image may recur indirectly: “I see you in my shadow”

If a man’s life is represented by a single day, he dies when night falls. As the sun moves westward, his shadow lengthens, representing his impending fate “waiting inside.” It is tempting to think that a shadow in the late afternoon resembles the traditional robed figure of death, but this is likely not intended given the refusal to personify death.

Shadow in Our Blood: “Every sun god’s heart”, “Who says "I" when all voices fear their own sound/and who remembers the hours”

The void, which is reasonably assumed to represent oblivion and death, is an “arrow laced with liquid darkness for every sun god’s heart.” The sun god targeted is probably man himself. As a sun god, his power wanes with nightfall. In the second quote, “who remembers the hours” might refer to spans of time forgotten under looming death. While the word is hours, it could refer to now-inconsequential decades.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 09:34 PM   #66 (permalink)
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III - Miscellaneous

III. Miscellaneous

A. In My Absence

"Thrust with nails of conflict, anxiety and pain
Through spells of anger, confusion and defeat"

This is another instance of parallel structure. Matching the respective words in the two lines, we get:

Conflict : Anger
Anxiety : Confusion
Pain : Defeat

B. Am I 1?

There is a special place in my brain in which Mikael Stanne's words get stuck, only to resurface at appropriate and awesome times. The following lyric is one which I had thought was from We Are the Void, but turns out to be from Character. While it is not a piece of this work and I'm interpreting it out of context, it lead to an interesting realization.

Am I 1?: “I grant to you no privilege of person”

Were this line about death, it would accomplish in a single line what John Donne spent fourteen famous lines doing: reducing death from a malevolent being to a mere physical reality. By granting it “no privilege of person,” he's using beautiful, incisive lyrics to say, “I will not personify you.”

Interesting, the lyrics to We Are the Void satisfy this statement. While the album is about death, in fifteen tracks it never once actually uses the word. Death is not a character on this album, but merely a thing. By never giving it a name, it is never granted the individuality that makes life meaningful nor is it afforded respect or deference. At the same time, the lack of individuality frees death from the bounds of time; it is therefore an eternal truth.

C. The Mind’s I

Much of the individuality imagery concerns eyes, and at least once the pronoun “I” is used as a mark of individuality. The two are likely related, and have been before: The Mind’s I/Eye.

D.“Soaring through Van Allen belts”

Geek!

E. “The machinery of chaos/Comes alive in you”

This lyric is awesome because of the paradox. Chaos, through heat, friction, and dirt, is the enemy of machinery. But, here we have machinery of chaos. Furthermore, the machinery comes alive; to be technical, it could merely activate. Instead it comes alive. This is a pretty neat image.
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Old May 5th, 2010, 09:34 PM   #67 (permalink)
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That is all I have.

I would like to thank Tad, Kate, and Mom for the editing and support.
rahvin, for his moderatorial support, as well as the most stunningly accurate (and sometimes unpublished) lyrics.
Everyone reading, because you are all special.
The band, for putting out another amazing album.

If anyone wants to handle the lyrics in the fashion that I handled the music, going song by song, you're welcome to it. I have spent a shitton of time and all of my energy on this project, and it is now time for me to pack for an impending move. You all speak English, so it shouldn't be too difficult!

I have a feeling we'll all be doing this again real soon...

This is the last post
I am now done with this
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Old May 6th, 2010, 12:30 PM   #68 (permalink)
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First of all: Thank you! Words aren't enough to describe your awesomeness.

I hope your excellent analysis leads to an equally interesting discussion - I know there are people on this forum who, at least on occasion, can dig through myriad layers of metaphors and find the exact meaning Stanne or Sundin had in their mind when writing the lyrics. I've seen it happen.

If indeed this discussion gains volume, it might be smart to separate the lyrics-part and the music-part into their own threads for the sake of simplicity (this thread is already massive for so few posts, and new readers might get lost on their way to the lyrics-portion). I'm sure our moderator will follow the developments closely.

I'll throw my two wooden pennies on the overall picture here at some point, too, but before that here's a bit I disagree with stizzle's interpretation, so I'll get it out now before I forget it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stizzleomnibus View Post
The simplest explanation is that it is the pain of love separated by death. Her Silent Language strongly evinces these feelings
I think an even simpler explanation for the lyrics of Her Silent Language is that they are about confronting someone who is still alive, but is soon to face death, and has accepted it. She is not necessarily even a loved one (although she could be), just someone whom the protagonist knows to some degree, perhaps a distant relative. She is no longer fighting against the inevitable, and her unwillingness (or inability) to communicate about the subject disturbs and confuses the protagonist.

While in the other songs this acceptance of eventual death is indeed touched from various viewpoints, here it is simply a mystery. She has resigned, and the protagonist does not know how to relate to her anymore. Her silent language lacks "last words of wisdom"; there's nothing to guide or comfort those who will soon be left behind.

Quote:
Eyes far into the distance
A life that does not connect
Time played out it's part
On strings that bind us

Encounters in silence
Words elude the fading night
Wish I could fathom
What is too hard to tell
Her life no longer connects with the rest of us, her thoughts are somewhere else. She has become meaningless, yet the protagonist wishes to find some meaning, or at least an explanation.

I'll get to the other songs later.

-Villain
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Old May 6th, 2010, 01:09 PM   #69 (permalink)
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I haven't read the entire analysis, but huge kudos to you Mr Stizzle *claps*.
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Old May 6th, 2010, 10:46 PM   #70 (permalink)
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@Villain: Interesting! I hadn't even though of Her Silent Language that way. As you say, it lacks conclusive words of wisdom. That makes it difficult to use deductive reasoning. If you're using inductive reasoning, you get to cherry pick the lines that support your position. That's how people draw out an Oedipal interpretation of Hamlet, for example. I kind of read it so that it fit what I was already thinking about, so fresh eyes and perspectives are definitely helpful.

Perhaps a woman dying of old age? "Eyes far into the distance" suggests eyes that are further along the time line of life, perhaps. At least, they are far enough ahead to see the coming darkness.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 03:08 AM   #71 (permalink)
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I've been away from this thread for forever, first due to the horrible lack of spare time that studying any science entails and later due to being out of the country (and consequently away from my computer) for a few weeks. Regrettably, with classes starting again this monday it'll be impossible for me to end this away-ness anytime soon. However, there will likely come some beautiful day in which I'll be able to resume my reading of (and commenting on) the impressive analyses and interpretations posted here. Until that day comes, however, I just wanted to make sure the thread (which I read a little of today and which keeps getting better and better) did not die a premature death.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:12 PM   #72 (permalink)
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Thank you for your kind words! It turns out that DT forum members don't particularly want to discuss DT's music. Or they can't read. Whatevs, I probably just wrote too much.

Anyway, I'm at work 40 hours a week, in class 16, and driving/doing homework the rest of it, so I understand your predicament. The upshot is that I've nearly completed 17 credit hours over the summer, all A's (depending on how these last two turn out). Good luck, and I'd love to hear your thoughts when you're available.

Oh, and in case you missed it, there was also this TL;DR of a post. It's basically a spin-off of my lyrical analysis above; little more than a few curious points of observation.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 12:05 AM   #73 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stizzleomnibus View Post
Thank you for your kind words! It turns out that DT forum members don't particularly want to discuss DT's music. Or they can't read. Whatevs, I probably just wrote too much.

Anyway, I'm at work 40 hours a week, in class 16, and driving/doing homework the rest of it, so I understand your predicament. The upshot is that I've nearly completed 17 credit hours over the summer, all A's (depending on how these last two turn out). Good luck, and I'd love to hear your thoughts when you're available.

Oh, and in case you missed it, there was also this TL;DR of a post. It's basically a spin-off of my lyrical analysis above; little more than a few curious points of observation.
The band doesn;t really visit the forum IMO, Niklas is the only one who does that in a kind-of-constant way. But remember that the band tours a lot, they've been on tour for I-don't-know how many months now (five?). So I guess that influences a lot, since I recall Caotico saying that he liked your analysis and looking forward to more of it.

I haven't been able to completely read the lyrical analysis, sorry.

Holy crap how do you manage? I take 4 M.A. courses (12 hours of classes + plenty more of studying) and teach (that's Professor Josephy to you hahaha) hmmm 12 hours per week? The working schedule isn't exactly beautiful, and the payment is horrible. Yet I'm glad I got 2 courses, I thought I was only gonna get one. Still, your schedule, you have my admiration for coping with that.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 08:54 PM   #74 (permalink)
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I happen to know that several band members checked it out. I spoke to each of them personally in May. If you'll notice, I wasn't referring to DT members, but forum members. I was calling you pigs illiterate. Or taking the blame for writing way more than anyone actually wanted to read. Or maybe none of you actually like DT.

As for the schedule, yes, it is a great deal of work. It was necessary to reorient my priorities. I'm pretty lazy by default, but I've started thinking of life like an RPG. I'm basically farming for experience right now. Always remember that the work matters; recreation, while important, rarely leaves you with anything lasting.

Now I get to write a mega-essay on post (American) Civil War Reconstruction!
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Old August 20th, 2010, 03:33 PM   #75 (permalink)
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As I explained in the other thread, I've recently been occupied with vastly different (and unfortunately more pressing) matters - but I haven't forgotten this thread! I even read the other one on the lyrics, and actually have some contradicting viewpoints at least on the Evangelion-part (being a closet NGE-fan for nearly a decade) - I just haven't got the time to write my response.

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I'm pretty lazy by default, but I've started thinking of life like an RPG.
I recall getting through all my studies by thinking like that. Not that it's necessarily a good thing, mind you.

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