Metal Monday #17

No lyrics. No words. Just harmonics and rhythms.  A common complaint about metal is that you cannot understand what they are saying, a common complaint about instrumental music is that they aren’t saying anything – this leads me to believe that for the most part, music has to say things for it to be easily approachable by humans.

Funny thing is, this song says more without words than most songs with lots of words do. Our brains associate certain harmonics with certain feelings, because of the level of dissonance that is within a chord and the intervals of the chord changes. If a song has only 4 chords and the same rhythm repeating the whole time, it is limited in the amount of different feelings that it can cause your brain to associate with. It’s not to say that adding powerful lyrics to emotion-evoking harmonics doesn’t add to our level of understanding of the artist’s intent, but my argument is that the major cause of emotional content in music is the harmonics, not the lyrics.

Well how am I supposed to feel when I listen to this? How can I possibly understand what story Exivious is trying to tell if they don’t just tell me? Come on now, really listen.

The song opens very softly with long sustained chords, as is suspected for the beginning of any song.

The first part of the story is portrayed at :44. It has a somewhat curious, hesitant feel to it. It’s as if the artist is unsure of what to do – we just don’t really know what it is. The majority of notes in the melody fall out of line with the beat for a sense of misdirection and confusion. At 1:11 the notes fall just after the beat (also the first time we hear the theme) which gives me the idea that a decision has to be made on this subject urgently.

At 1:42 the song transitions again. The same theme is modulated to a different key here and repeated over and over again (the notes falling just after the downbeat of each phrase) while the rhythm section starts to build up tension with increasing intensity in their articulation style as this section goes on. How does this section make you feel? Do you feel the urgency in the rhythm section, combined with misdirection of the harmonics?

The song of course ends with an imperfect authentic cadence, and we don’t really know what he decided or if he made a decision at all. That’s because this is the first song on the album and you have to listen to the rest to hear how the story ends. WARNING: imminent saxophone solo.

And now for something entirely different.

At 1:16, I was led to assume there was a breakdown coming at some point soon.

There is a cool moment at 1:46, but it’s not the drop we are waiting for.

At 2:01 I was certain it was going to happen. Nope still not…

Oh.

@2:23

So terribly awesome. I really like the extended buildup and unexpected nature of this breakdown, even though the song really doesn’t do anything original or innovative at all. Thus is deathcore.

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