Warforged – Essence of the LyricsWednesday, 22nd January 2014
In the world of heavy metal, it’s not uncommon to hear a story told through music. With the richness of instrumentation, heavy metal provides a medium through which varied dynamics can blend together to elicit many different feelings and emotions. While there are many in the genre that may stick to the stereotypical (death, destruction, the vastness of space, that subterranean guy with the horns, etc etc), more bands are using metal to provide the background from which to tell a meaningful tale.
To this writer, Warforged’s recent output, Essence of the Land, was one of the finest examples of storytelling in recent memory. The spectacular cover art depicts the fireflies, central to the story and is an apt representation of the pictures you will get as you imagine the EP’s lyrics set to life. As vocalist Adrian Perez states, Essence of the Land may be “just a ghost story” but one that is elegantly told and written. In our recent segment with the band, Perez was kind enough to give us a track-by-track rundown of what this story means alongside the lyrics.
A slight misstep,
and Kaura fell off the edge and into
the swamp waters below
What could I do, depart and get help?
“Just hold on!”
The only words of comfort I could muster
Tearing through the thick and winding muck
I escaped the marsh and made it to my father’s home
Every night the fireflies’ dance spoke for the essence of the land
“Diabolical Being”: While exploring a swamp in a rowboat near their cottage in the woods, the main character’s older brother Kaura falls into the water and gets tangled in the roots beneath the surface. The much younger main character decides to flee and get help. Far too afraid to admit to his elders and superiors that something horrible had happened (when I was young, NO MATTER WHAT, I wouldn’t tell my parents if anything bad happened in fear of a vicious chancla-ing [beating]), he decides to keep the secret to himself. In the following three nights, he received visits from growing clusters of fireflies.
Their glow cast shadows
And their shadows told tales of pain and isolation
When just down the road came a shrill shriek
A flurry of green light and they vanished but through my window came a groan, a whisper, calling me to return
Holding my oar tightly, I pulled myself deeper
Deeper into the heavy coat of mist and…
And the taunting glow of fireflies
Was the only apparent trace of life I could see
Sunset and sunset again, the murky murmur of scurrying swamp things gurgled and beckoned me
Dizziness discomfort and nausea
The guilt was overwhelming
The sense of isolation began to set in
The thought of finding a bacteria eaten, water rotted corpse
“Brother, are you here, hiding? In the Mist? Hiding in fear?”
And the haunting glow of fireflies
Revealed a boiling pool of muck in the mist
Insects drew closer and the trees began to shriek
I held my lantern out to see through the mist
He bubbled up to the surface, the cloud of insects grew
Spewing forth mud and mangled by the swamp.
“Regurgitate”: The fireflies continued to visit and as they did, they cast shadow puppets that hinted at the fate of Kaura. Every night they visited and reminded the main character of his older brother, his guilt grew. On the third night, out of the swamp came a shrill shriek and the fireflies broke their cluster and flurried into the night, back to the swamp. The guilt-ridden main character decides to follow. He spends the following week paddling through the dark and misty swamp in hopes to find Kaura; slowly and unintentionally letting his imagination get the best of him. Almost before giving up hope, his eyes catch a spot of the swamp waters bubbling. As he does, Kaura’s water rotted corpse floats up to the surface.
Phantoms In The Mist:
A voice rang around me, gurgled:
“Have you returned so late to deliver me from this dreary shelter of poison and murder?
I held on to the creeping vines with the bit of strength I could still muster.
And as you fell from sight, the stabbing pain of isolation began to set in.
Sensing my struggle, the roots tightened their grip and pulled me under.
And even through the muck, I could still hear the earth’s shrill shriek.
It’s grip tightened, the swamp waters pulled the air out of me.
Poisoned and blind: the swamp acted
And tightly hid my body to decay against its dark, tainted heart.
Brother, I am still here.
In isolation I was murdered…”
The shrieks ceased and through the rancid mist, I could barely make out a cavity in the mud.
His body was gone.
I was alone again.
Alone with my thoughts.
I am alone again.
Was any of these even real?
Or just phantoms in the mist?
I’m still here, waiting still here…
“Phantoms In The Mist”: Kaura offers his recollection of what actually took place after the main character fled. In hopes of letting the main character know that his death was not his fault, Kaura firmly warns him of the swamp’s “tainted heart.” He did not just drown; he was pulled under water by the tree’s roots and vines, pulled beneath the muck, and smothered by the swamp. Kaura’s corpse vanishes, leaving the main character alone to decide whether any of it actually happened or if it was just his mind and the mist playing tricks on him. He decides to wait for his brother, or what’s left of him, to return.
The swamp was poisoned and blind
“Tainted Heart”: Kaura’s warning plays over in the main character’s head.