Text by Jacob Murphy, vocals, Final Gasp
Like most musicians, artists, and anyone who is putting their work out into the world, you have to be willing to make yourself as vulnerable as possible. This record, for me, was just that. It was a long process of “hurry up and wait.” We demoed it out almost 2 years ago not knowing really what we were going to do with it, but we knew it was special to us and wanted to do it justice. We all collectively experienced a lot of loss in the process of recording it. Health issues, relationships, financial burdens, and death all played a part in it, whether we knew it or not. Every song was written with nothing but a natural feeling for what felt right. We demoed it out with a good friend and recording engineer, Jason Tucker, here in Boston. He helped out so much in the way that we were limited with how much we were able to make it sound on our own, as opposed to how we actually wanted it to be. After that, Eric Lester, who’s our drummer, and I took a bus down to Philadelphia about a year later to record the final product. We did it with Arthur Rizk, who’s become one of my closest friends and favorite person to record with. He really took what we were doing and listened and knew where we were headed. This is a breakdown of all the tracks and what they mean.
We chose this as the opening track for the record because it just hits so hard. No long intro or fade-in. Just right in your face. The song has everything to do with trying to get yourself out of this depressive state but it seems like it’s just not working. Always fighting but getting the same result, almost as if it’s its own being and pinning you down.
So this song was the only one we released from the demo session along with a Hüsker Dü cover of “The Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill.” Funny to think about now they both have a similar meaning about alcoholism, didn’t fully realize that until now. My mother is in recovery and has been for a long time for alcoholism. It’s not a black-and-white situation and I think that gets misconstrued a lot. “Rot away In hopes of betterment” is a line from there that kind of says it all. She’s doing better today and this one means a lot to me.
“Botched” as we call it is really pretty simple. It’s just about manifestation and what happens when you focus on the wrong thing and in turn you get that exact result.
I think this is one of the heaviest and prettiest songs we have. I love the stomps in the beginning and the soft pad work from the synths that sound like they’re coming from a crack in the earth. Our guitar player James had a seizure a few years ago while sleeping at his girlfriend’s house. He said he didn’t remember waking up, but apparently, he was in the corner of the room just staring at her and she woke him up and he went into a full-on seizure and fell to the ground. “Frozen glare, a pit of frenzy” is a line I think about all the time when referring to that. He’s doing great now, though, no new developments!
We just wanted to make an interlude that had that kind of discomfort in it. Arthur had us use his gong in the studio and hit it off time to make it more unsettling.
Blood and Sulfur
I found this really old book at a shop here in Boston printed in the early 40s, that I sadly lost with a bunch of shirts and records in Europe (thank you Delta) and one of the stories in it was called “The Smell Of Sulfur.” It was about the Devil basically antagonizing this businessman by making everyone else around him successful and offering him his hand to give him the same success. He ends up taking it but when he does everyone around him dies and he’s the last one left on earth, in turn making him the only successful person left. Brutal.
This is the most important song to me on here. This whole record has to do a lot with loss, struggle, and how you deal with it. This song in particular ended up being about so many people, some who are here still and some who aren’t. Sometimes I feel like you can start writing something and then you end up finding a deeper meaning to it when it’s all done. Relationships and friendships with people and maintaining them are tough. I lost three very important people in my life in the span of about a year. Two are no longer of this earth and there is a lot of grief from that in this song. You grow apart from each other and sometimes things don’t end on the best of terms. So you gotta just live with that but know that you don’t feel any negative way about it. Can only hope they knew it, too.
Artificial Intelligence. That’s all I’m gonna say.
If you’ve ever had a near-death experience and you really do see your life flash before your eyes, it is certainly a humbling experience, to say the least. I had been driving on the highway a few years back and next to me was a pickup truck in the fast lane. It was about 1:30 in the morning and there weren’t many other cars on the road. Up ahead was a deer but far enough that I knew I wasn’t going to hit it. The truck next to me, however, went into the median to try to avoid it and flipped completely in mid-air and when it was landing I was right in its sight. I just managed to move away before I was seemingly going to be crushed. I mention the demon Dumah in the song, as they are the angel of silence and of the stillness of death. I imagined that’s what plays a part in seeing your life flash before your eyes. You don’t hear anything, it all feels so still.
I think this is my third favorite off the record. We were going to originally make this an instrumental but it had too many opportunities to make it catchy that Arthur made us sit down and write lyrics to it haha. It all kind of connects to 14 Gates and Mourning Moon too. The after-effects of dealing with what’s happened. In terms of demonic possession, too, there are things tied into it with its steps hence the chants, “Obsession,” “Oppression.”
I think we all put an insane amount of pressure on ourselves to try and do everything at once. It crashes down on you and sometimes it paralyses you. That’s what The Vanishing is to me. It’s losing control and letting the fear completely consume you. Sometimes you feel normal in it. Most times I do. “Is the mind now lost and does it want to be found? Or is it calling out while it drowns?”
Rows Of Heaven
The second favorite of mine on the record. I just love the chord progression throughout it and the hooks on the single notes. This record may seem like it has a lot of negative connotations to it but to me, it’s about growth. Dealing with things In a way that’s creative and can be relative to a lot of people out there. I hope it strikes a chord with people and they feel the same comfort I did writing this and know that you can try and be creative with your grief.
Final Gasp is:
Alex Consentino- Guitar
Sean Rose- Bass
James Forsythe- Guitar
Peter Micanovic- Guitar
Eric Lester- Drums