Metal Scribes
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Metal Scribes

Nightly Emotion — Heart Attack In A Layby — Porcupine Tree

I know what you’re thinking. “You just did a Porcupine Tree song for Nightly Emotion.” Well, guess what, this one really isn’t metal either. I have a more metal song coming up soon though. This song really hit me one night. I had been drinking and smoking pot all night and I was feeling comfy. I put on this album and hit random. This song popped up on my iPhone along with the album art right in the middle of the screen. In my intoxicated state, the gravity of this song really sank in when looking at that image.

This song is about someone dying. At first, knowing this was a concept album of sorts, I interpreted this as a killer that passes away in a layby on his way to dispose of a body. The songs of this album do touch on serial killer material.

I’ve never claimed to be the best at interpreting things like this. The song sounds like the end of a movie, a very sad movie.

It wasn’t until later that I found out that this was about a man that had been arguing with his wife or lover. He stops to rest and goes through the stages of cardiac arrest not realizing it as the end of his life. It’s scary to think the physical discomfort of an argument could be confused with a heart attack.

I’ve never had a heart attack myself, but I have had a massive seizure. It was so bad that I don’t really remember the previous year. I was in the kitchen talking to Randy, my partner, and then I heard a faint beeping sound. I slowly became aware of my surroundings and realized I was in an ambulance. That beeping was my heart monitor.

This song really has an oddly dark way of making you appreciate the time you have left with your loved ones. You could be dying right now, and you’re just not realizing it. It could all be over. How would that make you feel? Do you still have stuff that needs to be done? Do you have fences to mend or bridges to repair? Well, there’s no more time.

Again, how does that make you feel? I never really dissected the last few lines of the lyrics because it was an interlocking vocal harmony and hard follow. This song still gets me churned up inside about life, and how precious and fragile it is. Here is that interlocking vocal part:

I guess I should go now
She’s waiting to make up
To tell me she’s sorry
And how much she missed me
I guess I’m just burnt out
I really should slow down
I’m perfectly fine but
I just need to lie down

We’ll grow old together
We’ll grow old together
We’ll grow old together

As I said you could feel fine, and not even see the end coming. I’ve been in that dark space. There’s nothing. It’s a big void and the time in between when you’re dead and when you’re alive again if you should be so lucky is meaningless. It happens in an instant. Life and the world around us doesn’t exist without our perceiving it. This isn’t a scientific paper though. I can only tell you what I’ve experienced.

As bleak as it all sounds I believe that’s my point entirely. Enjoy what you have. Don’t fight arguments that you don’t need to fight. Learn how to recognize those situations for what they are. Appreciate the fact that you recognize a situation that moves you in one way or another. If it makes you feel negative just let go. You never know when you might be done.

I suppose if I have to look at it from the other side it’s not that bad personally. You’d die not having any regrets because you weren’t near the end to reminisce and drudge up regrets. It still doesn’t change the pain people that care about you will feel. I know that Randy didn’t think he was going the night he left this world. It’s a special connection I have with this song that sometimes I wish I didn’t have. I remember his voice begging the doctor to “knock him out.” I assume he thought this was just another time where he’d go to the ER and come out of it. Only that moment never came. I certainly didn’t expect it.

That’s the thing about Karma though. Yes, what happened was terrible, but there are two things: It didn’t happen to me it happened to Randy, and the fact that I lost him so abruptly opened my eyes to the reality of life and mortality. It really taught me what love was because of the void that was left when he left this world. It’s been half a decade now.

Anyway. I don’t want to make this about me. It’s about Mr. Wilson’s expertly crafted masterfully emotional writing. I’ll be leaving another Spotify link below. Check the song out. As I said about “My Ashes” it’s not metal but it’s definitely dark and meaningful.

Image retrieved from (Porcupine Tree — In Absentia (2 Lp), 2020)




I started this publication because didn’t really see any devoted to metal that had posted more than once this year. I really don’t know what to expect so we’ll see how it goes between work and school.

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Jesse Britten

Jesse Britten

I’m Jesse, an all around geek from Texas. I like to dabble with a bit of everything. Articles will be about music, games, and mental health.

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