Metal Scribes
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Metal Scribes

Nightly Emotion — The Ministry of Lost Souls — Dream Theater

This is the longest track yet. It’s nearly 15 minutes. I’m still in my comfort zone of Dream Theater, Opeth, and Porcupine Tree. Let’s get into it. This is a very ghostly ballad I dare say. About souls not crossing over because they’re afraid to leave the life they love. I think. Like I said I’m not good at this. If, however, you’d like the opinion of someone with a mental disorder read on.

The song starts off with a very mournful sounding progression. This gives way to some nice acoustic work. As I’ve gotten older I’ve grown to love acoustic play. Thank you, Steven Wilson and Mikael Åkerfeldt. John does a great job with it though. As far as all the songs I’ve analyzed for Metal Scribes so far this is definitely the heaviest. I love the way the intro plays with the synth in the background.

Keyboards are another thing that I’ve grown to love. Initially, when I got into metal I was only in it for the chugging palm muting and the down-tuned guitars thanks to Korn. Let’s jump into the lyrics, shall we?

James LaBrie’s voice can sound powerful and happy or sorrowful. He’s got a great range. The vocals begin to paint a picture along with the acoustic work:

The water’s edge is where she waits
Lost soul still wandering
Meant to die, but she’s stuck not crossing over

It seems that a woman, deceased, refuses to cross over to the other side. At least, that’s what I gather. Or, maybe she’s still alive and was saved by her love. He’s there trying to touch her as best he can.

The other side is where he waits
His spirit reaching out
Meant to save, but she’s too scared to take his hand

She could cross over and be with her love, but she can’t accept the end. He’s so close now. He’s got his hand out waiting for her to grab it and be at peace with him. This could be her contemplating ending her own life also.

One comment I’d like to stop and make here is that Dream Theater, to me, is one of the more mature bands that is masterful and yet humble. John Petrucci is definitely a masterful treat for the ears, but it’s not just because he can sweep pick, and shred. (And oh boy, can he ever) He plays his part in this masterfully in my opinion because he doesn’t try to grab all the attention upfront. Dream Theater is the musical shared experience of some very talented people. They know exactly how to contribute when they write.

The lead play here shifts to a light solo that mimics the vocals. I’ve always loved this kind of lead play. It’s one of the things that first struck me when listening to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana when I was in high school. That solo may not be the most intricate in the world but I feel lit reinforces the drama of the verse.

Living in a world without you (drowning in the past)
Is living in no world at all
So now I call on you

I really feel this bit. I’ve lost a life partner in my time so I egotistically feel the need to point out that I understand topics of loss. Self-deprecation aside I always feel like Randy is there somewhere in an intangible way. Let’s look at the chorus:

Remember me: I gave you life
You would not take it
Your suffering was all in vain
It’s almost over now
Don’t turn your back on Paradise

The main reason I relate to this is that I took my partner for granted and didn’t appreciate all the hard work he put into helping build a life together. That all came crashing down all at once. In this way, I feel the chorus. I’d give anything to be with him again. Anyway enough about this, as similar as it may be to what I’ve experienced.

This is what makes me think that she’s contemplating suicide. It’s like a figurative expression of her being dead, I think. He’s right there she just needs to reach out and take his hand in death. I swear this is a very beautiful song.

Feeling scared, she’s prepared
To give up everything
She can’t stand to feel like half of her is fading

He will choose the only way
To rid her of her pain
Take her soul now; the decision has been made

Living in a world without love (burning into my soul)
Is living in a worthless world
So I will call on you

I remember feeling like half of myself had died that night. I’m sorry, this is the best I can do when trying to understand these kinds of things. I just compare it to what I’ve been through in life.

It seems he’s going to take her soul to make her free of her pain and sorrow. Here we see more elements of suicide in the last phrase from above. I’ve definitely been there. Having your love ripped away from you into the void is a crippling sensation. I’ve been working on recovering for half a decade now.

Remember me: I gave you life
You would not take it
Your suffering was all in vain
It’s almost over
Remember me; you were so young
How could I tell you?
Remember me: I am the one
Who saved your life that night

Maybe this whole thing is a bit more literal in this second chorus. She could have been saved by someone she later lost. It is a sentiment that I hear a lot that as long as you remember someone they’re never really gone. That can mean a lot of pain for the person doing the remembering.

I was the one who would not
Abandon you
Even in death I was the one who would not leave you

I can understand this, I think. I definitely feel like all of the work that went into our life was not nullified by Randy dying. All the time and energy you put into a life with someone isn’t really snuffed out when they’re gone. You carry on with the energy you had together.

I used my freedom to protect you
And all the while direct you
Do you remember me this time?
Even in death I gave you life
I gave you life

This more in line with the message I’ve had over the past few nights. Losing someone isn’t the end. “Nothing really dies. Nothing really ends.” to quote Steven Wilson. That mark that someone leaves after passing will forever be with you, and the lessons of their life should be learned. This way you can return the favor to others down the line.

Can I just take a moment to talk about the solos in this song? They’re crazy technical and they harmonize so well. Give the song a listen and you’ll know what I mean. This song is about remembrance I think. It’s about reaching out to a memory and realizing that it’s not the end but you need to let go and move on. This doesn’t cheapen the loss it just makes it more meaningful in my opinion.

I wanted to deserve a place…
A place beside you

This time when I reach out my hand
It reached all the way to heaven

Remember me: I gave you life
You would not take it
Your suffering was all in vain
It’s almost over now
Goodbye
It’s almost over now
Goodbye
It’s time I release you from this life
Don’t turn your back on Paradise

Here we go again building up to a similar, but not identical, chorus. It’s the final goodbye between the two souls in this song. Whether I’m right or wrong I think the message is that moving on isn’t the end and it makes you stronger. I think “Don’t turn your back on paradise” means simply not to give up on a happy life because of a loss.

I think this is a good message not just about losing someone important to you, but about loss in general. The important part to take away is that it’s not good to dwell. You’ll be gone soon too. Life is too short to suffer. Remember your love, but do not mourn it. I don’t know. Maybe I’m way off on all of this. I think that examining things like this has been not only productive for me but a mentally healthy exercise. It all makes me look at my life. That’s what really gives things like this meaning is how you learn about your own life.

Image retrieved from dreamtheather.net via google

https://open.spotify.com/track/4jYEyc4XjI0nrY1bCLf8BO

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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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