*prognotes – The Ocean’s Pelagial – Part II

We’re now in the Abyssopelagic zone, ranging from 4000-6000m in depth and named so after the abyss, a reflection of the ancient thought that the ocean was bottomless. The tempo slows and we see the return of clean vocals and strings. But they’re no longer beautiful. Instead they’re morose and melancholic, lamenting that we’re in “the most forlorn pace in the world” as it gets even more introspective, perfectly laying the platform for “Abyssopelagic II: Signals of Anxiety”.

 

“Signals of Anxiety” is the album’s ballad, a slow, melancholic and contemplative track which is absolutely drenched in emotion. The chorus’ stirring vocals concern a dream where someone, perhaps a lover, warns the speaker of what happened to them in the Room and what fate may await them too:

“And she said: “You’ll understand later”.

Then she cast a stone into the foam
While something occurred to her:
Something broke in her.

Then she disappeared.
But things are no longer what they seem.”

Thus this woman from the dream didn’t understand the nature and complexities of the Room at first, but in time she came to understand. Something broke inside of her throughout the process, and her life was changed thereafter in ways she could not have predicted. Ominous indeed.

 

After the brief interlude that was “Hadopelagic I” we encounter “Hadopelagic II: Let Them Believe”. We’re now in the deepest pelagic zone, one from 6000m down to the ocean or, as is more common for such depths, trench floor. Unsurprisingly it is named after Hades, the Ancient Greek Underworld. The song is representative of the album as a whole. It starts off in quite a mellow fashion before building in intensity as it progresses. There are mellow moments, stock moments and, of course, crushingly heavy ones. It’s progressive at times, but in the middle it’s also extremely ambient, symbolising that at such depths there aren’t a lot of complexities about: life, what little there is, is pretty damned simple and spaced out down there. Lyrically we return to the thoughts of the Stalker as we near the Room, a place he seemingly cannot escape, a place which appears in each cycle of his life:

“These circles will always touch in more than one point.
Repelled and pulled towards each other: repelled again.”

He tells himself and his companions how they must feel before they enter the room, how to submit themselves to it in order to achieve their heart’s desires:

“And most importantly,
Let them have confidence and peace.
Let them be powerless.
But most surprisingly,
They’re not afraid of how they’ll feel
When they come closer.”

The most significant line though is the one which succinctly reflects on and questions the journey thus far.

“Change is what scares us shitless.”

How has the journey changed us thus far? Have our desires changed? If so have we changed them, or have they changed themselves? How will the Room further change us? What does it involve? Thought provoking questions indeed, and ones which we won’t get the answers to.

 

The penultimate track then takes a very sharp turn from all that has come before. Firstly, it’s called “Demersal: Cognitive Dissonance” and Demersal, unlike the preceding tracks, is not a depth zone. Instead, it is the area just above the sea floor, regardless of what depth that is at. So this doesn’t really fit the narrative of our journey travelling deeper and deeper. Furthermore, the lyrics are a complete departure from all we’ve seen thus far: the entire track is quoting the sixth Book of Revelation. Yet the music is the perfect embodiment of that journey, for this is arguably the heaviest track of the entire record. The doom/sludge riff which dominates it is heavy and the supporting piano is creepy and eerie. There is a lot of repetition and all the vocals are harsh. Six minutes in, the tempo slows to a doomy crawl, the music brutally heavy, crushing and squeezing the life from you just as the insane pressures of the ocean’s deepest depths would. Reconciling these differences, the jarring track title and lyrics juxtaposed against the fitting music, is thus the very image of cognitive dissonance.

Lyrically, the passage quoted refers to the opening of the sixth seal, a seal representing darkness. Thus in this sense it is fitting. The darkness of the music. The darkness of our deepest desires. And the darkness of what may await us in the Room.

 

Finally our voyage through the Zone and through the pelagic zones comes to an end with “Benthic: The Origin of our Wishes”. Following on from Demersal, the Benthic area is also not a pelagic depth zone, but the ocean floor itself, regardless of how deep it is. Musically it starts in the same vein as the last one ended, before soaring with an ambient post-rock passage and ending with bubbles and samples. So musically, we’ve reached the end of our journey. We’ve reached the ocean floor. Lyrically though, we have no analysis, no insight we wish to share with you. The lyrics alone are perfect as is, thought-provoking, suspenseful and questioning. They deserve demand discussion, and so we would love to hear your thoughts on them, and anything else we covered, in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

“We are now on the threshold.
Hold your breath and close your eyes.

This is what you have been hoping
And waiting for all your life.

Enter the room.

But don’t you have any illusions:
I will not forgive you.

And the worst thing is
That you won’t ever forgive yourself for this.

Enter the room.

There’s no one here.
No one can harm them here.
Oh, God…”

Comments

Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Karlo is an aspiring author in fantasy/historical fiction with a passion for music, literature and history.






6 thoughts on “*prognotes – The Ocean’s Pelagial – Part II

  1. Casey Mahaffey Reply

    I honestly think the ”Oh God…” is the best lyric throughout the album as it just means so much. It’s the moment in which we enter The Room and the moment in which we realize who we really are, what we’re really made of and are acquainted with our deepest desires.
    The perfect way to end a 10/10 album.
    The 10/10 is earned in many ways. The general concept of the album, how the instruments tell the story just as well as the lyrics, the overrall execution.

    Bravo!

    • karlo Reply

      thanks for your comment! i completely agree, and i especially love the connotations of those words. it could be ‘oh god’ in a negative sense, as if something terrible is about to something. it could just be a sense of surprise and something unexpected. it could be something wonderous that leaves you speechless. or, given that the fulfilment of desires is something people pray for all the time, it could even be literal, perhaps The Room is a part of God. there are just so many ways you can look at it, and in my opinion, that’s a pre-requisite for great lyrics

      agreed on the 10/10, it’s definitely one of my favourite albums of all time, a true masterpiece!

  2. Alex Collina Reply

    Thanks for the insights – truly one of those memorable discs where the lyric component is as important – and fitting – as its music. So lucky to have seen this live in its entirety, too too cool

    • karlo Reply

      thanks for the comment and agreed, seeing it live was probably my favourite gig ever

  3. adam mcgayguymillan Reply

    still i’m good

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