We at Heavy Blog love concept albums. There’s something special and thought-provoking when a band is able to communicate a good story through music and lyrics, and it’s a phenomenon that seems to be most prevalent in progressive rock and metal, which just so happens to be our main collective genre of interest. *prognotes is a play on the idea of *sparknotes, a website that aims to help readers understand the context and story of literature. We’ve always wanted to highlight and detail the stories of our favorite concept albums, and we’ve finally gotten around to doing just that. Have a suggestion for an album you’d like us to cover? Let us know! – Ed.

Part I | Part III

So, we left off last time with connecting the album’s themes to Schelling’s work “Clara, or, On Nature’s Connection to the Spirit World” and the Cyclical Model of the Universe. Now I’ll continue my analysis of the album starting with the next track, ‘Euclidean Elements.’ Now this song is a curveball, the first three songs were directly relatable to Schelling’s work, so far as containing direct quotes from Clara, but ‘Euclidean Elements‘ isn’t so obvious at first:

Our time will be devised as they will be
Taken from the present, above and below
When you become the salt in the wounds
Mankind will rise again – baptism by fire

An imagination along unrestricted bounds
A distant future, appearance of illusion
When you feel the merge within the wounds
Mankind will rise again – baptism by fire

When we fall toward a new sun aeon
Nothing more than a mere underneath
When you see throughout the worlds
Within the suns – downward and dead

Between our visible world
At the place, highest of all
I will turn to my mind’s eye
Where the blame lies with me

We are here among ourselves
With the sun and stars above us
An abyss within the depth
At a splendid place, above and below

The line about the baptism by fire got my attention. There is only one reference to baptism in Clara, and incidentally one of the two references to salt in the book is in the same paragraph as the baptism one. Taking this as a cue, I looked deeper into that line:

Truly, I can see the time come when the people, having had to become thereby more and more ignorant about the highest things, will rise up and make [..] philosophers account for themselves, saying: You should be the salt of your nation; so why don’t you salt us? Give us the spirit’s baptism of fire again; we feel that we need it and that we have come back far enough.

This passage asks to philosophers: Where were you as society slowly led itself into an intellectual collapse? Why didn’t you help us? It’s your job to guide us. Looking at the second to last stanza in the song, we have “I will turn to my mind’s eye, where the blame lies with me.” So this song seems to be written from the perspective of a philosopher. Of course, going along with the cosmic themes of the album, this is presented through a narrative of stars and suns. The last stanza illustrates this beautifully. We, as mankind, are in our own special corner of the universe. All alone, with no other species to rely on to guide us.

The second stanza refers to our intellectual capabilities, we are powerful because of our intellect. Why does the song refer to Euclid, father of Geometry? I’m not sure, but perhaps because he is a shining example of intellect and how the power of thought can guide humanity. Euclid’s contributions to mankind are innumerable, and we wouldn’t have a single piece of technology, architecture or many other things without him.

The next song, ‘Prismal Dawn’, returns to the themes of ‘Ocean Gateways‘, but with a twist. ‘Ocean Gateways‘ was about “Where earth and spirit unite”; ‘Prismal Dawn’ mentions “Where soul and spirit unite.” Remember the role of Nature, Spirit and Soul in Clara? Nature was the body and Spirit was the mind, but the book ended before Clara could complete her final journey (death?) and discover the role of the soul. ‘Prismal Dawn’ is about death. Look at the lyrics, and see how the highlighted lines evoke death and finality:

Behind those halls yonder, above the caliginoous enigma
Where soul and spirit unite, there lies buried everything I have
Where we left the quiet sanctuary that united us on this side
To be separated for aeons, enchained in eternity

I lost you when I am chased away yet again
Yet your feeble remnants adores them
I am torn away even from the area of ground that covers you
Which was the very last thing I had of you
I lost you when I am chased away yet again
Yet your mortal remains rest peacefully and purely

Whatever part of this earth will retain them
Passing the world beyond, I’ll be with you

This is our heart, our mind, our conscience
Our soul no longer belongs to us
Returning home to eternal freedom
Begin a new course, ennoble our essence

In the latter we find one law and one purpose
A purpose that can not be from this world
Beyond abyss through which blackness shines in

Behind those halls, where soul and spirit unite
There lies buried everything I have in the Prismal Dawn

I don’t really think I need to say much more. Clara implies that the meaning of the soul is discoverable only upon death, and this song is about finding purpose and having the mind unite with the soul in the spirit realm.

Moving on to ‘Celestial Spheres’, let’s look at the lyrics:

The inclination will become naught
When a justifiable longing is accorded to it
Within the magnitude of the object
For the gain of an everlasting truth

Amalgamation will be scorned by both
When there is a whisper of faith
Within the halls of eternity

For a wish of silence in the black eclipse
Light and vision, day and night, will break free
A night like day and a day like night embrace us all
Our wishes find their final resting place in us
A moonlit night touches our inner being
… and makes a shudder run through our flesh

A night like day and a day like night embrace us all
Our wishes find their final place

When our mind disappears into a sudden
Shuddering movement and leaves behind in his soul
A painful longing for it’s survival
Light and vision, day and night, will break free

At first I was stumped by this song, but then I realized the first part is a direct quote from the Introduction of Clara, written after the fact by a relative. It talks about how Schelling thinks faith, hope and love influence science and art. And again, the night like day, moonlit night part, etc. are direct quotes from Clara. This song is just a collection of quotes from the book, I can’t really follow any sort of pattern other than the regular general themes of Clara.

This concludes my second part of the analysis of this beast of an album. Again, a basic grasp of Clara is helpful but not required when trying to understand this album; but it’s not really required. Next week, I’ll conclude the analysis of the album with the last three tracks, but in the meantime, if you’re interested, you should definitely check out Clara and perhaps read some H.P. Lovecraft to get that feeling of cosmic dread. Enjoy Omnivium!

Part I | Part III

– NT

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