Most metalheads understand the idea of listening to music for an emotional response of some sort. We like the music we like because it elicits some feeling within us, giving us some sort of fulfillment or relief that we’re craving. Normally, these types of reactions are mild to moderate, because our subconscious minds regulate the level of emotional investment that we put into such experiences. There are those rare moments, though, that something evokes the deepest, most intense emotional reactions in us, too strong to be regulated by our brains. Such strong feelings cannot be ignored or explained. They can only be fed with more of what caused them in the first place.
When I interviewed Mike Semesky in June, I was greatly intrigued by the unique story behind Rest Among Ruins’ debut album. Such a tale had never made its way onto my scope before, and I wanted to hear the entire experience from start to finish. I was somewhat prepared for the harrowing story that was conveyed in Semesky’s lyrics. What I was not prepared for, though, was the visceral reaction that each song would provoke within me. The emotional outpouring that this album created is unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. The chaotic panic of “Beyond the Storm”, the maddening desperation of “Sign to Surrender”, the mournful reflection of “Reach the Edge”, the gorgeous calm of “Siren City” – every single song put me into the emotional space of that story and created the exact atmosphere that the protagonist was undoubtedly feeling in each moment.
The true culmination of emotion, though, came from the album’s title track, the finale of the album. Here, Semesky re-tells the story of the protagonist as a summary reflection of experiences, using key lines from each preceding song to relay the tale. The heart-stopping beauty of this haunting melody leaves me at a loss for words every time I hear it. It is unlike anything I have ever heard within a concept piece before. To have the story tied together by the brooding reflection of the protagonist, lost within his own mind and unable to find peace there – to try and explain it would be a disservice to the song and the album as a whole. It has to be heard to be believed. The whole album has to be heard to be believed, for that matter. If you have not heard Fugue yet, seek this album out, and take the time to listen to it from start to finish. You will not be prepared for the results of such an experience, but it will be well worth it.
Key tracks: “Beyond the Storm”, “Siren City”, “Fugue”
- TesseracT, Polaris (Kscope)
- Vision of Disorder, Razed to the Ground (Candlelight)
- Ensiferum, One Man Army (Metal Blade)
- Immortal Souls, Wintermetal (Rottweiler)
- Kataklysm, Of Ghosts and Gods (Nuclear Blast)
- Nightrage, The Puritan (Despotz)
- Disarmonia Mundi, Cold Inferno (Coroner)
- Cattle Decapitation, The Anthropocene Extinction (Metal Blade)