- Oct 19, 2004
A guy called Ryan from Texas, USA posted a blog on his Myspace containing the following...
The depth of this album is unfathomable...
This further indicates that every sound and word in every Virgin Black song has some kind of deliberate beat, purpose, meaning and intention. And further justifies the reason for them being my favourite band by a long way.
| I have not been able to find message boards or anything else containing some semblance of discussion on Virgin Black's music so I figured I'd start blogging my own experience/interpretation/encounter with their albums. I'll start with Elegant and dying first.....|
The assumption here is that readers have heard and possibly done some studying on this album (if not then this may be quite boring for you). We can glean a good amount of information from various interviews with Virgin Black that are accessible here. I *highly* recommend reading these interviews as they provide good insight into the writers and they even discuss the breakdown of Elegant......and dying.
There are 9 songs total and the album as a whole is one interconnected unit of work, broken up into 3 phases. In fact, the names of the songs go together and somewhat describe the phase....
Adorned In Ashes (1st song on album, 6 minute intro)
Phase 1 - Velvet Tongue(2) And The Kiss Of God's Mouth (3/4)
Renaissance (song 5...amazing song that transitions and connects Phase 1 and 2)
Phase 2 - The Everlasting (6) Cult of Crucifixion (7)
Phase 3 - Beloved (8) Our Wings Are Burning (9)
I've never done an album review of any sort and I certainly do not possess any writing or artistic prowess. My strengths are in math, formal logic, and self-destructive behavior. That said, I will attempt to give my impressions and suppress my fear of making a fool of myself. I want to reiterate that these are just *my* impressions / take away from this album and my understanding is hardly complete or final; rather it is spotty and suspect at best. The point is to possibly foster discussion with other Virgin Black aficionados and hence experience different viewpoints or interpretations of the work.
ONE LAST CAVEAT: This blog focuses more on the lyrics and my subjective takeaway of the ideas conveyed moreso than the music that accompanies these words. The reason for this is simply because I'm not musically savvy enough to articulate how well the music contributes to and complements the lyrics. Listening to the music and hearing the "mood" and vocals of each song is integral to really experiencing this album the way it was intended. Let us begin...
Adorned in Ashes - This is the opening song and I find that it really sets the tone of what the listener is about to experience. It seems to me like it is almost a warning of sorts...of what is to come and what the listener is potentially going to experience. It is very sobering and yet there is an element of triumph in it as well. Unfortunately--and for reasons I'm too oblivious and feeble minded to know of at this point--the lyrics to this song are not made available. If my ears don't deceive me, it appears to be sung in a language other than English. Other than this, I'm not perspicacious enough to glean much else. If anybody has insight into this one or cares to share their impressions, then by all means do so.
Velvet Tongue - This song is best described by the following excerpts from it:
Religion has raped us...We bare our souls in transparency But our velvet tongues will never please their ears
Heaven hears nothing as the priests are wailing
And they're crushing our souls
But are you holding on? I'm holding on....But we are holding on....We Stand
There is obviously a play on the administration of injustice and betrayal done at the hands of religion. There is sprinkled throughout the song this element of "holding on" which seems to indicate a sort of perseverance through the reality and personal experience of the wickedness, injustice, depravity, and hypocrisy prevalent in the various facets of Christendom, if not humanity itself. This notion of holding on seems to be one of the themes consistently heard throughout this album; which culminates in the phrase heard in later songs: all is lost but hope.
And The Kiss Of God's Mouth - This song is rather strange and one I'm not about to claim any wisdom on. There is alot I don't understand about this one. It is important to remember that this is just one song that is part of a whole. Once the whole is experienced in its entirety, it is helpful to go back and reinterpret some of the earlier songs. Such is my case with this one as it has taken me many listens to even begin to get my arms around it....Ok, the feeling/image/impression I get with this is that a separation of sorts takes place or is taking place....this separation is the beginning of a descent into a very painful and difficult experience that is about to happen but the listener doesn't really know that yet; all they have experienced at this point is Velvet Tongue (if they only knew of Renaissance through Cult of Crucifixion). The first part of the song I must admit I do not understand:
Kiss the image in a stranger's casket
What has become of the splendour?
Twelve strokes have fallen
And the faintly heard breath
That argued my beauty
I simply do not have much grasp on what is being communicated here. Poetry was never my strong suit and it shows here as I'm utterly clueless. Anybody willing to deign and share their takeaway from this verse is encouraged. It seems to be a lament of sorts concerning an objective beauty that has been stained or otherwise disfigured. An acknowledgement of fallenness of some sort. The beauty and dignity of the soul (or the core of what we are) has been damaged To me, there is a play on potentiality versus actuality. Image bearers versus fallen creatures. Relational intimacy versus relational brokenness. The next part is where the song begins to split as there is an obvious transition that takes place beginning with:
A ruined soul bewailing
Where the angels allow their wings bewilted
To droop, to bow to the bosom of a friend
Kiss me tenderly, savage God
My lips are dumb to speak a thousand inane words
And how sweet a toil
All is dark, all is blackened
All but an upturned face
I'm not much better off here in terms of understanding. I personally like the reference and contrast of "tender / savage" and I especially view the description of God as "savage" as wholesome and true (if not popular). "My lips are dumb to speak a thousand inane words" (I think this blog may just be living proof of this *chuckle*). Anyway, I love this line as it seems to convey an ackowledgement of our finitude and how prone we are to foolishness masking as wisdom (particularly within the church). The emotional delivery by Rowan in "A ruined soul bewailing....Where the angels allow their wings bewilted...bosom of a friend" is amazing and may help convey what is meant by these lyrics. My hesitant explanation is that it seems to portray a depraved, broken, wounded person beginning the process of mending or restoration wrought through the unlikely companions of suffering and pain.
On the whole, my takeaway of this song is that this is the beginning of a separation that is taking place (A Gesture of Farewell, to the kiss of God's Mouth....the faintly heard breath....all is dark, all is blackened). However, I feel that there are two ways of viewing this song: one is to look at it as coming *after* Velvet Tongue and hence interpret it in light of the harsh reality/disappointment/injustice of that experience (which seems more likely since Velvet Tongue never really "ends" but instead transitions directly into this song and seems to lend itself towards the opposite of that experience). The other is to look at it as preceding that which is about to come and hence view it in light of that.....darkness (which requires the participant to have already listened to the latter parts of the album). My guess is that this song is best understood as a contrast against Velvet Tongue moreso than it is a preperatory, sobering, anticipation of what is to come. However, I do feel there is a link between this song and Renaissance as this one ends with "All is dark, All is blackened, All but an Upturned face" and Renaissance begins with "And I looked to the air and the breeze was not cold". It is like Renaissance picks up immediately where And The Kiss...ends.
I realize I keep emphasizing my perception that this song communicates a separation that is occurring. The (somewhat trite) image I have is that of a benevolent parent or guardian embracing and comforting a person before "letting them go" as the person is sort of forced to deal with the harshness and darkness of isolation and despair. I make a distinction here between malevolent abandonment and benevolent separation. I certainly don't view this as an abandonment as the latter songs continue to sprinkle and weave hope into the (open, bleeding) heart of the listener.
On one final note, listeners that frequent the Virgin Black boards on The End Records have noted that the beginning of And The Kiss Of God's Mouth Pt 2 begins with one of the most joyous and uplifting music ever recorded by this band. I have to concur with this though I'm not really sure why such light is portrayed musically at this point in the album.
Outstanding Questions: 1) Why is there a Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 to this song? What purpose does that serve and what is VB trying to convey with this distinction? 2) What meaning is there within the first main verse of Pt. 2 (i.e. Kiss the image in a strangers casket)? Does anybody have any insight into what this means? I realize interpreting this album can be rather personal, however, if you are willing to take the time to share it can help the rest of us reinterpret and glean from this song.
Renaissance - This is where the transition begins from phase I to phase II (although at this point I'm not really sure what exactly phase I is other than a contrast of sorts between the emotional pain of Velvet Tongue and the esoteric "soothing" of And The Kiss Of God's Mouth). Renaissance is where the beginning of a descent into darkness happens. But it is a descent that is not without hope, as the song both begins and ends with the phrase "Ella mo fare rifare" which translated means "All is lost but hope". This appears to be the main theme of the entire album. It implies a form of crushing, abandonment, and distress (losing everything) that leaves the person in a better state after surviving the experience (gaining hope). The mystery and implication inherent within the album is that God seems to be behind it all at some level and achieves His measures through suffering and pain, with the net effect being a movement towards beauty and wholeness.
Renaissance seems to have two parts. The first part depicts a person that experiences isolation/distress that is so intense that they plead for God to take their life (and hence end things possibly):
And I looked to the air
But the breeze was not cold
I sought for your hand
To hold unto me
I lay awakened
The dew on my brow
Come take my life
God, I'm dying
In the second part, the song goes into a kind of betrayal that is experienced in pursuit of their comfort/peace:
And the spirits of slumber
Lulled at my side
They tormented my world
And praised at my grave
I gave them a portion
In pursuance of my peace
But they took it and broke it
The above is rather self-explanatory and clearly indicates a betrayal and disappointment. The song finally ends with:
Where is my hope?
Ella mo fare rifare
This is where I get confused. I don't really get what "Elegant, undying" means (though Rowan gives an explanation of what Elegant...and dying means in one of the interviews). Moreso, however, I do not get how that phrase makes sense as an answer to the question of "Where is my hope?" (perhaps this is just a rhetorical question). Musically, the song totally fits the lyrics and at times is reduced down to the very pulse that indicates whether we are alive or dead (i.e. consider the music immediately after Rowan sings "Elegant Undying").
Outstanding Questions: 1) What does "Elegant, undying" mean as a statement or as an answer to the question of "Where is my hope?" ?
The Everlasting - As Virgin Black fans already know, this is the longest song on the album and is quite epic and intense. I find this one interesting because it depicts an encounter with that which is referred to as "The Everlasting"--a harrowing encounter that on the one hand torments/instills terror and on the other hand convicts and inspires awe (in theological terms, we may refer to this as the truly unholy encountering the truly Holy). For me, the most awesome line in this song (and one of the top moments of this album) is the following (especially how Rowan wails it out with such genuine emotion):
Why can I never rest from this aloof pursuer?
Please give me my peace
This line is simply amazing and one that resonates with me. I really see no point in explaining or justifying this line because if you can relate to it you can relate to it, if you cannot at this point in your life then no amount of explaining or articulation will cause this--profound insight into what it means to be human--to make sense. Suffice to say, at this point in the song, we experience a transition. Indeed, there is a sense to me that this line depicts a transition beyond just this song but divides the entire album. One way of looking at things is to divide the album strictly along this line: everything prior to it and everything after it. It seems to me that the protagonist begins to experience a kind of progress of sorts after this line is delivered. Perhaps I'm reading too much into things and trying to uncover meaning that isn't there or intended....
Musically the song seems to morph from a dark, haunting, encounter into a personal experience characterized by reflection and yielding a conviction of sorts. The song's "heaviness" picks up at around the 10 minute mark just as the lyrics transition into this new stage of the song:
I am mourning, my eyes are stained
I feel his sacred tears upon me
His sobs strike against my heart
The faceless, haunts me
Scarred but perfect and beautiful
I see the face of...
Lashed with my every burden
Obviously one can see references to a certain kind of personal reflection on the work of Christ. This reflection is beyond theoretical and moves into a contemplation of the appropriation of this work on behalf of the protagonist (i.e. I feel his sacred tears upon me / Lashed with my every burden). Musically the song portrays this encounter with an intense sort of suffering and lashing and brutality. The bass drums are like whips that convey a relentless attack on the listener. Furthermore, there is a kind of madenning, delusional, chaos that takes place at one point in the song which seems to drive home the suffering and edge of madness endured and experienced by the Passion. Coupling the music with the lyrics one can sense or taste a "mere shadow" of the crucifixion at this stage in the song.
The song ends with an excellent portrayal of an inquisitive, reserved, and perhaps even suspicous mind:
The air is dense before me
I cannot deny
But can I embrace?
This is where we see a reservation of sorts concerning the legitimacy and truthfulness of the experience: "I cannot deny, but can I embrace?" Perhaps when we encounter the holy the first impression one feels is that of inadequacy and unworthiness (woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips). I find this rhetorical question very human and legitimate. It is clear the creature cannot deny the reality of their experience, but questions whether or not they can embrace it. This questioning is very indicitive of how the person has gotten to where they are: an uncompromising willingness to critique themself and be honest and transparent and vulnerable. Or perhaps the reservations of embracing it is wrought more from a past plagued by disappointment, delusion, self-deception or even abuse of some form.
Overall I find this song quite intense and very unorthodox with respect to the sterotypical, fundamentalist, portrayal of "God" as this sort of cosmic muffin comprised solely of "love". The Everlasting depicts more of a haunting, awe inspiring, pursuant Creator rather than the blob of love so often depicted by modern day Christendom. That's not to say that I think this song or album or God is devoid of love (nay, Virgin Black has given us Beloved).
Musically, this song ends with a 2 minute transition into the next song, Cult of Crucifixion. This transition seems to communicate a sobering and disturbing warning to the listener that things are about to get dark and personal. I find Cult of Crucifixion to be the best potrayal of human despair I've ever witnessed in music (which may not be saying much considering the neophyte that I am with respect to music). With that said, let us shift to this amazing song....
Cult of Crucifixion - Virgin Black fans that have done a cursory study of this album will know at this point that Cult of Crucifixion is the apex of a descent into despair and darkness. I find this song one in which the person is so dipped in grief, loss, abandonment, self-condemnation, and isolation that they experience an utter crushing of their epistomology. One cannot experience something like this and not question everything they know, think, believe and "feel" to be true. The song seems to reach, but not embrace, a Nietzchian nihilism culminating in a madenning encounter with insanity itself. The first part of the song is sung with amazing emotion and grief:
I will wander
I will gather my flowers
Withered and how soon forgotten
Sing with passion
Sing with vehemence
A grief too sad for song
"I will wander, I will gather my flowers" has an aspect of nomadic roaming to it. I'm not sure what the significance of "flowers" are here, perhaps it refers to those experiences that we are comprised of.: The totality of who we are. "Withered and how soon forgotten" indicates a kind of regret and sadness associated with those "flowers" or impressions. A mortality perhaps. "Sing with passion, sing with vehemence, a grief too sad for song" is sung just as the words describe. There is a transition that occurs at this point which is made complete with the following line:
I pick the gravel from my eyes
I do not know precisely what this means. Perhaps it is the person determined to take a step towards seeing who they really are. It doesn't seem to suggest the sort of esoteric epiphany one might associate with something like the apostle Paul's experience of scales falling from his eyes, rather it depicts more of a gritty determination (i.e. "I pick") forged in pain ("the gravel from my eyes"). Also notable is that this line is delivered as a spoken sentence and isn't really sung at all. After this line, we transition to the next stage:
I need no words
I am a face rid of features
Curse this heedless folly
Am I nothing? A plaintive breath, a moment's vision
Curse this dead...(Curse Me)
I don't really know how to explain my impressions concerning this portion of the song. To curse one's self seems unhealthy by modern day psychology. Perhaps the protagonist has gotten a glimpse into their deadness masking as life, their foolishness masking as wisdom, their corruption masking as beauty. There is a sense in which the person has lost there identity and they are cursing the damaged state that remains. Or perhaps there is a strong impression of their finiteness and granularity in the universe. I don't really know. Maybe the reality of the betrayal experienced during Renaissance is setting in (recall the second part of that song). It is the next line that I absolutely love (one of the top 5 lines on the album in my opinion)...
And words crowd to my blistered throat
"Dip my wings in your magnificence
Show me my real face"
That words crowd to a blistered throat depicts a plea wrought and endured in pain. Notice that the request isn't to make it all stop (i.e. comfort), but rather to have their wings dipped in Truth's magnificence followed by a request to see who they really are (as objectified by Truth perhaps). It is a request for real identity. We continue:
Separate my head from their crucifixion
I don't understand the meaning behind this line and it is an outstanding question I have. The word "separate" is sung in a distressing way while the rest of the line, "my head from their crucifixion", is delivered in a kind of chant almost. I am at a loss as to who "their" refers to: perceived persecutors? voices in the person's head? painful past experiences? I simply do not really understand this line.
I lay at length upon the earth
Gnats dance through my sable cloak (madness is near)
I lay at length upon the earth
Heaven is silent in travailed prayer
All darkness flaunts before me
Before going further one thing I want to point out is that the setting depicted here is that of a person laying down upon the earth. This is consistent with the setting prevalent at the end of "And the Kiss Of God's Mouth" and the beginning of "Renaissance". Remember how the former song ended with "All is dark, all is blacked, all but an upturned face" while the latter began with "And I looked to the air and the breeze was not cold". It is almost as if the person has been laying down in a field looking up towards the sky during the dark night and experiencing this internal torment/attack all within their mind (ever since And the Kiss...). They are wearing a cloak that is drawn about the face (as laid out from the very beginning of And the Kiss of God's Mouth Pt 1.) The point I'm trying to labor is that this verse seems to be focused on communicating a setting or preparing the final scene (which is about to come next). "Gnats dance through my sable cloak" perhaps refers to certain thoughts that bombard the person in their darkened state. "Heaven is silent in travailed prayer all darkness flaunts before me" epitomizes the separation that began back with And the Kiss... / Renaissance. Note that this line lends itself to the view that this is not an abandonment but rather a separation (I know, I know, I'm sounding like a broken record). If it were abandonment there would be no "Heaven is silent in travailed prayer" in my opinion. Continuing along, the final assualt is launched on the person with....
I wish that peace would revisit my mind
Madness endeavours to soothe (repeated)......me
The first line is whispered while the second line is repeated over and over in a madenning way. As listeners know, the music accompanies this part superbly with a chaotic, relentless piano. This portion of the song is quite intense but the assualt finally ends with the resolute "me" that is spoken at the end. I absolutely love how the choatic music stops and there is silence (relief) once Rowan sings out "me".
Beckon me nearer, whisper discreetly
When will the sun cease to climb?
That I may write my last farewell
To these gaunt residing shadows (The End)
The final portion is whispered entirely and not sung. I don't understand the significance of the question "When will the sun cease to climb?" but the first line indicates a desire to relate to, receive from, or otherwise encounter the person of Truth.
Beloved - Finally rays of light and recovery begin to rear their heads in and weave life into the person. "Beloved" is a song that has puzzled me for a long time and one that I'm still unfolding with each listen. Perhaps I make it out to be way harder than it is in my binary, literalist way of thinking. Or perhaps I truly lack an understanding of what it means to be considered Beloved.
This song transitions us to a place of recovery. Having been battled and bruised, weary and tired, we begin a sort of restoration process. The song begins thusly:
How many times will I look at you?
Allured by the scent of your death
And the savage priests, to a suffering soul
Exult in a strangled song
For some reason, the question "How many times will I look at you?" speaks to me a sort of steadfast, patient, love. Scholars may know of this as Hesed. It communicates a kind of observer, that looks upon the person and indeed has always for all eternity known and looked upon the person. But it is a gaze that doesn't provoke destructive shame, rather it invites a kind of restoration--an invitation of sorts towards wholeness. I realize that is alot to glean from one sentence in the song, but the sentence is repeated again later.
We continue: "Allured by the scent of your death" I find quite interesting. There seems to be a drawing of sorts, an initiation that takes place as we experience a form of death. Perhaps it is a play on the old "we must lose our life in order to find it" wisdom. The Observer seems to be drawn towards this death experienced by the protagnist. It seems to have paved the way for life to come and dress the person up.
"And the savage priests, to a suffering soul exult in a strangled song" is a line that seems to depict distorters. Those that bind and control in the name of religion. At least, that is the best I can glean. I could be way off base as this line I find quite puzzling.
The next portion is spoken and not sung. It is repeated 3 times and seems to be the beginning of a renewal:
I am soothed from anger into sorrow
As they knot their wreaths against my limbs
Help me understand the stench in my mind
Why do they impair our vision?
The soothing that takes place reflects an internalization and possibly the beginning of a restoration from the internal damage caused by the savage priests. "As they knot their wreaths against my limbs" speaks to the incredible damage and binding that takes place at the hands of the abuser. "Help me understand the stench in my mind, Why do they impair our vision?" This again speaks of the distortion of beauty and Truth that takes place at the hands of religion, if not humanity itself. Vision is indeed impaired. The next part transitions us back to the Observer speaking to us:
Can anyone taste my blood?
I have clung, quivering, with bruised flesh
Christendom rise and dress yourself
What delicious tears you've made me shed
This section is a bit confusing. It seems to be a cry of sorts. One that attempts to bring about perspective by focusing on the work done by the Observer. It is a calling as well. "Rise and dress yourself". There seems to be the ability of the Observer to relate to the protagonist's suffering in an ultimate sense. The next section then transitions back to communicating the steadfast love of the Observer. With passion, we hear:
Beloved, how many times I look at you
With suspended breath, and unguarded heart
Like a cradled child you hold me
(With hysterical affection, to console this loss)
This part is sung with great emotion and passion. Again we see this notion of being looked upon. Being observed. But it carries with it a patience and tenderness as opposed to a scornful condemnation. "With suspended breath, and unguarded heart" I suppose is a kind of vulnerable anticipation of sorts. "Like a cradled child you hold me...to console this loss". There seems to be a kind of affection and protection here. Remember the seperation that began with And the Kiss....? That seems to be over by this point and there is an embrace depicted here by the Observer and protagonist. By the Everlasting pursuer. A movement towards relational wholeness. A functioning of what we were made for. A living out of real identity. A taste of life that has been craved for. Finally, "Beloved" is whispered to the listener as a gentle reminder of identity. We reach the last verse...
Their semblance of love curses your beauty
In the blindness of my distress
In your dense black eyes
I see your silent grief
I see...I love you...Beloved
The Observer speaks to the falsehood and the distortion that has occurred and the marring done internally to the protagonist. The grief caused by the false love portrayed by the abusers. The Observer's searing eyes see through all: self-protection, walls built up, defense mechanisms established. It gazes to the core. It speaks of beauty. It sees grief. It sees ache. It sees all. And it declares the protagnist Beloved. This is the beginning of the erosion of shame and of contempt for one's longings held so long. Shame and contempt are exchanged with Hope. We reach the final song now, a fitting ending to a remarkable piece of work.
Our Wings Are Burning - This song is truly amazing and my favorite on the album. It communicates a kind of transition that has occurred in the protagonist. A movement towards wholeness via the unlikely and oftentimes abhorred thing we call pain. This song is an embracement of pain, a drinking of the cup of suffering, a cauterized searing of the fires that actually heal. Afterwards, a formation of Hope is wrought in the person. A kind of liberation and freedom is experienced. With reluctance, I'll offer my take on this song:
We fell in love, with dust in our lids
And the pain of a severed soul
We lowered our heads and lifted our face
Placed our bodies in celebration
Poured the ointment of grief
On the lips of a mutilated man
I'm not sure who "We" refers to here. Perhaps it is literally referring to two people. The "dust in our lids" speaks of our blindness and ignorance. Our propensity towards pretense. Our inability to see clearly. "And the pain of a severed soul" indicates our brokenness, our fallenness. The pain of longings unmet. The reality of corruptable beauty. "We lowered our heads and lifted our face / Placed our bodies in celebration". I'm not entirely sure what this means, but notice that the head is lowered and the face is lifted. It is kind of an exhange it seems. A replacement of sorts where one is emphasized, the other neglected. "Placed our bodies in celebration" seems to indicate a kind of harlotry perhaps? I'm not really sure. It seems to be a kind of mislocation of ones affections. I could be totally off base here (and most likely am). Again, I emphasize this is just *my* impression.
"Poured the ointment of grief, on the lips of a mutilated man" comes across to me as an acknowledgement of the brokeness of my past, the damage of my resultant "sin" (for lack of a better word) being endured and somehow dealt with by a mutilated man. One who has sacrificied on my behalf.
I carry the bones of a deformed child
This line is spoken in a painful way. It speaks of marring. Of deformation inherent within us. A deformation that we carry with us.
And with my own polluted breath
I speak the old man's words
In a persuasive eloquence
Bless the dust that hides
This unlamented head
This is a peculiar verse here. My impression is that it depicts how I attempt to cover up. To hide. To flee. To erect systems of idolatry. To bless my blissful ignorance. I don't want to acknowledge Truth. I want to flee from it and stay in control somehow. I want to persuasively and eloquently, systematically and diabolically, justify myself. It is indeed with polluted breath I speak.
The song then transitions. This is the best part of the entire album in my opinion. The emotion and passion with which the words are sung cannot be underestimated.
(Look into my eyes, do you see God in my face?)
On the crest of fire, our wings are burning
How glorious the pain
And the ways of God, shriek out of tune
All is lost but hope
On the crest of fire
Our wings are burning
To the wind's anthem
All is lost but hope
"On the crest of fire, our wings are burning. HOW GLORIOUS THE PAIN" This line resonates with me. It speaks of the pain of loss, only to gain. The deformed self, the polluted breath, the dust that hides...all begin to burn away. The things that seemed to promise life but in turn have brought death. The things that bind us and suffocate us. The things that marr me from being an Image bearer. This burning of the wings is a glorious pain because it carries with it a movement towards something that is real. "And the ways of God shriek out of tune" brilliantly depicts the unpredictability and mystery of God's purposes, despite my attempts to want to control or otherwise convince myself that I can name or somehow apply my western thinking and assess what is and isn't "God at work".
The song finally ends with an intense shriek of "All is lost but hope". It is the cauterization that takes place, commiting to permanence the formation of Hope in the individual. The music that follows is peaceful, soothing, restful. Optimistic. Hopeful. Mending.
And there we have it, all of my ramblings on a very deep and personal album. I continually try to evaulate my understanding of the songs and what they communicate as I find that I still am learning much with each listen. I eagerly await any future material presented by this group of people and I consider Virgin Black sojourners, fellow aliens, and friends. It would be a great honor to meet these individuals and relate with them.
The depth of this album is unfathomable...
This further indicates that every sound and word in every Virgin Black song has some kind of deliberate beat, purpose, meaning and intention. And further justifies the reason for them being my favourite band by a long way.