Track By Tracks: Consecration - Fragilium (2019)

1. A Sentinel For The Fragile – Notes on the lyrics:

‘A Sentinel For The Fragile’ elaborates on the themes expressed in ‘Thy Requiem Lament’ from our first album ‘Ephemerality’, which is a very personal and deep exploration of grief and loss felt by the passing of a loved one. I wrote it through the eyes of the dying; as they slowly wither and pass away, and the last thoughts and wishes which do not always get said.

‘A Sentinel For The Fragile’ is taken from the perspective of family members as they stand helplessly by the side of the dying, unable to relieve the suffering or to assist in anyway, but at the same time - trying to remain focussed and hopeful.

The song is based in part on a loved one’s stay in hospital following life threatening illness and subsequent major surgeries, and the pain and helplessness that was felt; firstly at not knowing if they would pull through (the outlook at the time was bleak), and secondly, with the thoughts associated with anticipating and trying to prepare for their imminent demise. The harrowing images of being plugged into full life support and being in an induced ‘sleep’ are still very much with me.

I tried to get across the emptiness and loneliness at waiting for any scrap of news; the watching and hoping, grieving and associated desperate feelings.

The title was quite interesting to come up with; I was searching for alternatives for ‘watcher’ and ‘dying’, wanting something suitable to reflect on the premise of seeing someone deteriorate in front of your eyes. I was playing with synonyms and came across the words ‘sentinel’ and ‘fragile’ which fit very well:

‘Sentinel’ means ‘to guard & keep watch over’ – Watching over a loved one, waiting and hoping, and keeping them ‘safe’.

‘Sentinel’ is also derived from old Greek meaning ‘to hear and perceive’ - I remember we were told to continue to converse in their presence, as although unconscious, hearing is supposed to be active in some capacity; some form of connection to the subconscious mind, and may aid in their recovery in some way.

‘Sentinel’ is also used in medicine as an ‘indicator of disease’ which I felt was also very apt.

The word ‘fragile’ I thought worked very well in this setting, as not only a synonym of ‘death’ but also a description of the fragile state the person is in, the fragile thread that is life at that point, and the fragile hope that all was going to be ok.

2. In Somnus Ego Morior – Notes on the lyrics

The title is translated from Latin to mean ‘In My Sleep I Die’; this is essentially about someone being trapped in a comatose state, yet with an awareness or consciousness of sorts. Imagine a serene deathlike appearance from the outside, yet being unable to communicate and completely paralysed - screaming for assistance from the inside. It would be a most terrible experience; especially with not knowing how long it would be prolonged for. The body is essentially a tomb, being trapped within its confines in limbo. From this perpetual sleep, what remains of the person eventually shuts down, having given up any hope of escape.

The lyrics are also an expression of the feeling of being able to do nothing, to be an on-looker to events that you wish you could change; but seem incapable of doing so.

Originally when the music was being written, the song had the working title of 'Coma’, which referred to an in joke at the time. This inspired me to investigate the subject thoroughly, and to actually write about someone being comatose, and the kind of feelings or thoughts that may be experienced by them, even in a subconscious way.

Events later in my life, and also around the ‘Requiem’ period gave extra emotional weight and meaning to these lyrics, which continues along the theme set in 'A Sentinel For The Fragile'. This is very much an expression of anger, frustration and hopelessness from the viewpoint of the person in a terminal condition, unable to communicate to those whom are with them.

3. Elegy Of The Departed – Notes on the lyrics:

This song reflects back on failed relationships, and the pain involved in making the decision to end them. This is from the perspective of the person who wants and needs to leave, addressing feelings of loneliness, isolation, desperation, and the like.

The first verse is addressed to the ‘departed’, the innocents; which could be interpreted as others, maybe much younger, who unfortunately had to bear the pain of the split as well.

The second verse is intended as an address to the person being left on their own, but also as some form of reasoning for them and the ‘innocents’ as they come into their own, and hopefully can understand why it had to be this way. That in moving on, they would hopefully get the best of both, as opposed to staying and being subjected to less than they deserve, with all parties resolving themselves to being unhappy for the rest of their lives.

The final section is an emotional outpouring expressing the sentiment that; it is sometimes better to move on, no matter how painful it may seem at the time.

The song I feel can apply to any situation which is found to be overbearing and crippling, where the weight of expectation is so great that you are being crushed by it. Removing yourself from the situation is both emotionally draining and painful. Resolving yourself to the fact that changing this cycle of desperation and depression is the best way forward is sometimes difficult to come to terms with.

4. To Welcome The Grey – Notes on the lyrics:

This is an extremely personal and difficult song for me, written primarily about the utter grief, devastation and life changing events that result from no longer having people that you love so dearly around you. The feelings of anguish at not being able to participate in the fullness of their life anymore. This is a very painful grieving process, and can equally apply to any feelings of loss; so I tried to make the lyrics a little more open to interpretation. 

This is also a continuation of ideas expressed in ‘An Elegy For The Departed’, but from the viewpoint of the other person, the one who has been left desperate, desolate, and alone. I am always intrigued writing from both perspectives to illustrate a narrative more fully.

In a personal sense, I touch on the way that every little thing you do changes, like walking around the house, where there was once noise like the hustle and bustle of family life, to complete nothingness, everything becomes empty. Looking at random objects that all have memories associated with them can reduce you to a broken shell. Everything becomes lifeless, with a constant set of painful recollections filled with ‘what if’s’ and ‘why’s’ - harassing your every thought.

Finding yourself retracing journey’s you made in happier times when you venture outside rather than going where you intended to go, as if in some cruel way, this would help bring them back. I felt this was some kind of self-punishment, but did it nonetheless. Maybe this was a way to prevent those images associated with things becoming corrupted and tarnished over time, as some memories are lost without constant reminder. 

I also intended to touch upon the very dark place that is seldom ventured. A place of depression and despair that lurks in everybody’s mind, which events like this can force you to enter. Very dark thoughts come to the fore and it can become extremely difficult to claw yourself out of this mental state, and all too easy to succumb to grief and end whatever is left. Again, this is all part of the grieving process and in confronting those issues you can move on, after time, although the feelings and hurt never truly subside. In this way, writing this track proved a very therapeutic process.

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