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Track By Tracks: Hallows Die - Masks (2021)


1. Dal Principio/Alla Fine:

"From beginning to end." These tracks started when a friend and (god)father-figure to the band started playing around with a motif from 'Do Androids Dream of Robot Sheep?' and wound up writing a live intro for us. Things mutated really quickly - to the point where it isn't the same theme at all - but Dal Principio definitely carries the same ill-at-ease vibe of our alternate intro. 'Alla Fine' is basically an "outverture" - callbacks and variations on riffs throughout the album, settling back on a spin on Dal Principio to reinforce the overarching theme: that it's all bullshit anyway.

2. A Serpent in Judecca:

This one's about how so much of modern society is built on lies, how easy and even necessary it is to deceive and fleece people, and how easily it could all be torn down - if it doesn't just fall on its own - because there's no substance to it. The ivory towers are supported by smoke and mirrors.

3. Exit: Stage Left:

Exit built itself really quickly. We had some friends die in swift succession, most by their own doing, and while we were telling ourselves "It's what they wanted. We're still here; we're fine," this quick little ditty popped out to remind us that we weren't.

4. Blue Nine:

This one was sort of a riff on 'Do Androids Dream of Robot Sheep?' It's using a chapter out of William Gibson's 'Neuromancer' (30+ year old spoilers: where the Panther Moderns run a smoke-screen infiltration on Sense/Net) as a case study to show just how easy it is to get inside people's heads. Look at how many of your social media friends are absolutely militant about political and social stances that they just don't quite get. Today's word is "Panic!"

5. Do Androids Dream of Robot Sheep?:

This one's a whole Rube Goldberg narrative of lies and their fallout. It draws pretty heavily from Philip K. Dick's 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' (hence the name). It's the classic story of: Android meets girl; android falls in love with girl; android hides his feelings because he's not really programmed to feel them, and sentience and emotion are the kind of malfunctions we like to dismantle our Terminators over. Android slips up; girl turns android over to authorities. Nobody wins; everyone regrets everything!

6. Masks:

The title track is about the stupid power plays we routinely pull and fall victim to: the moves and contingencies behind social hierarchy, backstabbing diplomacy, state-sanctioned aggression... Every tyrant returns to the soil eventually, but the guillotine expedites the process.

7. Discontinuity:

The title's taken from Bruce Mazlish's The Fourth Discontinuity. The gist of both is that we're at a point where our technology is no longer part of what we do so much as it is what we ARE as a species. Luddites and classical-thinking anthropologists might be in denial about the convergence of man and machine's evolutions, but our advancements have already allowed for cybernetic integration, and for computers to learn and make decisions on their own. What happens when both of these things happen at the same time? We'll probably find out soon. All we can hope for is that when the machinery overtakes us, it brings us along for the ride.

8. Like Fools to Kings:

"I am free." "I am in control." "I am lying to myself openly, and there is nothing I plan to do about it." The illusion of control is a drug, and the masses are definitely buying.

9. When Gods Create Monsters:

This one's the other side of that coin: falling prey to the idea that you're in control of yourself. Our dauntless hero comes to realize that sanity has left him behind at the terminal, and so learns to stop worrying and love the bomb. If we could all be so lucky.

10. Nameless:

We had an idea of shining a light on some of the atrocities that Canada, as a nation, has swept under the rug. After reading a few things by Dr. David McDonald, this song became entirely about how Canada, as a nation, has tried to sweep its indigenous cultures under the rug. Thankfully, these abuses have had a lot of light shed on them in the years since Nameless was written.

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