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Track By Tracks: SOMNENT – GARDENS FROM GRAVES (2021)


1. Silhouette:

I began writing for Silhouette in 2020, basically when the severity of my mother-in-law’s heath condition began to become more apparent. She had been battling ovarian cancer for at least a year and a half and when it was finally all over, I was able to put some of the emotions I was feeling into the lyrics for this song. From a musical standpoint it is probably one of my proudest compositions to date. It features all acoustic and clean guitar, mellotron samples, clean vocals, and a percussion style that I had never really worked with before. Overall I was experimenting with what Somnent could sound like and I am very pleased with the result.

2. Acquiescence:

This song came next in the writing process after finishing the main riffs and lyrics for Silhouette. It mainly revolves around the concept of dealing with internal conflict and overwhelming feelings of hopelessness while still trying to maintain hope for the future. I tried to capture the contrast between the two mental states of feeling hopeful and hopeless, not only through the lyrics, but also with the main riffs in the introduction and in the chorus. The final phrase or outro to the song, which utilizes clean vocals, is the manifestation of the conclusion that ultimately there will be hope so long as one wishes it to be there.

3. Despite the Scourge:

This track is slightly different than the rest of the songs in my opinion, even though it does add to the overall concept. Despite the Scourge is mainly about the effects of emotional abuse and trying to overcome one’s condition manifested by the effects of such harm. It is written from the perspective of the victim which decides that even though the conditions of their life has shaped them to a large degree. The abuse has also forced them to grow and become stronger in order to overcome their circumstances. 

4. Fragments/Acoustic Version:

This one was written around the same time as Resolve, which was the first song I had written for Gardens from Graves. It focuses on the difficulties of pulling one’s self out of self-destructive mental loops. Recurring painful thoughts that seem rational at first but they are actually toxic fabrications of the mind that have very little connection to the present moment. We think these thoughts are our own but really they have been planted in our minds by the voices of the people, culture and society around us. The worst part is that the more those thoughts are entertained, the more true they seem. Even if they hurt.

5. Gardens from Graves:

The title track of the album was actually one of the last ones to be written and is one of the songs that most clearly highlights the concept of the album. It visits the emotions that revolve around loss, mourning and battling one’s own mind. And it attempts to describe the hardship that a person might face when trying to overcome the intense feelings of longing for the company of the lost individual. The regret for things that were said or unsaid. And the fears that might accompany someone when they are trying to pull their life together after going through such a painful and earth shattering loss. 

6. Blackened Heart:

This was written with my wife in mind and basically puts the comfort that I would have liked to have been able to provide during a particularly difficult time period we were facing, into song. Because despite what we might do for our loved ones, there is only so much hurt that words and actions are able to subside. When I began to Blackened Heart I originally wrote it on an acoustic guitar. This is not the first time I have started the writing process with an acoustic. On the contrary, that is a very common approach that I take. But the difference between this one and most of the other songs I have written in the past is that this was supposed to remain an acoustic song. But over time I began to get more ideas and so I decided to create two versions. One that features electric guitars, drums and a guest performance by the wonderful Jari Lindholm. And another version that represents the original concept in a more intimate and genuine way.

7. Withered to a Shadow:

This song was originally written with the intention of putting together something completely and utterly funeral doom. However, as the song progressed and the riffs began to take shape I started to come up with a vocal melody that was not what I would consider to be funeral doom at all. And so rather than force the song to go into a particular direction I just let things unfold naturally and thus, Withered to a Shadow became what it is. The concept of this one continues with the main idea of the album and even though it starts out as rather bleak, the song progresses and opens up in the end to something more hopeful. Both lyrically and musically the progression of the song is a physical manifestation of the process we might go through when struggling with something overwhelming and difficult. Beginning with feelings of fear, anger and hopelessness. And then progressing and ending with taking control over one’s own circumstances and looking to make a change when we have had enough.

8. Resolve:

This was actually the very first song to be written when I began work for the new album and it started out rather Bert Jansch influenced. I was not sure if the entire album would be acoustic. But I knew with certainty that the types of emotions that were present at the time of writing Sojourn (2017) were no longer present for Gardens from Graves and I needed something to reflect this. This song would essentially go on to be the bridge with which I would be able to explore the rest of my inner state and come up with the rest of the material used for the album.

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