Track By Tracks: Alienator - Regrets (2022)

1. Revisionist History:

This one hits hard, right out of the gate with the rhythm section carrying things before a snakey guitar line weaves in over top. The odd-time signature gives it an off kilter feel. The lyrics are about the erosion of truth in our public discourse and the dangerous narcissists who create their own reality and try to shove it down our throats.

2. Loss Leader:

This song is about grief and loss, especially as a result of the opioid crisis. I’ve experienced a lot deaths and tragedies personally and professionally, working frontline in social services and this song is about dealing with a lot of that. Musically, it’s got a proggier feel than anything we’ve done previously and a bit of a middle-eastern influence. It’s also the first song this line-up of the band wrote together.

3. Blood Red Blood:

This opening riff is one I had kicking around for a while. We counted it as 9/8 or something wacky. Sean wrote the rest of the music around it. I like the breakdown in the middle a lot. The title was inspired by the Wilco song Sky Blue Sky, so there’s an influence you probably weren’t expecting. I wrote lyrics about the cycle of violence, toxic masculinity and how “hurt people hurt people.” Often, what we do to others gets paid back to us in the end; “blood in, blood out.”

4. Regrets:

One of the more heartfelt and emotional songs we’ve done, this one deals with personal struggles and the passage of time. I like the energy and looser feel of it, musically. Sean’s really standing on his head with some of the bass fills on this one, especially in the middle section, but it’s all tasteful and fits perfectly, elevating the whole song. Simon also finds interesting ways to fill the empty spaces on the drums. It gives a new dimension to our sound.

5. The Priest

The darkest song we’ve ever written. This is another one, where the rhythm section really drives the song and the guitar comes in, jagged and angular on top. Ralph Rowe was an Anglican Priest who molested countless kids from fly-in reserves in the 70s and 80s. He ruined so many lives and then plea-bargained for a prison sentence that was a slap on the wrist. There’s a documentary about him called “Survivor’s Rowe.” Here, he serves as an example of the type of abuses of power that we allow those who we place in positions of trust.

We put a lot of work into the dynamics of this one. Lots of tension and release and then the calm atmospheric part toward the end, before we bring the hammer down again.

6. The Less Dead:

The “less dead,” is a term for marginalized members of society who are considered less of a priority for police investigations and are therefore easy victims for predators. Sex workers, people of colour, people with addictions or mental health issues, members of the LGBTQ community and the poor all fit in this category.

The closest to a straight-ahead punk song on the album but Simon’s crazy work in the bridge really elevates it. Very fun to play live.

7. Flat Earth Society:

Remember when we used to think that increased access to information would make humanity smarter? This song is a reaction to the age of misinformation we currently find ourselves in. COVID conspiracies, climate denialism and the age of social media propaganda have altered our perception of reality and divided our society. This song is about the echo chambers we create for ourselves and how we are being manipulated by those in power. We opened for Soulfly before the pandemic and Sean said watching the people bounce up and down on the dance floor while they played contributed to the feel of the breakdown.

8. Irreconcilable:

This one is about Canada’s history of genocide against Indigenous peoples, which was brought back to the forefront of public consciousness when hundreds of graves were found on the sites of former residential schools. This song is about the relationship of denial that white settlers have with colonialism, how we refuse to “reconcile,” what’s been done and our role in it. Great dynamics in this one, as it ramps up from a slow simmer into a crushing chorus and back down again.

9. Your Funeral:

This one’s a bit different with the tension of the jerky snare-driven rhythm and then the straight-ahead release of the chorus. I find it interesting to juxtapose a kind of uplifting chord progression and driving beat with lyrics that are bleak and depressing. This one’s about being a wage slave, feeling like you’re a cog in the machine, wasting your life and going through the motions.

10. Wounded Birds:

This one is a kind of anthem for all the broken people, those who suffer from trauma, depression, substance issues and the like. I’ve had my own struggles so this one’s a bit cathartic, lyrically. Musically, it shows us branching out and experimenting more, adding a lot more depth.

11. Dark Matters:

A pretty unique tune in our catalogue. It’s about the things that keep you awake at night; lies you’ve told, people you’ve cheated or stolen from. I imagine one of our favourite politicians feeling some of these things late at night if they have any conscience left. It’s fun for me to take on the role of the negative voices in someone’s head, as I do here. Musically, it’s swirling and chaotic with some flashes of light in the darkness and gloom. An unsettling way to fade the record into black.

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