Track By Tracks: Ronin - Ronin (2021)

1. One in the Same:

It’s essentially a conversation of sorts between God and Lucifer, with Lucifer being the original “chosen son”. I’m not a religious person, but I always found the twisted tale of Lucifer and how he fell from grace to be very interesting and more complex than just; God is good, Lucifer is evil. They are one in the same; two sides of the same coin. They are vengeful, ruthless, rulers, conquerors, powerful, but one is the creator(father) and the other the creation(son). The song illustrates the struggle between the two. Lucifer taking on the mantle of being the wicked one that men were made to fear, while God was to be revered and loved. The verses and choruses are God speaking/shouting at Lucifer and then the bridge is Lucifer’s plea and response. Now that’s taking the lyrics at face value. Where I was coming from with this song is the human flaw of projection. People putting their own flawed thoughts, feelings and actions onto others. Taking the absolute worst of themselves and attributing it to those that they deem “wicked”. Labels make the world go round, and labels tend to stick. So, one quick example before this answer really entirely too long-winded is, there was/is a lot of talk about how the media and the news are terrible, they’re enablers, blah blah blah. But how did they get that way? Who feeds the beast? Who loves the sensationalism and “end of days” type rhetoric? Who tunes in night after night to watch train wrecks? We do. We are one in the same, and more often than not, it’s being just like that which you hate.

2. Greetings:

The song takes place in a psych ward where they pump you up with drugs and concoctions meant to erase your mind and wash away your identity, and then they let you loose to see what happens. The idea behind this song was along the lines of indoctrination and the practices that are used in order to turn people into drones for an agenda or cause. The place that you’re being welcomed to is “the cause” or “the group”, and then they use tactics that are meant to brainwash a person. The “drink up” and “shoot in” phrases are representative of those methods. They force feed their agendas to the initiates, and then when they’re good and brainwashed, they are set loose on society to wreak havoc. The bridge section displays the terror that someone might feel if they start to realize they’ve been duped into this cult-like group and wrestling with the fact that they’re losing who they are to this “cause”. Ultimately, this larger entity always comes out on top, because the individuals are forever changed, lives are ruined, and people are undone.

3. Spider and Fly:

This one is very much about being trapped and preyed on, and it's an engaging subject that is ever present in the world. It's the law of nature and man's nature to so easily succumb to its simplistic design. Eat or be eaten is a concept as present in the wild as it is in a high school cafeteria or a competitive office. The idea of some force or action affecting someone and them trying to come to terms with that is fascinating. Whether it be a decision you’ve made that’s haunting you and preying on your doubts and fears, an inner desire trying to work its way out and overpower your better nature, or even an outside lure/force that inevitably will take hold of you; people have to come to terms with realities, whatever they might be. So that kind of fascination plays a role in the songwriting process and finds its way through metaphors of all shapes and sizes, even if it’s not necessarily intended. Just makes for some provocative material in my estimation. 

4. Down:

This is another song that pretty much deals with coming to terms with something. Specifically, it’s a young girl who has to make a decision and then live with that decision afterwards and live with everything else that surrounds that choice. Outside forces and opinions pressing down on her and filling her with doubt and regret that she has already wrestled within herself for some time. Being judged by others is something that is universally understood and felt in the world, and it’s almost never a good feeling, especially when what you’re being judged for has nothing to do with those that are passing the judgement. This song reflects the conflict on one who is judged, buy not only herself but by others based on an almost impossible to make decision. The song then takes a shift midway to a “floating on a cloud” type outro that lends the idea of flying away and freeing oneself. How that person goes about achieving that freedom is up to interpretation.

5. Coming Through:

This song was born of some internal struggles with bestial rage that many people feel. You bottle it up and eventually it overcomes you and your more “evil” nature is revealed and takes over your thoughts, beliefs and actions; the psychological trifecta, so to speak. I personally have had my bouts with anger issues but I’ve never actually physical transformed into a werewolf. It was the obvious metaphor used in the lyrics of the song, but it’s about having some kind of “beast” within oneself that is always just a split-second away from being brought out, and the song illustrates the strenuous and ongoing battle to keep it at bay for better or for worse.

6. Temptress:

This one is mainly about having some kind of alluring vice that you just cannot say no to. Some singular thing calls out to you and offers comfort in an otherwise comfortless world and you are uninhibitedly drawn in. There is some tension in the song as if the narrator is struggling against it at times and sees how this “temptress” is pulling in others and being pulled down by her, but eventually accepts his reality by the end of the song, which is illustrated through the song shift after the guitar solo. Repeating that he’s “bound in chains” but they suit him well and this vice treats him well, eventually reaching the conclusion that this is what his life is and that’s okay. This felt like another pretty widely understood premise and theme that can be easily relatable. So often people feel ashamed or trapped by things that give them comfort or joy in life and fight against it, when maybe what they’re doing and who they are isn’t so bad and tragic after all.

7. The Legend of Donny Brass:

This is one of our favorites as far as lyrical content because it’s a bit “inside baseball” so to speak. This character of Donny Brass is an alter-ego of my cousin and this song displays the exploits and shenanigans of that man. There have been many nights of debauchery and chaos involving Donny Brass and this song only touches the very tip of the iceberg in terms of the tales that can be told on his behalf about all his adventures. Drinking, gambling and fighting is the name of the game when it comes to Donny Brass, so you had better listen up and look out! 

8. Into the Narrow:

Here is a song about indoctrination and using an otherwise “good” idea for ill-intent. Organized groups, religions, corporations etc., regardless of the specific institution, the story has repeated itself since the dawn of time. Twisting phrases and warping minds of devotees and setting those followers out to spread the message and put down any others that say anything against their “beliefs”. The creators of these institutions rarely face blame, but instead those that act on their behalf see sever consequences and have their lives upended, ruining the lives of those around them in the process. The “narrow” is the mindset that so many of these devout have and any deviation from that is seen as insane. Much of this type of thing is seen in today’s politics, where those in power can spew whatever nonsense they want, and the people act on those words and no one sees repercussions for the devastation that follows.

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