Track By Tracks: Intentional Trainwreck - Smokestack Of Souls (2021)

1. Basilisk’s Gaze:

This one is a bit more of a lighthearted track focused on playing D&D. It was one of the earliest adventures I played with my current DM, where I played a lizard folk druid that was hunting basilisks. A basilisk, in this game, is a monster whose eyes can turn you into stone if you look into them for too long, like Medusa! There are a couple of other various incidents that have happened at other games that I worked into the chorus too. At one particular game, someone rolled a twenty-sided die, a regular occurrence in the game, and rolled a 20 which is considered the best roll. Immediately after the die stopped rolling, I guess the chair just felt like giving up that day and the whole thing just completely split apart from underneath him! He felt like it was the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to him in his entire life but for me I just couldn’t stop laughing! I thought it would be fun to include that in the song.

2. That Awful Feeling:

This is a song about descending into absolute madness, when you feel you’ve lost so much that you lose your very self. It’s about your soul being on fire in eternal hell.

3. Charismatic Agenda:

 A song about powerful people making promises they never intended to keep as a way of earning trust and more power, and abusing it at every step of the way, and hurting countless numbers of people with their endless greed.

4. Phaedrus:

This is a song that was inspired after reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig. I was inspired to try to dissect what I thought made a song interesting, what made it good, what made it quality so to speak, and how to precisely define that.

5. Baby Sheep Ain’t Got No Teeth:

The sheep are the young people in America’s college’s being sold the idea that going into an endless amount of student debt will ensure them some kind of living or future instead of it being a system to grind them into pieces and turn them into wage slaves for the rest of their lives. I’m not saying there aren’t merits to college at all, and for many careers it’s absolutely necessary, but is it necessary for every person? And if it is, then why the fuck aren’t we just paying for it? You need this thing to get ahead but fuck you and good luck getting it if you don’t have money! Brutal.

6. Hangman (ft. Richard David):

Richard David loosely based this off the poem of the same name by Maurice Ogden. The poem is usually cited as an indictment of those who stand idly by while others commit grave evil or injustice, such as during the Holocaust. The story it tells is very similar to that of the famous statement First they came... that has been attributed to the anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller as early as 1946.

7. Clocks of Doom:

This was originally a song written by Chuck Cook and me while in prog-metal’s System Surreal many years ago in Knoxville, TN USA. For Smokestack of Souls, I resurrected and revamped the drum parts, recorded them in full and then presented them to Pete. Pete only heard the original version once and was then asked to record all of the guitars and vocals...and bass however he wanted. He did a great job and that’s a good thing because, as a drummer I envision complete and melodic songs based solely on drum arrangements, and there’s more of those on the way!

8. Kamikaze Tom:

This song is about someone in my life that decided to end his in one of the most awful ways I have ever seen a human being treat themselves. I still miss him. RIP Tom.

9. Family and Friends:

This is a song about dealing with folks that have been family or friends when you just don’t want to, when you’re going through particularly challenging times, when you’re trying to decide if it’s time to try harder or just let go.

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