Track By Tracks: Voluntary Mortification - Suffer To Rise (2022)

Hey, this is Conner, the vocalist from Voluntary Mortification. The composition of "Suffer To Rise" embraces the experimental evolution of our sound. While we wrote this album, we were discovering and embracing our own unique influences, musical aspirations, and how each of us, as an individual, would bring in our own contributions to the songs. The primary ambition in this album is "story-telling". Not only does the album, through its lyrics and themes, tell a story of a man (named Paul), but it also tells some of our stories as well. Each of us in the band relate to this protagonist and what he discusses in certain ways; our emotion comes out in the songs through the story we tell in "Suffer To Rise.”

1. Death Tremors:

Combined with the instrumental “Wages of Sin” that precedes it, Death Tremors is open to a story about Paul, who has just led a life of dissipation and sin, and due to God’s justice, is on the doorsteps of eternal damnation as he experiences near-death. Yet Paul is given a second chance at life, and seeing the destructive consequences of his action, emerges renewed and fired up to defend God and oppose evil.

2. Vindicator:

The next track picks up with Paul re-emerging as this renewed soldier for Christ. The lyrics feature our protagonist recapping what he’s experienced and how he plans to move forward in union with his “Vindicator” - God.

3. Valley of Slaughter:

Our song "Valley of Slaughter'' is about our protagonist Paul walking into the metaphorical Valley of Gehenna, taking people by the hand and pulling them out of the fire that binds them there. This has a deep connection to the ancient Jewish Valley of Gehenna (Valley of Slaughter) where people were burned and offered up in sacrifice to gods named Molech and Baal. The Jews eventually thought this place to be not only real but spiritually real: a place of purging after death. When Jesus came, He referred to the fiery pit of Hell where condemned angels and souls go as "Gehenna."

4. Silence:

"Silence" calls out the sins and scandals that we see in the Church, particularly the Catholic Church. The song lyrics came to me during the scandals of Cardinal McCarrick, who was a cardinal with a deep, disgusting history of abuse. At one point, and I will not name the particular bishop, said, and I paraphrase, "the evil one wants us to be gossiping and talking, what we need right now is silence." This set me off in a burning rage as one would suggest that "silence" would be the answer to the raging scandals that have occurred. That being said, the song targets this fictional bishop and calls out his heinous sins, and tells him that he would be better off with a millstone tied around his neck and tossed into the water (a wise man once said that about those who meddle with children). In the end, the Church will mend and return to its former glory without these corrupt men.

5. Democratic Society:

"Demoncratic Society" ventures into the realm of politics, or should I say against the realm of politics. We firmly believe that politics has become a false idol for many people and it is embraced essentially as a religion. Politicians are worshiped and people believe that they are really making a difference through their votes and policies. At the end of the day though, we continue to our jobs, we still pay our taxes, and things are never going to be the way we want it fully. We titled it "Demoncratic Society" because even as many would believe that democracy would bring us so much freedom, in the end, we just vote ourselves into oblivion anyway. We are broken men and women. There is only one king who we should follow.

6. The Cull:

We have a song called "The Cull", which is about the throwaway culture we live in, which includes even life itself. We believe eugenics is still an ongoing ideal that the elites in this world push and many people inadvertently support. They would see only the strongest and most worthy being blessed with a good life. There are so many people without food, water, or basic needs. Countless souls are starving to death, suffering from disease, mental illness, etc. Many souls don't even make it out of the womb, all while the elites in this world drive car that are so expensive, the cost could feed an entire village for years.

7. Abomination:

Abomination is the last song that targets a type of sin, and this is the sin of clairvoyance and mediumship which directly leads to possession, in the case of this song. The protagonist actually performs an exorcism in this song and calls out the demons into the fiery furnace with the Hand of God. We believe everyone is searching for answers and many people turn to psychics, tarot card readers, and astrology. We believe that these are all occult practices that go against protecting the divine mystery and reverence of God. After all, if it is not from Him, then it is from a demon.

8. Suffer to Rise:

The title track encapsulates one of the general themes of the album. We want to appeal to those in the metal scene that are suffering from addiction, abuse, and mental illness, you name it. We, in this band, each have our own stories and trials that we would share personally with our fans and some of them come out in the album, but there is one thing that gave us hope and the strength to battle our trials: Jesus Christ. We want people to know that if they are suffering, it is not because there is no God, or that God does not love them. In fact, it is the opposite: if you are suffering, it is because God loves you. And no this doesn't mean God is a sadist. What it means is that He loves you so much that through our sin and suffering that we chose (free will) and have been stained with, He sent His only Son to come down to save us: and how did He save us? He could have saved us in any way. The way He chose to save us though, was by suffering and dying with us. If you are suffering, He is with you. Embrace it. He is the potter and you are the clay. In your weakness, you are made strong. Use it and grow from it.

9. Into Your Hands:

This interlude represents our protagonist Paul’s actual death and his passing into the next life and serves as a contrast to the near-death experience and the direction he was going previously, as angel choirs can be heard as we lead into the final song.

9. Crush the Serpent’s Head:

The final track title is a reference to the final victory of Christ over the devil, as foretold by God himself in the Garden of Eden shortly after the fall of man to sin. Certain translations of Genesis 3:15 have God addressing the devil and saying his head will be crushed by the offspring of Eve. So the song doubles as both an encapsulation of Christ’s final victory over evil but also as our protagonist Paul’s victory, in Christ, over his own sinful ways of destruction.

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