Track By Tracks: Vesuvian - Emergence (2023)

A quick intro: This album is the first full chapter in our ongoing story, taking place directly after the events of the EP Devotion to infinity, which acts as the prologue. This chapter follows the denizens of the SS Vesuvius (aka Vesuvians), who has been cast to sea in an effort to escape the otherworldly plague known as the great infection, all told through the perspective of “The Witness.” While the story is built on our fantastical worlds, it has its personal moments, built on the experiences of our band members!

1. Emergence:

In this song, The Witness wakes up, seeing the world in a new way. Suddenly, the world feels devoid of color, the people are beaten down, and their spirits are broken. This knowledge leaves them wanting more out of life, for themselves and for those around them. We don’t want to claim that there is a singular, “true” meaning to the song, as every listener has a unique experience with the music, but for us, this song is about overcoming loss and building back from near-extinction.

2. Seas of Gray:

This track expands on how The Witness sees the people surrounding them following Emergence. They are completely drained of all life, emotionlessly following their daily routines on the ship. Their skin has hardened and faded to a dull gray from the difficult life aboard the ship and exposure to the cold ocean air. some with untreated wounds and scars that they seem eerily unaware of. they are hollow shells of the people they once were, much like the infected they are attempting to escape.

When writing this song, focusing on the theme of living with depression in an unforgiving world.

3. Grief Drinkers:

The Grief Drinkers, aristocrats from the top deck of the ship, enjoy lavish comforts and watch on as the commoners toil throughout the day. They have grown a taste for finer things, some reaching the point where only the most perverse of lifestyles satisfy them. No one from the lower decks has ever directly interacted with them and lived to tell the tale. Are they truly just lazy aristocrats who have inherited the leadership, or is there something more hiding beneath the surface?

Musically this is the most brutal song we have on the album. This song covers an array of extreme emotions: anger against both those obsessed with power and those who prey on the weaker; hopelessness as if something has cast a shadow over your life that beats you down; the twisted desire to make your life miserable just to taste the delicious grief you inflict upon yourself.

4. Sunless Dreams:

At night, the Witness follows a group of the Vesuvian to the lower deck to discover violence and debauchery the likes of which they had never seen. Free from the gaze of the Grief Drinkers, these crew members commit the most primal acts of lust and the most grotesque acts of violence. At first, overwhelmed by it all, they realize that the heathenistic acts below deck allow these people to feel something, despite the crew's desensitization to life. The group starts to see the spark of something more than they hadn’t seen in the light of day. They want to experience something, anything, to feel alive. While these acts are little more than primal instinct, they could be a building block, the chance to reclaim feeling in life. Afterward, they notice a flash of red among the gray, someone in here was different, were they like them? Only time would tell.

Musically, we really experimented with our sound. There is a lot of what makes vesuvian in this song, but we played a lot with structure and melody and pushed our comfort levels. Lyrically this was written from a very low point in one of our lives, where we felt we had no control over anything in our lives save for lashing out as if drinking booze, doing drugs, or even starting a fight was the only way to feel alive again.

5. Architects of Ruin I: Indoctrinate:

The Architects of Ruin series acts as a prequel. There will be one episode of the series on the 5th track of every album, telling the backstory of the world. Within the world of the albums, this history is being projected into The Witness's mind, slowly coming to him in pieces, just as it does for the listener. This song is a tale of the world as it was before the fall, a world devoid of religion, a world, and a society built on science which advanced tech exponentially faster. While there were no religions, corporatism had become a cult, with near-godlike reverence for it. The Witness does not yet understand what came from this, only that it was instrumental in what led to life as he knows it.

Musically, we wanted to blend our most melodic moments and our heaviest. From the soaring chorus to the heavy breakdown, we wanted to have the full range of our sound on display. Lyrically, it is from the perspective of someone being brought into a cult, seeing the glamor and lifestyle it projects, and only beginning to see the harsh reality of it after it is too late.

6. On Cursed Sands:

This is one of the action points of the album. While the Vesuvians can make on the ship, they cannot make everything. So every few months, when supplies are low, they launch a mission to the land. This serves a double purpose; if those selected for the mission are successful, the ship is replenished with supplies, and if they don’t, there are that many fewer mouths to feed. The Witness is chosen for this mission and is sent to the small craft they will take to the island with their team, consisting of him, his commander, and two other people, one of which was the one with the flash of red from the other night. The mission is simple: move up the beach to an old Archangel Corp stash, grab supplies, and return without getting infected. The four heroes hit the beach and make their way toward the ruined stash. As they move, they see a pack of infected too late and must fight to escape them. In the chaos, one of their own is taken and dragged away screaming to be saved. The scream causes enough of a distraction for the others to break away, and they split up, the Witness and the red crewmember to search together while he searches a different floor. In their search, the Witness and their companion walk into an old presentation room and are flashed with the history of the world and how it got to this point (This is the story told through the Architects of Ruin songs). With this knowledge, the pair seem to have unlocked some form of long-forgotten powers within them. They gather the supplies and ready their escape.

This was actually the first song written for the album. Musically, we were in the same mindset as we were for our EP Devotion, so this song has the old sound we described as “Brutal Power Metal.” Lyrically, this song touches on loss and the horrors of seeing someone die in front of you, yet still having to move forward if you want to survive.

7. For Those We Left Behind:

After the supplies are loaded into their truck, the trio hears the high screech of an infected, alerting its hoard to their presence. The trio arms themselves and get into the vehicle, narrowly avoiding the hoard as it encloses them. The witness and the red companion shoot desperately into the hoard, with occasional bolts of energy mysteriously shooting from their hands. As they reach the dock and load their craft, the last of the hoard catches them. They fight them off valiantly, but the commander was a bit in the process. Though the infection isn’t instant, they all knew he didn’t have long. With sorrow in their hearts and bravery in his, he helps them load onto the boat and pushes them away, smiling and giving them a wave as the shore slowly fades away.

Musically, we wanted to see here what it would sound like if Vesuvian wrote an old-school rock and roll song. We pulled back a lot of the orchestral and some of our melodic death metal riffing in exchange for hard rock riffs and big choruses, which we felt made a very fun song! Lyrically, this song was about the last conversation one of our members had with their grandfather before he passed away. This fun rock song was written with him in mind, knowing he wouldn’t want some sad sappy ballad, but rather a fun rock song, more of a celebration of our time together than being sad that it is over.

8. Writing Folktales:

The duo returns to the ship and receives a hero's welcome. For a day, the two are reprieved of their work duties and given a large cabin to themselves to rest. On this day, they go over all they had seen and talk of how they both want better for the people of the SS Vesuvius. They make a plan to rise against the Grief Drinkers, using the knowledge and power of slowly awakening within them to defy the rules, break the norms, and show the others what they have seen. Though before they can begin, the sound of something massive breaches the surface of the water. They look on in horror at the source of the sound, concluding their story for this album.

Musically, we wanted something at the opposite end of the spectrum from Grief Drinkers, really bringing the melody in melodic death metal out. Lyrically, we had the idea of becoming our best self, defying those who keep us down, and rising in spite of them. This is dedicated to dreams and those with the courage to follow them.

9. In The Gallows at The Edge of The World:

This song jumps backward in time, covering humanity’s last days on dry land as they attempt to escape infected. People are left on land, helpless as they watch the boats leave the port and know they are out of time. Those who made it look back on the lost land, wrought with guilt.

This was the second song that we wrote for the album as we moved away from our old Devotion sound. It’s an absolute mammoth of a song, and we knew right away it had to be the closer for the album. It has everything that Vesuvian is about on display: crazy fast riffing, gentle symphonic moments, and a catchy chorus! Lyrically, this one is very personal to our singer and a very vulnerable song to him. It started as a song about the last day he spent with his mother before she passed. As the album process continued, the song took on more meaning. Before the song could see the light of day, four others that were there in the room with him on that final day did not survive to hear it. The song is about his journey through massive loss. Whenever it is played live he uses it as a reminder; time with your loved ones is short, never take it for granted.

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