Track By Tracks: Gnarwhal - Altered States (2024)

About the album as a whole (LYRICALLY & MUSICALLY):

Benji: Musically the EP as a whole is really inspired by the music I was listening to at the time of writing each song. I have a basis for what I want a Gnarwhal song to sound like, then draw in aspects from the influences that are in my life at the time. There also needs to be a cohesive flow or feeling to the EP which in this case, musically, is a bit darker and heavier than our last release.

Mark: There seems to be a common thread to most of the lyrics on the album and I feel listeners will be able to relate their own experiences to the songs. I know what these songs mean to me and try to steer toward authentic emotions to accompany the instruments.

The songs on the album portray a sense of resilience and a fight against the complexities of our own thoughts and emotions. No matter how much the characters in the songs endure, you can still feel a sense of hope and resilience. 



Benji: Tides came along from the main riff that had been spinning around in my head for quite some time and a vocal melody that I could also hear over top of it. I really wanted to do something that was a bit of a departure vocally and was really into melodies that Stephen Brooks (singer of Torche) writes and performs. I also like the vocal range space he sits in.

The chorus lead takes some inspiration from Russian Circles and once that came together we had a pretty solid track. Lyrically, I just looked in my notebook full of lyrics and picked some doomy stuff that portrays a dark feeling of missing out on things past and being trapped in an apocalyptic feeling. 

2. The War/Nothing More:

Benji: This is actually two songs that I wrote at completely different times that we thought would work well stitched together. I wrote The War shortly after we finished recording our first album. At that same time, I was writing music for my Hughes project EP so lyrically and thematically it fit right in line with that. Once I finished it, I actually released it as an acoustic solo version on the EP, Here I Am.
The Nothing More demo was written shortly after and musically it was inspired by my classic post-hardcore/punk influences. I think Refused would be the main driver of the rhythm on this track.

Mark: In Nothing More, I am fond of the lyric: “Shed your skin to make it”. This part relates to putting in the work day in and day out, wanting something so bad you are willing to do anything just to grasp it. Pushing your own boundaries, knowing you put the time and effort into your vision.

“Whole again you can’t fake it”: Being authentic. To be whole this character has to believe in this process and be present in his delivery of the songs. 

3. From Her Hands:

Mark: Stones slipping from her hands, down to the ground like yesterday. Tides of hope for tomorrow are coming down to wash you away.

These lyrics come alive in the outro of this track. The stone slipping from her hands could symbolize so many things that we try to hold on to. What is meaningful to you and worth holding?

What are you willing to do to keep the stone from slipping away? A search for what you value comes to mind and the fight to protect what matters to you the most.

4. Altered States:

Mark: “Take what is left of me cause I’m the one you saved”

An appreciation for the difficult times, as much as it makes this character hurt, shapes them at the same time.

Wanting to belong, finding a purpose

Many of the traits we all share as human beings

“Gone are the Memories” represents an entire lifetime of experiences and wanting to hold on to these memories. All the relationships we create, trying to remember who we are, and fighting for this with everything we have.

Failed to see her memories - I love this lyric and it was written while listening to the tracks. This was one of the lines that kept coming back to me. I feel this line is relatable and it would be interesting to hear the stories out there that could stem from this lyric. You know, from the point of view of the listener. I know what it means to me and it is quite powerful, and I can't wait to share this life. 

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