I somehow stumbled across Melbourne nu-metal/metalcore band The Gloom In The Corner last night, falling in love with their track “War” from their Homecoming EP. This discovery was bittersweet, frustrated with not having experienced this brilliance before now (as well as missing their show on the 8th December).
“War” isn’t your average song. Even from the first listen this was apparent. “War” is an invitation to immerse in an experience with The Gloom In The Corner as our guide. For the 4:50 song length, my first listen of “War” was a breath-holding emotional experience just soaking it up. This is such a ‘wow’ song.
There seems to be a really deep mythology behind The Gloom In The Corner’s music, with their songs being extensions of stories created by vocalist Mikey Arthur (Alex Sievers (Kill Your Stereo) went deeper with this HERE if you’re curious to have a read). As a newcomer to the band, “War” was able to be appreciated without me having a full grasp on any backstory, as this epic sonic adventure expresses the experience of war-induced PTSD.
“I walk across the sea of flames”
“War” is sober and clean at its beginnings, feeling almost like brainwashed or robotic neutrality as it all begins. Fitting for the programming of soldiers for war. Raw, heart-in-the-throat intensity hits with the confronting grotesque reality of war being described vividly by the narrator we are following along with (“Dead bodies stacked ten feet high”).
The track’s powerful instrumental section that follows, leaving us soaking up the gravity of it all, with the soaring guitars reflecting that, gives a sense of uncertainty on how life goes on after experiencing this. It’s so brilliantly done I can hardly find the words, to be honest.
The second verse (if you can refer to it as such, this song truly is a story more than a song in terms of how the lyrics and song are structured) with dramatic/flamboyant guitar melodics captures the inner turmoil of a returned veteran; mentally attempting to process things that no one should ever see, while presenting a controlled exterior for the benefit of his loved ones.
It’s not sustainable though, to hold all this in, and with flashbacks and the fallout of coping mechanisms becoming more overwhelming and disruptive (“I never intended to hurt those I love in the same way I hurt those I was taught to hate”), the track escalates into heavier and deeper territory and we’re struck by layers of sound.
When the intensity momentarily abates (“Stop screaming my name”), we find ourselves present with a clean and calm section, eerily acknowledging the role of carrying “the souls of the slain”, with a normal life as a sacrifice. Everything has been lost, surrendered to the cause of war.
It’s gut-achingly emotional as the track continues (“Replace my life with the little boy’s I should have saved”), not to mention incredibly well done.
Quite potently, we lyrically circle around to “I walk across the sea of flames” as the track closes; establishing a link from beginning to end, where once the metaphor of flames were a challenge to endure as part of war, before life became more like a permanent fire-walk: An unrelenting experience of living torture, existing inside the cage of PTSD.
“War” hits squarely to the chest. The cruel and unending torture of war from all angles is expressed so powerfully and emotively here. This is a must listen.