If you know me at all, you’ll know how much I adore The Gloom In The Corner‘s song “War”. The 4:50 piece of music nestled in the centre of the Melbourne band’s Homecoming EP seemed to somehow pull together every musical feature that I find endearing into one brilliant song. Despite knowing nothing at all about The Gloom In The Corner’s conceptual world at the time, “War” was the song that drew me into it.
From beginning to end, “War” rips the listener into a front row perspective of post-war PTSD, haunted by memories, “neverending flashbacks“, and the subsequent destruction of home life with attempts to return to normalcy. It’s best summed up by the lyric “Though my tour is ended, the sound continues and the sound of war is endless”.
As is the norm with The Gloom In The Corner songs, “War” isn’t a standalone piece. It’s part of the ongoing narrative that the story-driven heavy band have created, gradually sharing insight into characters, connections, motivations, and challenges. It is character Ethan Hardy who was at war, who mistakenly killed a child, who lost his wife and unborn child, and who sacrificed his own tortured life (see “Witch Hunt”) to help his brother recover from a supernatural disease.
That’s a very surface level take on a very involved story, but hopefully enough to have the uninitiated understand The Gloom In The Corner’s most recently released single “Peace”; the sequel to “War”. “Peace” takes us to Ethan’s funeral, and is from the perspective of Sherlock Bones (who we ‘met’ in previous singles “Villain”, “Misanthropic”, and “Survivor’s Guilt”). As well as linked by story, “War” and “Peace” are linked lyrically and sonically, which is a bonus treat for “War” lovers.
“Peace”‘s gentle and sombre introduction under rain sets the scene for the funeral. Soon enough we’re swept into the choppy waves of introspection, created instrumentally and lyrically, like swaying to the sobering nausea of reality. There’s been a loss and that fact is hitting Sherlock hard. There’s a swing between raw horror and softer concern of what could have been done differently, reflected by Mikey Arthur’s vocals moving between the two states of expression. A vibrant synthy melody accompanies an open letter style of well wishing. The fact this care is obviously coming far too late adds to “Peace”‘s emotional thumping.
“I hope today that you’re finally at peace”
With the clever stage-setting introduction of “And while you had suffering, I was left with loathe“, “Peace” includes a feature from Loathe‘s vocalist Kadeem France. I take Kadeem’s feature to be a response from Ethan, and it’s fittingly roaringly uneasy and uncomfortable in the “forever unending” darkness as he calls to be heard. The question of “What did you do to help me while I was alive?” hits home, where Ethan seemed to have self-destructed in plain sight. A morbid mantra of “Live. Serve. Die.” is punched home, feeling like defeat to a system they have no power to change (“That’s all we know”).
“Peace” is most brutally emotionally impactful as it ties into the “I walk across a sea of flames” lyric from “War”, but is said in the third person perspective. Ouch. The stillness and sadness of this section just bleeds regret and self-blame. It’s thoroughly well done by the band as a whole in setting a graveside scene and a mood of finality. What Ethan went through is finally noticed and understood, despite it being too late for him – on this earthly plane, anyway. All that’s left to do is wish for peace for the tortured soul who gave up everything. So yep, this hits hard.
As someone who adores “War”, I can confirm that “Peace” is an impressive sonic sibling to the track. It finds strong links, while also existing in a very different atmosphere and having its own identity. It’s yet another well done track by The Gloom In The Corner.
Get excited for Flesh & Bones EP which releases next week and can be pre-ordered here: https://linktr.ee/thegloominthecornvr/