Ever wanted to set the world on fire?
So I started a new album project, but instead of spending several years in silence hoping the album will be done one day, I decided to break it up into parts, so here’s part one of three. Where Towers was about the origins of the world these characters live in, this project is about the characters themselves and how they developed into what they are today, so of course we’re starting with Kerosyn.
Kerosyn’s character development kind of started and finished during the events of Towers, so these songs are something of a retelling of those events, but directly from their perspective as they happened, rather than from what they told the Storyteller. While they may seem like a playful, childlike, happy-go-lucky kind of person, there’s a lot more going on in that funny little head than even Kerosyn knows about themselves. These songs express how Kerosyn felt about what had to be done. Close your eyes when you listen and put yourself in their place, what do you feel?
Here’s the little story that comes with the download on Bandcamp.
It is a tale as old as time itself. Power will always corrupt the hearts of those who wield it, and those who crave it will be led to commit terrible acts. Inevitably, there will always be rebellion against such tyrants, but that act in itself will always bring more senseless grief and suffering before liberation. Only a fool would shoulder such burdens for the sake of others. These are simple facts of life. Some call it justice – others, abhorrent. And yet, the cycle continues undeterred. The very foundation of our existence is built upon this cycle, as the very dawn of our era began with a tower of wrath. As one man amassed such power to rule all the land, another man would stand against him with bloodied hands and the weight of the world on his shoulders. In his quest to tear down this tower of wrath, he would also tear down all who stood in his way at any cost. What precious few supporters he had would also become victims of the struggle. As their journeys came to their conclusions and the tyrant was thrown down, the tower still stood tall, its walls painted red and its light extinguished, gazing at the sea of flames and destruction left in the wake of the fool.
After every great tragedy, a reformation must follow. Such a task requires great power in itself, which must be passed on to those who emerged victorious. The fool, having trained his strength by carrying the world through the fire, carries on. He, and those like him, invariably find that the task of rebuilding is far more difficult than that of tearing down, but he carries on. Such great responsibility brings with it countless difficult decisions, terrible sights, and unavoidable failures, but he carries on. Soon enough, the fool finds himself in the same position as the tyrant, atop the tower with a crown of chains on his head, but he carries on. Through the darkest of times, he carries on until the world is restored or someone may take his place just as he took it from the tyrant preceding him, and the cycle would continue, but something had changed. He looked around him and grew tired of his position of so-called power, repulsed by the suffering brought from the lingering wake of the tyrant and his tower. The fool took advantage of his position to destroy the crown of chains, declaring that the succession of this incontestable power ends with him.
With his great declaration sending the world into turmoil once more, for a fleeting moment, the cycle was broken. One fleeting moment of freedom. But there is no way to escape the cycle, a circle always returns to its origin, even in the case of the occasional tangent or anomaly. The fool knew his words held no weight, but was still faced with the most difficult decision he had ever faced; To bring about ruination, the end of an era. To choose a mere handful of people to survive. To assign and compare value to the lives of all, and use them as pawns in a broken game. All under the false pretense of salvation. But the fool carried on. His knights were sent to gather the pawns, and as he took his place atop the tower for the final time, the world was consumed by his flames of sorrow and the tower was destroyed once and for all. As the fool carried his pawns over into the dawn of a new era, he shed the weight of the world. While the cycle would not come to a final end, it would be another era before it grew to such power again. And the fool would bear witness to it all, watching the world burn over and over again, waiting to see the world grow fireproof skin.
Now I’m going to do something I haven’t yet done on this web zone and give you some behind the scenes about the making of this release. I probably won’t do this every time though. The first fun fact about these songs is that they were actually all made for completely different reasons, in completely different moods, at completely different times, so they really have nothing connecting them at all from a technical standpoint. The only thing tying them together is the emotions behind them, because for these three songs, it was all purely emotion driven. I had no plan, no goal, they just came out how they came out, and I think that’s beautifully fitting for Kerosyn’s character, because that’s how Kerosyn lives.
Tower of Wrath is the oldest song here by a big margin, and was originally made for a compilation album project that dropped the ball and never materialized. I remember sitting down one day, starting a new project, and not getting up until the song was done in that same day. I don’t remember what I was so angry about, but I was absolutely fuming about something, and listening to the song still makes me feel the same way I did that day. Considering the original fate of the song, I’d say its mood aged quite well and fits its new purpose much better.
Crown of Chains is something I’m really proud of. I’ve expressed in the past that I think it’s a mistake to call something your best work, but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s true this time. When I was making this track, I was in a horrible mood, really down in the dumps, but something sparked and I suddenly felt compelled to make the best song I possibly could. One that not only stood above my other work on a technical level, but one that also expressed a feeling more clearly than I’d accomplished before. I remember being on the verge of tears once around the midpoint of production because I was fighting back feelings of being a failure and just pushing forward as hard as I could. Listening to this song today brings me back to the same place. This song wasn’t even intended for anything in particular, I was just making it for the sake of creating something. All of that comes together perfectly to represent this part of Kerosyn’s story.
Flames of Sorrow was an experiment. I wanted to do something different and push further into metal than I had before, and to play with time signatures more. I still don’t know if the experiment paid off, because by the time the song was almost finished, I ended up spending over a week making endless tiny tweaks to the mix and I just couldn’t get it to sound right, so I slapped on a lazy intro and ending and threw together a fill made of pure anger and spite and called the song done. I still don’t like how the mix came out… but after I finished it, I let it sit for weeks without listening to it. When I came back to it, I felt my stomach twist as I finally realized what I was feeling during the making of the track. At that time, life was a blur because I was surrounded entirely by extreme stress and a lot of sadness, so I shut myself out from a lot of things and tried to drown the noise with this, which led to my frustration when I couldn’t get it to sound right at the end. This is the most emotional song I’ve ever created, and I hope that shines through its unpolished sound.
Finally, let’s talk about the artwork. In all the other depictions of Kerosyn so far, there’s been something left to be desired. Both in the original picture from Rain and in mogy’s work, it looks too… physical. Solid. Corporeal. Kerosyn is supposed to be literally made of fire though, and I think Starr just about nailed that, making this my favorite depiction of the strange fox child so far, even if the forehead brand isn’t visible here. Kerosyn being so small that the throne and even the crown are far too big to fit is also perfect, considering how small Kerosyn really is. There’s also the obvious things, being that the literal tower of wrath, crown of chains, and flames of sorrow are all visible in the artwork, but here’s a fun secret fact: The sky in the background is actually an untouched, color accurate photo I took of the actual sky in my neighborhood during the Oregon wildfires. We almost put the actual trees from the photo in too, but couldn’t quite get them to fit, so the trees are painted. And I put the brand in the sky too, that wasn’t real… probably.
All in all, I’m glad to have this out there, and I’m very glad to be expanding on my worldbuilding publicly again. There’s still so much you don’t know, but it will come in time. Thanks for being patient with me. Huge shoutouts to Starr again for being amazing, Tripulse for being the realest family, and this guy right here for being the SUPER realest of them all.