Medusa – The tale of man who has seen it all – walked through hell and back only to discover his world is being torched by the dark side of nature. We had it coming – there is no doubt. Only in this man’s case, he has immunity. As the dark one turns all men to stone, he walks right toward her – unafraid, but hallow – he is unaffected by her horror as his heart already has been turned to stone long ago – so much so that he dares to look deep in her eyes, face-to-face – and embrace her – unaffected. Thus, they join in a union – will there be redemption? No one knows – I hope so…
21 Grams (432 Hz)’ is a song inspired by a study published in 1907 which hypothesized that souls have physical weight. A close friend of mine in Hollywood is working on a new movie with this concept as part of the foundation of the story. He asked me if I was interested in writing a theme related to the idea, and I was all over it. When I asked what he was looking for in the music, he said to think of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Haunted North style – no rules – a constant crescendo – ending dramatically/violently…right up my ally.
A friend of mine passed away before the project started, and it was then that the lyrics formed up pretty fast. With her, it was all about her independence. After a long battle with dependencies and bad relationships, she finally got herself to a place where she was content, but the work involved in getting there allowed her no time to enjoy it. We spoke about a month before her passing, and she had made peace with the tradeoff. I was perplexed by this because her work schedule was so brutal. I am convinced that unhealthy practices, along with her insane work schedule, had a hand in her death.
Too many people simply get up, work, eat, and go back to sleep, thinking of nothing but the next paycheck. This is a trap that negates the enjoyment of life. Freedom from this trap comes in the awareness of our mortality.
Marty (Rubin) and I decided to jump on a boat and head over to Vancouver Island, where Sean was visiting friends. After the hotel manager came by and politely told us to “turn it down,” we had the basic arrangement. The song was recorded in 432 Hz frequency and is the first single from The Haunted North’s new album “Songs of the Dead”.
In the middle of July 2016, I rode my Indian Chief Classic through the Mojave Desert from Barstow, California, to Kingman, Arizona, starting at 1 in the afternoon, the middle of the day in the middle of summer. My motorcycle thermometer maxed out at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and it was reported the surface temperature of the road was over 140. I had blisters on my fingers which were facing the road, not the sun.
During the ride, the sun was beating down on me, and the full moon was visible in front of me. The more brutal the heat became, the more I just wanted to stop and sleep. That was a bad idea, death for certain, and I knew it. I started singing to myself. I was in a true present – a place where all of us should be but rarely get to. A couple of people asked me about the opening line, “White lines run through me.” One friend asked, “Dude, are you doing blow?” Not a chance, and I have zero desire for it. The opening line is a reference to the white lines of the road.
As the heat intensified, everything started blending - the sun’s reflection off my gas tank, the moon in front of me, and the endless charred dessert.
The white lines of the road passed through my body as I started a deep introspection of where I was at in the world. At that point in my life, I was in purgatory, and I began addressing the core of my beliefs.
The heat had me spinning deep into myself. A friend had died on that very stretch of highway, and I thought death could happen anywhere at any time. The way I was feeling at that moment (onset of heat exhaustion), I felt now was as good a time as any. That little thought had an aftershock akin to being slapped in the face.
Inside the sleepiness, hallucinations, and burning from the blast furnace I was in, it occurred to me that I wanted to feel things again. I looked to the silvery moon, shimmering in the desert heat, and summoned an angel – in my world, a Valkyrie.
Then I arrived at my destination. A few days later, I headed north from Las Vegas in the same brutal Mojave heat, but this time I was not alone. There was a Valkyrie watching over me throughout the entire day. I could feel her all around me. Though the ride was almost as brutal, this time, it was enjoyable.
The second verse of the song came later that night, sitting in a graveyard across the street from the hotel I was staying at. Relishing the cool night air, I never wanted that presence to leave me. The song is a poem – a slice of time under both the sun and moon of the Mojave Desert – a point of being honest with one’s self.
DON'T WAIT FOR FATE
The song ‘Don’t Wait for Fate’ reflects frustration with daily life. It is a response to the soul’s understanding that technology is not always a good thing. What do we trade for our ‘comforts’? Do we trade strength, independence, and the worst sacrifice of all…our time?
The daily grind of work and routine creates an empty void to which the soul feels threatened. This is a feeling that is impossible to explain adequately with words, but it is a longing, an innate understanding of entrapment, and a kind of dying. Likewise, the answer to ‘break free’ can be blurred; the longer the deprivation continues.
It is one’s true self, screaming in the mirror that time keeps rolling. To live in the past, good or bad, is a continuation of the trap of not living. There is another subtle message regarding ‘playing it safe’ - the expense of sacrificing the potential joy of the soul’s journey.
And yet, within one’s past may be the wanderlust of one’s youth and the need to seriously examine this phenomenon concerning the present. Age yields up the necessary counterpart of temperance to go with the desire to ‘live’. The combination of the two can lead to a challenging new life and revitalization of the soul’s purpose.
I never wait for anything. The way my father died was both a curse and a blessing. Even at 16-years-old, I understood the lesson. If you are not paying attention, life is over in the blink of an eye. The ‘perception’ of time slows down only if you are honoring the soul. There is no road map for this. Each individual must reflect upon their current place in the world; Is this what I should be doing? Am I satisfied with my life? Where does my passion lie? Am I honoring my passion?
No one waits for ‘fate’. You certainly can take that position, but for me and the position of my ancestors, you either run towards your fate, or you don’t believe in fate at all and run where your soul leads you. Waiting is a temporary strategy you engage in for a battle, not for your life’s journey.
HOW WILL YOU DIE
“How Will You Die” is perhaps the most self-explanatory song on the whole album. The meaning was born out of my attitude towards fighting any battle in life where the odds are not in my favor. It does not mean that I am not afraid. Instead, it is more like a last act of defiance – right to the bitter F’N end as they say.
Perhaps this song has something to do with my Norse DNA; I’m not sure. In any case, there are moments in life – guaranteed – where you will be faced with a conflict of which a loss is imminent. Every journey in this world will take us to an inevitable conclusion. I believe how we face that gate is just as important as how we face our life.
Life’s battles are rarely those of a physical nature. Usually, it about heartache, depression, staying ahead or staying in the right frame of mind. Sometimes it is a physical fight to stay alive, or even warfare if you are a military man or woman. In any case, some challenges can potentially be final. How we stare that enemy in the eye at the moment of truth means a great deal to me. The song is hard, but the intent truly is a matter of integrity.
When faced with a gloating, ignorant, and overwhelming enemy, with no possible strategic retreat, meet that enemy head-on with resolve and focused defiance. Go for the smug leader who is celebrating a little too soon. Focus that rage and embrace the line, “Take as many with you, shall be the only creed that you scream”! Your intent will take you forward and, with any luck, some unfortunate enemy may make the journey with you. You’ll have company. Who knows – maybe you’ll share a drink in Valhalla if they are worthy.
In the end, most people don’t know what they will face in the final second, but the battles in life are as sure as the setting sun. Meet the challenge standing up – on your feet!
WITHOUT A DAWN
I was driving across the State of Washington in the Spring of 2017, and decided to call my dear friend in Florida to firm up my plans for the summer. We hadn’t seen each other in over 30 years. She was my middle school love – my first love. It didn’t pan for us and was probably just as well. We were both incredibly willful and stubborn, and in our youth, we were totally out of control, just wild. Any serious relationship between the two of us back then would have been a disaster. In retrospect, growing up in Burlington, Iowa, in the appalling conditions of my home, her asking me to stay would have given me two years at best. Death was coming, and I didn’t want to be around when it came knocking. We had our moment a few years later, and it was grand, but we were on separate paths, and we both knew it wasn’t meant to be.
Throughout the years, we stayed close friends but never had the opportunity to see each other again. She got married and had kids. I was married and divorced twice with a beautiful daughter. We stayed in touch. In December of 2016, I made plans for an epic 5,000 journey on my Indian. When I travel like this, I usually hit the town we grew up in. My parents are buried there, and I have a couple of dear friends there. Her parents still lived in Burlington, and we discovered that we would be in our old hometown at the same time. I was excited to see her after all these years. We made plans to have lunch – two old friends getting together over lunch and reminiscing about our wild pasts.
So, back to my drive. I had pulled off at a rest area on my way to Spokane. I will never forget this. I picked up my phone, brought up her number to call, and realized she was no longer here. She passed away back in February at her Florida home. I was just sitting there frozen, holding my phone. I had already grieved, yet I was still making the big trip, right in the middle of writing sessions with Sean for the debut album, and had forgotten entirely.
A close friend told me that she was returned to Burlington and buried in a cemetery very close to where she grew up, very close to the school where we met. The first line of the song was born at that moment. By the time I got to Spokane, the lyrics were done. Sean did a fantastic job finding the right music, and I even had a hand in the chorus melody. All of it came straight from the heart. I did go to her grave at the appointed time of our lunch. It was a bright, beautiful summer day. I had two white roses – one stayed there, and the other traveled with me.
“Rise” is quite relevant right now. They are lyrics I wrote many years ago under a different title. It is what’s happening in the world right now. You have a bunch of technocrats and oligarchs who think they know what’s best for everyone, and that no one outside of their elite circle is capable of thinking for themselves. The bourgeois and poor do have thinking people that are getting increasingly pissed over the arrogance of the ruling class.
Rise is that moment in time, much like the French Revolution, where the people become aware of the hypocrisy, and madness takes over in the form of reckoning. This reckoning is much like the mythical lycanthrope, killing whatever crosses its path, but always knowing the enemy, that which is devoid of spirit.
Rise is the primal anger, the moment when you understand the con, and the moment you see them for what they are, the ultimate hypocrites, true evil. Rise is the moment in time when the suppression becomes so unbearable that an animal bloodlust is inevitable. The two symbols I associate with this song are the guillotine and the werewolf.
It is the elite and the old clergy that have stolen from everyone, killed untold millions, sanctioned genocide, and continue raping the planet over and over to this very day. These same soulless beings see the rest of humanity as mindless batteries for culling. Worst of all, they parade themselves as the ones with the solution to the problems they created. Once this perception is fully understood and realized, a natural state of severe anger comes from deep within the human psyche. That is where “Rise” comes from.
Singer Randy V was cutting his vocals at Bass-Mint Studios in New Jersey when THN co-producer and bassist John 'JD' DeServio told him the lyrics were out-of-place within the context of the whole album. The entire band (including Randy) agreed. The following morning Randy wrote the title track 'Monster', which he describes as a life-long battle with codependency, born out of growing up in an appalling alcoholic environment. Regarding the lyrics, Randy states, "Sometimes the issue is not the addiction you were subjected to, but rather the unconscious need to be validated through hedonism and debauchery. It's a losing battle trying to fill an endless void right through the center of your being. That's what the monster is, blind, never-ending hunger, either trying to feel alive and known, or completely annihilated. There is no in between. The battle is fought with vigilance, everyday. It creeps up on you when you're not watching and destroys the people who actually love you. It's a beast to be reckoned with."