MM: A few of the songs on the album have a biblical, though not evangelistic or proselytizing, theme running through them. I am speaking of “Giants of Canaan”, “Washed in Blood”, and “Trapped in Black” in particular, though others may be cited, whether intentionally or no. In “Giants of Canaan” you deal with the Nephilim, whereas “Washed in Blood”, I presume, takes on the perspective of Moses, or Jesus himself, and lastly, “Trapped in Black”, perhaps less overtly, deals with the soul:
Though I’m made of flesh and bone I know that my soul won’t be left alone
Born into this life alone what place will be my spirit’s final home?
Now I hear the darkness calling
It won’t leave my soul alone!
I know that religion, as with politics, is a pretty dubious topic to bring up due to the tensions that arise from people on opposite ends of the spectrum, but since it is relevant to the album, I think it is fair to discuss its usage. Would you, if you don’t mind, talk about your usage of biblical themes on the new recording and how they integrate with the subject matter of your other lyrics?
BL: Actually, “Washed in Blood” was written about Jesus Christ in his moment of doubt in Gethsemane…at this point he knew he was to die, and he is asking God the Father to “let this cup pass from me”. So this song is my interpretation of Jesus’ conversation with God the Father. I wanted to point out the fact that Christ was as much a human as he was God the son of man. Being human, he had his doubts. Remember: he was about to take on all the sins of mankind. Through his blood, we would all be washed clean. Ultimately, he accepted his father’s wish, and died on the cross. Imagine how heavy a burden this was on Christ!
In “Trapped in Black”, I’m drawing on ideas I got from Edgar Alan Poe’s “The Premature Burial”, as well as my feelings on the everlasting soul. The human soul supposedly weighs 21 grams. There was an experiment performed in 1907 by Dr. Duncan MacDougall where he had taken six people who were terminally ill and dying and placed each one separately on a contraption that was actually a very sensitive scale. They were then closely monitored, and at the time of their passing, their bodies each weighed 21 grams less than when they were alive. I found this very freaky. I already believed in life after death, and have heard many stories of near death experiences, and I have no doubt that we all continue to exist after we leave this mortal coil.
What is the soul? Where does it go when we die? Does that depend on how we lived our lives? So this idea plus the extremely frightening idea that a person could be buried alive and wake up in a coffin six feet below the ground were my inspiration for “Trapped in Black”.
MM: Aside from being a great album closer in general, I find “Glen of the Ghost” to be one of the more appealing songs on “Giants of Canaan”, not the least of which because I find the subject matter to be interesting and melded well into lyric.
The concept stems from archaic Irish folk myths, particularly that of the glenafooka, of which a documentary was made examining the persistence of such beliefs and traditions in modern Ireland. What attracted you to this particular tale? Did you know beforehand that this would be the song to close the album, or was that decided later?
BL: Oh yes—we all agreed this song would close the record. And as soon as I heard the music I knew I wanted to write a song based on Celtic mythology. I had seen “Glenafooka” last year. It’s a really great documentary. Seeing these people talk about their legends and how dear they are to them really touched me. The legend of the banshee in particular interested me. The whole idea that you would hear a cry in the night, or catch a glimpse of a ghostly woman in white or grey crying just prior to the death of a loved one really creeped me out. I imagined myself coming to grips with the fact that I may be dying and walking to meet this woman in white in the woods, and taking her hand realizing she was there to take me ‘home’. I wanted the song to have an ethereal quality to it.
MM: Attacker recently played its first show in years in Clifton. I understand the venue saw one of its largest crowds in years to usher in the band’s return to the live circuit. What was the first show with the band like? How long had it been since you had the opportunity to front an original band on stage? Did it go smoothly? What was the set list like, and how was the new material received? I’m sure the crowd was quite energetic.
BL: The show was incredible. I was very nervous, as I hadn’t been onstage with an original band in 6 years. When you’re doing a live show, you have to be prepared for anything. You know, Murphy’s Law—what can go wrong will go wrong. But I’m happy to say that it went great. We were lucky to have Lou Ciarlo, Attacker’s original bassist and great friend, as our stage manager. He did a fantastic job. As did our soundman, who has been with Attacker for quite a while from what I understand. Our setlist consisted of mostly early material. We played a 16-song set. Only four of those songs were from “Giants of Canaan” since it had yet to be released. We opened the show with the intro “As They Descend” that Jon and Mikey had come up with. Then we busted into “Giants of Canaan” and right away the heads were bobbing and people were smiling and showing us the horns! I knew it was going to be all good.
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