8 is A Legacy of Unrest, the very first Rome song I ever heard.
Also my very favourite song, having been one of my most-listened to every year since the Out ov The Coffin podcast introduced it to me (that podcast also destroyed my previous computer with a virus, but I guess I forgive it).
Over the past few years, I’ve talked about the tone of the song, about the ambiguity of this “master” that the speaker addresses, about the sample of ¡A Las Barricadas! that comes in at the end…but I don’t think I’ve ever talked about the music of this song, so I guess we’ll do that this time around.
I really, really like the intro to this song. It’s probably one of the most menacing song openings that I can think of, and when you like Goth and metal type musics, you hear a lot of music that falls into horror tropes of opening a song with a scream or a creaky door…not very menacing, guys. Kind of campy, tbh…
And this one isn’t like that. It’s got a creepy tap-tap thing going on instead, which puts me in mind of bare branches clacking, or maybe even of insects…and then the base and drums fall in and, all together, those instruments don’t sound pleased.
Those three things carry through up until the end of the song, but at 2:22, the tone shifts with the introduction of the piano, and things get a bit lighter. It’s interesting, I think, to hear the percussive anger still underneath, but to have the music shift along with the speaker’s realization that things aren’t the way he thought they were, and that he doesn’t have to blindly serve, but can take some matters into his own hands.
It seems unusual to me that it’s the piano that signals this transition, because usually a heavier instrument would show a character grasping that they actually have power or control in a situation, but…I suppose maybe the whole point of the song isn’t about gaining control in a situation, but is instead about grasping that maybe you aren’t responsible for the failure and doubt and loss of self. All those bad things that you resigned yourself to doing.
Realising that a thing is not your fault can be pretty transformative, so I guess I get that. I still think this song has a lot of anger, but…maybe less of a “bad” anger? I’m not sure how to phrase that.
Maybe next year, eh? 😛
Previous #8 Songs
2015: Reich mir die Hand by Blutengel
2014: A Crush To Pass The Time by Plushgun
2013: Swords to Rust by Rome
2012: What’s Left of the Flag by Flogging Molly
2011: Alive by Assemblage 23