Earlier this evening, Make Them Suffer frontman Sean Harmanis took to the band’s Facebook to reveal the story behind their new album, ‘Old Souls‘.
While the three singles (‘Let Me In‘, ‘Blood Moon‘ and the title track) and their accompanying music videos have given more and more details about the protagonist and his story told throughout the record, this is basically a tell-all. So if you’re digging the new album and want to see the meaning behind the songs and how they work into the narrative being told, then please read on.
“OLD SOULS EXPLAINED: This is not for everyone, rather for those who may be wanting a little something extra from our new album “Old Souls”. This album is no where near as descriptive or painterly as Neverbloom was. However, there is an underlying story and it’s best followed backwards, from finish to start:
Starting from the final track (11), we see in the music video our protagonist being torn from his wife to go to war, he witnesses his best friend be killed and this changes him. He starts seeing a haunting and dark character follow him everywhere he goes. This character is the “Lord of Woe”, but his appearance is to be taken in a symbolic sense. he represents the black dog over our protagonists shoulder, the darkness in his life, or just a shadow. At the very end of this music video we see that from witnessing his friend die in war, he has developed a drinking problem.
Skip forward two songs to track 8 “Scraping The Barrel” and the lyrics go further into depth about the deep sadness he feels, and that by drinking more, he is “patching” “plugging” and “drying” the holes from which his happiness is escaping him. Finishing the song up with the lyric “Bottoms up, another one down the hatch”.
Forward another song to track 7, “Blood Moon” and our protagonist is suffering from mental illness (probably to do with shell-shock and alcohol abuse). The lyrics of this song go back and forth between depressed and destructive, as if there were two devils dancing on either side of the protagonists shoulder, until it’s revealed at the end of the song in the lyrics that he has schizophrenia.
Track 6 is the turning point on the album and is called “Through the looking glass”. It’s a time for self reflection. Our protagonist literally looks at himself in the mirror and realises what he has to do, as the whispers of insanity slowly leave him.
His call to action after this (Threads, track 5) is to give in and surrender, ridding himself of all his material possessions and even his body as he believes his time on earth is done. “Take the weight of my bones, take the pictures and pieces I own. Take away this frame, pick my tissue to threads.”
Track 4 (Let Me In): It’s time for our protagonist to follow through with his call to action, his time on this earth is done. He can no longer live with the deep void he feels from his alcohol abuse. From the scars left from watching his best friend die, and living with the fact that he abuses his wife (see music video for reference). He then comes home one night with a bottle of scotch and apologises to his wife “Annie” in the form of a note, before blowing his brains out.
Track 2 Requiem is exactly what it sounds like, it’s our protagonists send-off, a lament for the dead, an elegy even tongue emoticon. He has passed away, although he won’t be forgotten. “Through my buried bones, my song lives on” – Perhaps HE will haunt Make Them Suffer’s NEXT album.
Track 1 is the most integral piece of the puzzle. It ties together the entire album. The first line of this “Old friend, let’s start again” are the words of our deceased protagonist (his song lives on), pleading with Annie to start it all over again. The next lyric “Try not to spoil the end” is ironic because the line that follows; “It’s been so long”, does actually spoil the ending of the album – as that is also the very last lyric on the album. Bringing the entire album story full circle.
Having this story unfold the way it did on the album was in no way intentional, it just came together that way. Everyone has a story to tell, and if they can dig deep enough to truly learn about themselves, it might just be one worth hearing!
Thanks to all the fans for supporting this band through thick and thin, I hope you all enjoyed listening to the album as much as we enjoyed writing it.”