The Gloom In The Corner get real & honest with ‘Requiem.’
Me praising The Gloom In The Corner is like Sky News Australia bashing Victorian Premier Dan Andrews for the tiniest thing, or like a Call Of Duty campaign being pro-imperialist neo-conservative fan-fiction; you know what you’re getting into well before the point of entry. So there’s an obvious bias whenever I cover this band, that’s clear. But I’d like to offer a rebuttal: I’ll start paying this Melbourne band out when they start releasing shit songs. And with ‘Requiem,’ the third and final chapter in their 2020 release schedule, that time is not now.
This now-completed three-track EP – since revealed to be called ‘Ultima Pluvia,’ more or less meaning “last rain” in Latin -began in April 2020 with the release of the heavily Mick Gordon and Loathe influenced killer, ‘Violence.’ It’s middle-arc then arrived in September when TGITC and us here at KYS teamed up for the release of the stunning ‘Warfare.’ Now the end of this era – the band’s ‘Fear Me‘ arc, their first album – is wrapped up with ‘Requiem.’ It truly feels like an end, like one big send-off, one final hurrah. The sounds and styles of this piece aren’t new for this microcosm of heavy music, but TGITC pull it off well for their own little universe, and that’s what matters most.
‘Requiem‘ is duality; it has two fronts to discuss. The first is the song itself. Which sees the Gloomy boys turn over a more emotive, melodic and orchestral leaf. With virtual-strings aplenty, sombre pianos, an uplifting timbre, a greater emphasis on singing and various vocal techniques and dynamics, it leans on a larger alt-rock crux, though still retaining all of their theatricality and vicious nu-metalcore traits. When put together, it’s quite remiss of the songwriting styles and compositional forms off Ice Nine Kills‘ 2018 LP, ‘The Silver Scream.’ (That’s a compliment, I assure you.)
The other part is the track’s narrative and intent, which itself is another duality. Firstly, ‘Requiem‘ is just that: a remembrance and look-back at the story hitherto, concluding this current chapter, before the band’s larger Gloom cinematic universe – or “GCU,” if you will – barrels onwards to its next gory installment. It’s the end-point of all that’s happened in this violent, supernatural narrative featuring Jay, Ethan, Sherlock, The Sect, their many losses, and what’s to come with the new rise of a cult known as The Holy Order. Vocalist and author of the band’s narrative, Mikey Arthur, has since covered who, what and where ‘Ultima Pluvia‘ has lead this saga towards, stating:
“Main protagonist Jay begins leaking information of the Sect, the secret government agency he works for, under the moniker and disguise of Echo Six, slowly deposing them of the power they have over the supernatural community, and allowing the religious and zealous cult known as The Holy Order to rise and assume control, led by Elias DeGraver.”
“Though the Sect are aware of Jay’s treachery to the organisation, they are unable to locate him, with the little resources they have left after the damage that has been done from the leaks. DeGraver takes it upon himself to search for the mysterious “Echo Six”. The last pieces of Sect information have been leaked, and DeGraver sets out to kill Jay/Echo Six. Jay knows that the Sect aren’t far off from discovering his whereabouts, and that suicide isn’t an option with Sherlock Bones (our co-protagonist), the demonic presence known as a Gloom that resides within him still inhibiting his mind.“
“The story ends with DeGraver shooting Jay with special bullets that stop his regenerative abilities, thus killing Jay and Sherlock Bones, and the final dismantling of the Sect, now that the last pieces of information have been leaked to the public. The Holy Order takes control of the supernatural community, now that their secrecy has been exposed to the mortal public.“
Secondly, there’s the songs emotional and literal theme, about how far someone will go for their art. In the story, Jay goes to great lengths to expose The Sect, leaking their dirty secrets, at the cost of his own life. It’s not hard to see how this relates to the real-world: a musician, artist or any kind of genuinely caring creator giving everything that they can, everything that they are for their work. Them pushing past all else – including their own mental health and well-being – in order to create the realest, greatest expression possible, even if no one really listens. (“I’m stuck in a cycle of always trying to please. But what’s the point of trying to please if you’re never happy?“)
This is something the band collectively touched on just before ‘Requiem‘ released, writing:
“‘Requiem’, at its core, is about the trials and tribulations artists face on a daily basis; we strive ourselves to be better and to express our emotions, pushing ourselves to the limits for our art, and often putting the art first before our own mental well-being. For a lot of us, our only means of communication are through what we pen to paper, pouring our heart and soul into our art, though often the cries for help we depict are left unheard. This isn’t just the case in musicians, but in many other forms of artistic expression too. While Gloom has always been a concept band with emotional lyrics that can be taken at face value, ‘Requiem’ is the closest we’ve come to being as real to you as possible. If you know someone that you think may be struggling, reach out them, help them, tell them they’re loved and appreciated. If you yourself are struggling, there are also many organisations you can reach out to who can help, whom we’ve linked below. In the Lore, Jay is The Artist, with his work and missions for the Sect being his artistic declaration, but in the real world, the Artist might be a friend or family member, a peer or someone you look up to… or it could be you.”
Created by artist Mike Lee-Graham – who designed the band’s Our Final Halloween illustration, as seen above – the song’s accompanying comic-book video summarises the ‘Fear Me‘ arc, brought to gritty life by someone who definitely understands the aesthetic Gloom are going for. Give it a watch below! (And do be sure to check out Mike’s work – his horror designs really stood out to me.) I’ve always thought that Gloom’s story would work in a graphic-novel visualisation, and it’s nice to know I’m often right.