I Am the Curse

by Open Fire!

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Listen for free, or if you are so inclined, download it for $5 in whatever format you want. If I get enough downloads, I'll be pressing it for the final show in October.

credits

released 25 August 2012
OPEN FIRE!
I AM THE CURSE

Lyrics by Steven Jackson & Rick Plasencia
© Open Fire!, Enter Zombie Mind Publishing (ASCAP) 2011-2012

1. The Path of Most Resistance
2. What Means the Most (feat Rick Plasencia of Preacher)
3. The Moral Eclipse
4. I Have Wasted Every Word (feat Vigil of The Ghost Inside)
5. Survivor
6. Curse of the Quixotic
7. I Despise
8. Graveyards Adrift
9. Faith-Healer / Death-Dealer
10. Sticks and Stones (feat Jamie Hanks of I Declare War)
11. Illusions and Dead Ends (feat Rick Plasencia of Preacher)

Produced & Engineered by Ahren Lanfor, Steve Jackson, and Randy Wheeler
Mixed & Mastered by Ahren Lanfor
Recorded at Randlerawk Studios in Tacoma, WA (guest vocals and solo also recorded at D-Wreckord Studios in Portland, OR)

Steve Jackson - Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Zach Dilley - Guitar, Vocals
Rick Hecker - Guitar, Vocals
Matt Miller - Bass
Daniel Matson - Drums

Also Featuring:
John Baran (of Oblivion) - Guitar (on Bonus Track)
Kyle Rasmussen (of Those Who Lie Beneath) - Guitar Solo on "Sticks and Stones"
Derek Leisy (of Blackheath) - Guitar Solo on "Sticks and Stones"
Jamie Hanks (of I Declare War) - Vocals on "Sticks and Stones"
Jonathan Vigil (of The Ghost Inside) - Vocals on "I Have Wasted Every Word"
Rick Plasencia (of Preacher, formerly of Open Fire!) - Vocals on "What Means the Most" and "Illusions and Dead Ends"

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Open Fire! Tacoma, Washington

melodic hardcore band from Tacoma, WA. 2005-2012

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Track Name: The Path of Most Resistance
onward & upward
allow me to introduce myself as a broken man,
left at the end of Ivalice by every love.
a sob story but no different, a broken record still spinning
so this is where I do a little song and dance for you
but I'm ashamed to call myself my fathers son,
for this son is neither boy nor man
and I find myself falling behind, time just slips away
from minutes to hours to days. days better spent not alone.
will I sit here until skin falls from bone?
this is the path of most resistance
we will always walk the hardest road
never compromise,
always us against the world
I don't believe this will amount to anything
I don't believe this means anything to anyone but me
one day I've got to realize that these words and chords
wont amount to a fucking thing.
one day I've gotta tell my father that I cant sing.
but my last scream will be spent with my middle finger
to the fucking sky
open fire on everything you love
we never gave a shit because we don't give a fuck (about you)
so fuck you and fuck everything you ever stood for
fuck you forever

As some of you know, in mid 2009, OF! really fell apart. At one point I think it was only me left in the band. But after figuring things out with Fisch and Chug, we had to find a new rhythm section. I had written an album with Wilson and it was very dark and not very positive. Nothing in OF! has ever been all that positive...but when we started putting the pieces back together we realized that even though things never work out the way we plan, and that we always go the hard way, no matter what, we don't compromise. We have pushed forward WITH our negativity. And through that, I have found a sort of direction and positivity - in the sense that as long as we stick to what we started the band for in the first place (the first lyric and mantra we ever wrote was "Open fire on everything you love" before we even had the band name), we will always persevere and progress. Onward & Upward. The song was supposed to initially only be about 1:30, but we wanted to bring the intro back around so it didn't feel like such a throw away riff, and the mid-tempo two-step part came about from some last minute ideas, so the song wound up longer than intended, but it doesn't feel wasted. A good paced opening track.
Track Name: What Means the Most
Can my words mean anything to you?
Or have i just opened my mouth for the first time?
We were meant for so much more than this
This is the result of every unanswered prayer
but it made us stronger. (But it makes us stronger)
Make no mistake, I love you and I always will
But the blindfold is off and I am letting go.
Where was the love that could cure the blind
when I needed it the most?
(This life is mine)
its flashing before my eyes;
but its the first time that I've felt alive.
(this life is mine)
I seek no answers for these questions hold no weight.
My redeeming choice in a life of regret
I refuse to live for anyone but me.

This was originally written years ago, and then in 2007 when we decided to progress our direction after the BTA days, we put together this song. Rick and I wrote the lyrics one night, centered around the final line which I had written along with the riffs back in 2005. As a basis, it came from the position of me being 18 and ready to leave the scope of my parents' vision for my life. In the last 6-7 years, it has taken more shape in showing that I have to take responsibility for myself, no matter what my choices might be. I cannot rely on anyone or anything to find my way but myself. A song of self-declaration, but not to be confused with self-importance. We decided to rerecord this song for IATC because the lyrics play right into the concept, and it never got a proper release. The original demo (recorded in summer 2007) was tagged on last minute as a bonus track on BTA. We felt that this way we present the song in its full glory, tighter, better produced and better played. We even brought Rick in to help round out the song and it fits perfectly.
Track Name: The Moral Eclipse
In these words I find resolution and understanding,
and with others I progress.
Skeptic at heart I question everything
that I see, everything in front of me is
subject to scrutiny. But in my questioning
I denounce introspection, and now we're left
without self-reflection, but the truth is
that I'm a wreck just like you.
I lost myself in search of answers and truth,
I lost myself in hopes to save us all.
I lost my drive for change in search of myself.
I just need to find some peace of mind...
I'm torn between the world and myself,
but when the world burns itself down, why do I bother?
Ill always push for change, but will I always save myself?
I need to find some balance,
I need to find a way out.
I need to find some balance I need out.
I need to find some balance, or I will watch this all burn.
I lost myself in search of answers and truth,
I lost myself in hopes to save us all.
I lost my drive for change in search of myself.
I just need to find some peace of mind

The title is a combination of two things. First, a nod to cave in, one of my favorite bands over the last 10 years. Secondly, it is a reference to the argument of what the content of "hardcore" bands--or any band of "value" to some people it seems like--lyrics should be about. There are times that I feel I need to push for progress and change I want to see in the world, in the country I live in, and many other socio-political issues that effect us all. But just often, if not more, I reflect on my own life, my own flaws. I look at the things wrong in MY life, many of which I am the cause. Who am I to say what is wrong with the world when I am often wrong or often the cause of the wrongs in the world? I'm no fan of hypocrisy, and I've always believed that "you cant fix someone else until you fix yourself." Ultimately, though, to find happiness, I need to make a balance between the two as they are of equal importance and value. We wrote this song summer of 2009, with Nick and Ian in the band. We wanted something really fast, driving, just pure power. In doing so and then painting over the top of it with our leads, we found the chorus worked better without heavy riffing and just doing a combination of melodic riffs. In the studio, we came up with a volume swell idea under it, but didn't turn out quite right so Ahren went in and tracked synth instead of guitar swells. love how it turned out.
Track Name: I Have Wasted Every Word (ft. Vigil TGI)
Nothing ever changes.
Life wears us down facing what we've become.
And when these walls we've built crumble to the ground,
We watched our world fall apart. We watched our lives fade away.
I still pity your hopeful eyes; yet I reject every push ahead
for i know this is true collapse.
I've finally listened; as I'm redefining bitter, cold and heartless every day.
and look at you, still on your knees.
So say goodbye to the memories I had.
Tonight you'll eat every wasted word.
This time I tried to regain every foot I had.
Nothing ever changes.
Life wears us down facing what we've become.
Break these walls (down).
You spent your life spitting anything you could to charm their pretty little eyes
Let me tell you something: You haven't changed a thing.
You think your voice bouncing off the ceiling will save you?
(You're fucked)
Fuck your jaded hearts. Fuck your empty words.

As I mentioned earlier, I had written a nearly completely different record with Wilson back in 2008 and early 2009. We had already tracked the demo of Wasted Words, then the renewed version for the Slaves EP. During the Ivalice writing sessions we had written a long winded, nearly 12 minute song, that would go from there into this song, and the combo would have been "I Have Wasted Every Breath" & "I Have Wasted Every Word" with Breath ending with my initial breath in, then starting Words with "Nothing ever changes..." I'm glad we scrapped the idea because the long instrumental track wasn't nearly as good as I wanted it to be, and the idea became very contrite to me over time. Instead we just focused on solidifying the instrumentation and making it as good of a song as we could. The lead over the "Fuck your jaded hearts" part was last minute dicking around on the guitar by me, and the outro lead was a last minute thing Fisch and Ahren came up with while I was out of the studio. I came back, heard it and loved it. I feel like the lyrics to this song have always been pretty self-explanatory: if it were pinpointed at someone, it reflects on a time when I was young and coming up through the heavy music scene, there were several bands that would go from "Straight Edge" to "Christian" to "Atheist" or any other sort of flag they could wave to gain fans in an obviously poor attempt at appealing to someone. This was the rejection of that mentality, of people wasting their time and words just to be liked. Yet no matter what I say, it still happens, it still goes on and on...
Track Name: Survivor
Will I sit curled up like this until it goes away?
the swallowing feeling that starts at the back of my eyes,
down my throat and through my soul. its endless, it draws me deep.
this is true fear but I wont accept it (as reality)
I can't see anything, I can't breathe.
we're so surrounded by false infinity.
concrete statues from concrete minds seeking infamy
the things we do to just to stay alive.
we all seek infamy (eternity).
but time waits for no man.
from dust to dust.
a death grip on our existence
what will it take for us to let go?
will we waste our lives searching for means to no ends?
or can we dissolve our nature, and no longer pretend
that we are exempt from nature. no life exceeds beyond its means.
I accept no life beyond this world. from dust to fucking dust.
there is no turning back as I take this step forward.
no delusions of eternity, no fear of forever.
there is no turning back, this is all we have left.
(life passes by)
"there is no great reunion in the sky"
but time waits for no man.
from dust to dust.
our death grip,
what will it take for us to let this go?

This song was written in the summer of 2009 with Nick and Ian, shortly before our US tour. This song hasn't really changed since that writing process, and I'm glad, I think we really came together and executed the writing rather perfectly. This song was one of the first instances of Fisch contributing as he wrote the mid tempo sweeping lead over the top of the "Time waits for no man" part. Easily one of my favorite leads on the album. Lyrically - it started from a conversation between Chug and I talking about our mutual fear of death. I recounted a story of one night, when I was 17. I had been attending church with a friend to see if I felt like it was right for me, as well as reading books by Carl Sagan, Lee Strobel (The Case for Christ), Richard Dawkins, and other material from both sides of the religious fence. I was so confused. The one thing that always got me was the idea of sleep being like death - a loss of consciousness. I couldn't recount my time being asleep until I awoke, so since I couldn't awake from death, I wouldn't even know I died. The thought of that scared me senselessly, to the point of having a panic attack. Recounting this to Chug wound up giving him a serious panic attack as well, which is a far more serious medical issue for him. I could tell this was a deep, real issue for both of us. I started reading up more on the study of death, and the sociology of it. I was turned onto the documentary "Flight From Death: The Quest for Immortality" which studied the fear of death and the things it has spawned and created in our world. It was produced by Greg Bennick of local hardcore bands Trial and Between Earth and Sky. I even had a chance to talk to him briefly about these things. The quoted lyric towards the end is from "You Dream, You Wake, You Live, You Die" by Amora Savant/Andy Parmann, a band (and lyric) I love dearly. I believe that religion is the longest and deepest coping mechanism mankind has ever created to deal with this fear that has lingered in our species as far back as time can show us. It isn't a complete declaration of absolution of the fear, but hopefully coming to terms with it a bit.
Track Name: Curse of the Quixotic
If I be wicked, woe unto me;
and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head.
I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction;
"there's no guarantees in life but death and taxes" they said
There's nothing in this world
but land and sea, and all the wasted space in between.
No one with a conscience deserves their conscious.
And I am no different, so why am I always standing alone?
I don't sleep anymore I just lie awake
writing down every mistake that I ever made
and the pages are filling quick.
Overanalysis is the understatement.
My anxiety is the white knuckle grip.
I don't claim anything above the rest
except my ability to recognize I'm not like the rest.
My stomach in a constant knot,
my heart is constantly in my throat.
Do you know what its like
to feel the need to be something
but when I look in the mirror
and see me, I see nothing?
[It is not the still surface of river Acheron
that reflects this regret-rich, guilt riddled past upon me.
It is the faces in those fathoms. Falchion glares, fastening.
Awful eyes, wide. So awesome a terror that I am awe-impaired.
Such sunken, filed hearts once funneled blood to fingers
carving skin like lovers etching forever
into park bench or tree limb.
Culled by currents coursing toward His Darkness' grim harvest,
I, amid the souls I sought to transcend, am them; I am the dead.]
struggling day by day with woe is me
As I open my eyes to this dead world I see its really woe are we.
We, one and all, are killing ourselves.
We are the cause of all this wrong,
and I am the first to say I am the curse.

* the lyrics in the [ ] brackets are by Shoshin, a verse that he wrote for this song that unforunately never made it onto the album, but I felt that the lyrics are perfect and complete this song so I left them in here so you get the best possible picture *

"Quixotic" is defined as "exceedingly idealistic" in reference to Don Quixote. To me, it means that those who who constantly push for something more, something better, in themselves, their lives, their friends and loved ones, despite misanthropic notions and a disdain for human nature, find that everything wrong in their life is a direct result of their own actions. every poor choice you've made, every bad person you've surrounded yourself with, every time something shitty happens to you, you can nearly always trace it back to a bad decision you've made. This idea has been ingrained in me since we began this band years ago. At our first show ever, when introducing the song "Built to Abandon" Rick said "This song is about everybody having problems in their life, and looking for someone else to blame it on, but in the end you realize that everything that happens to you, you've ultimately done to yourself." When this realization hit me, it hit me pretty fucking hard. That's what I Am the Curse is and that is what it means. Nearly every track on IATC relates to this topic. The idea of self-accountability. The idea that the only change comes from within. Everything wrong with my life, everything that I hate, is my own fault. This song isn't about resolution, but it is at least about awareness. The middle section where only the one line is repeated distorted is from my friend Shoshin. Initially, he was supposed to record a verse over the entire bridge closing the gap between the two choruses. Unfortunately we couldn't arrange it and make it happen. But he sent me his lyrics based off a few lines I had written and I had told him the concept of the song, and his lyrics blew me the fuck away. I had to include them in here. As far as I'm concerned, the song will never be fully complete because his lyrics bridge the emotional concept of the lyrics perfectly, and without his vocals, the song is lacking, to me. Musically, the majority of this song was written 2004 and 2005. I never thought it would fit with OF! until we started finishing up some of the newer songs for this album and it started moving more in a straight forward, more melodic direction. We added bits and pieces here and there in the writing process of it, but the main chunk of the riffs and melodies have been floating in my head for the better part of ten years before it ever came to fruition.
Track Name: I Despise
(And so the godsick are falling to their knees, begging for a rapture or at least a killer disease something to make their prophecies come the slightest bit true, oh that's right God's got it in for you. the investment bankers and cfo's are digging shelters the size of buildings cuz we've got em running...but its all for nothing.)
I despise a life held with no regard to the things we hold true.
Your life placed above others but the truth is, this place is above you.
Nothing left. Waiting to die. No fear, no pain, I can't feel anything.
I've been to the end and there is nothing waiting there for us.
No light and no love (nothing). Nothing to dream of.
"I'm a liar, a coward, and a thief" he said to the floor.
But with no light and no love, whats the point of living anymore?
Stare into the faces of all my friends. All I see are dead ends.
I despise.
For every girl I ever loved, for every friend who never gave a fuck;
For every time the government had left me there to bleed;
For every wasted year I spent praying on my knees;
I DESPISE YOU ALL.
Love is just a construct of the mind, a design to perpetuate
our illusions and delusions (that we are here for purpose and reason).
The truth is we will squander away all the air we were to breathe
because all that we prayed for, all that we wanted is nothing.
All that we see
All that we pray
All that we seek
All that we pray
All that we dream
All that we needis nothing.

This was the last song to be written from the album. We used a different tuning from our usual Drop B tuning on this song as well to give it a different tone and I think we achieved it. Every time I hear the intro I think of "El Mark" by Glassjaw, my favorite band. The song has a powerful beginning, a surge of beef in the middle, and ends in a softer, more reserved manner. I wrote this in December of 2009 going through a rough time in my life. I remember just laying on the floor of my apartment, next to my Christmas tree, strumming the chords to the outro over and over and over until the sun would come up. Lyrically this song was written about four times over. I was never satisfied with the wording or arrangement of lyrics until I hit the studio and finally tracked them. Even after tracking them, it took me a few weeks to get it right. This song is definitely integral of our progression of sound, so I had to keep it on the album - but because of my frustration with the lyrics, it definitely held the record up for a few extra weeks.
Track Name: Graveyards Adrift
Oh I've always been drawn to the sea
as I know its the only place meant for me
Left ashore with nothing but disconnect and misanthropy
No love for any man
If it were up to me all would be washed away
Oceans rise and men will fall
oceans rise and men will fall
A sea of discourse. An ocean of mistrust.
These waves of depression turn into a tide of hatred
And I will watch the water rise.
Wash over me, pull me to sea.
And I watch the water rise.
flooding, relentless, endless
And I wont let go until you're consumed
I'll watch our bridges burn and light my path
as I bob away into the endless black
I wont stop until your sky meets my depths
until your clouds are washed away by squalls
no matter how cold, no matter how black
rise. rise. watch the water rise.
I am going under, and I'm taking you with me
I cant breathe, i am drowning
but where I'm going, I wont need air.

I wrote these lyrics on our first tour back in February of 2009. It reflects one of the first times in many years that my lyrics were not very realistic, direct, or to the point. I purposefully wrote this set of words (I had never intended them to be lyrics, but after showing them to Fisch he insisted we use them in a song) to be vague, a little more open ended and up for interpretation. To me, of course there is deeper, specific meaning to each line - representative of a destructive relationship I was in, but the words are far more open than the feelings they represented. As for the riffs, I took the same approach I had to the clean parts of Million to One. I always felt like those were some of our best riffs but we didn't really hash the ideas out properly so I used that as a base and wrote a very slow, very timidly paced riff. Fisch took a few of the ideas I had and ran with them in the verses, coming up with a stylized version, that accompanied the other guitar perfectly. Ahren actually came up with the main bass lines in the song as the original lines were pretty dull and didn't have much to them. Coupled with the grooving bass line at the end, I think we wrote a very cohesive, smart song. My favorite part of this song is the textured layers that really slam on you when the verses and choruses hit, as we purposefully reduced the panning of the guitars on this song. Typically most bands pan their guitars hard left and hard right, but as we tracked 4-6 guitars per song on this album, we had them mostly spread across the center to give a very big wall of sound crashing down around you like the waves the lyrics reference.
Track Name: Faith-Healer / Death-Dealer
Is it apathy, or just an overall dis-concern for humanity that drives you?
from religious hysteria, to extremist solutions, your words
have become the false hope of a dying generation.
1.4 million since the day I heard your name
This is the height of irresponsibility and yet like sheep you flock
you invested everything (they gave you everything)
for a chance at a better life (at a better life)
and you cant even save yourself.
you cant save us all. you cant even save yourself
I'll take their lives back, I swear on my fucking grave.
for those on their journey for relief,
I have declared my foundation
I have given my life up to a better way.
I know now what I must do.
for when the most vile deception rings true,
with my foot on your throat I swear I will end you.
I wont be a slave, and to those I love:
get up off your knees, and wipe your eyes.
there is so much than what is not above
no gods, no kings, no masters, no thieves
you will never be truly alive in a life spent on your knees.
I am free.

The riffs of this song were also from 2005, like a lot of the material on this album. I remember in December 2008 as we were getting ready to start touring, we wanted to get together one more song that could really unify our sound and I knew I had just the right song. To this day its been one of our best, and well received songs. From the horrible singing on the Slaves EP version to every time we have played this song, it has become one of our banners and most important milestones. The lyrics I came up with partially back in 2005, but weren't finalized until we recorded it. At the time, a close relative of mine had been diagnosed with cancer. When asked about it, he was honest: he was afraid. Not afraid for his wife or family; he had worked hard all his life and the family would be well taken care of. But he was truly afraid of dying. His wife, however, a devout Christian, demanded that he not go the traditional route of cancer treatment (scientific, medical procedures). Instead, she told him he must seek relief from Christ. He must find a faith-healer who was in tune with her lord and savior, and could cure him of his ailment. When I heard this, I wasn't too familiar with faith-healing but I read some about it, and was blown away by how many people invest in this. And how much money! The amounts are quite shocking and appalling for something that cannot be scientifically proven to be successful, at all, even once. It sickened me that he was being forced into this. But the man loved his wife so he tried. And tried and tried. Nothing helped. His fear grew worse. His stress grew worse. He smoked more, ate worse. He wound up dying of a heart attack a couple months later. This song is for anyone who has ever had a belief system like this shoved down their throat. Reject it. Learn for yourself. Stand up and speak your mind. There is no one who can save you but yourself.
Track Name: Sticks and Stones (feat. Jamie Hanks)
A man with a gun is still a man with a gun
regardless of the shield bearing number and name
I'll never trust "the man," not a man with a gun
regardless of his shield bearing number and name
is there peace buried beneath 2,000 years of prejudice?
Oh, its on the tip of everyone's tongue
with a lot being said yet nothing being done
Head first into wars made for profit (may our hearts)
Yet there's nothing we can do to stop it (guide us home)
Meanwhile, our representative-elect send hitmen
armed with charm, smiling as dummy governments
build over third-world homes for our exponential profit
Back home we rally, "raid the reserve! audit the treasury!"
before our economy becomes the singularity
their bonds are worthless, not worth their weight in ink
Back home we scream, "BURN THE FUCKING BANK!"
Your profit equals debt, get it through to your head
BURN THE FUCKING BANK
sticks and stones. bricks and bones
may our hearts guide us home
May our broken hearts guide us home
In the end, we're lost in this wolf's world
Lost in this wolf's world, no lions gain ground.
we're reduced to sticks and stones
wars and bombs will bring no one home
falling back to sticks and stones
all that's left is bricks and bones

"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." - Albert Einstein.

Another one of the later tracks on the album, we wanted this track to be aggressive and smashing, almost like a nod to our older sound but still being mindful of our progression. I think in that, we succeeded. The deep chords of the rhythms in the "back home we scream" part are some of my favorite. We also knew with the beefyness of the ending of this song, we needed someone with a powerful voice, someone with some fucking balls. We got our friend Jamie Hanks of Those Who Lie Beneath and I Declare War to fill out the end. Boy did he ever. The ending is heavy, dark and perfect. His voice fits perfectly for the near post-apocalyptic landscape the words are trying to portray. From my distrust of the concept of law enforcement (and my ensuing fear of anyone wielding a gun for a living), to my atomosophobia - this song runs the gamut of my consistent disenfranchised feelings towards our government. The way we control third world countries to exploit them for their resources, to our completely backwards, insane methods of banking (money = debt) and its systematic oppression of people without money/without control, etc. If we continue the path we are on, we will destroy the world we live in one way or another, as simple as that. And if you listen to enough OF! you should recognize the riff bridging to the last song...
Track Name: Illusions and Dead Ends
Am I the weaker man?
The paths before me, the lands once promised are nothing.
Barren, war stripped. A desert filled to the brim with the dead.
Every corpse another dream, another wasted breath.
Standing the test of time, from peasley canyon road to our numbers on the wall,
we walked among giants and our voices were heard.
More than statements of intentions, we never forget who we were and who we are.
And all I want is to break free; to break these roots that have replaced my feet.
For I have become a man that is one with the earth, sedentary.
Buried beneath apathy. My apathy.
Never forget who we are. Content at the bottom, never see the sun again.
Beaten by what cant be seen by eyes. Only felt in our hearts.
We are the architects of our demise...this is my revenge.
But I remain structured, anchored in the depths of my beliefs.
Despite the waves that crash at my back, and tempt to sway my feet.
Be it a fools stance, it is my revenge and I hold it close.
Remain virulent, remain steadfast. for when the tide settles,
weary and beaten, step by step, breaking free of everything; my heart has grown cold.
Vindicated, we breathe easy again.
When inspiration becomes an illusion and paths leading to glory
turn to the dead end streets I've been treading all these years.
This is vindication. This is spite. This is my apology. This is my revenge.
I now know I am the better man. I gave it everything.
I can't breathe and it's my dreams that are killing me.

Illusions and Dead Ends was a swan song of sorts - although unintentional, when Rick and I wrote this I think we both knew that his time with OF! was coming to an end and we were going to either transform, or perish. The lyrics had a "finale" feel to them, in the sense that it was written from the perspective of "it was good while it lasted." If you've never caught the references, on BTA we had the track "Dreamscapes and Promised Lands" that opened up with the line "I can't breathe and it's my dreams that are killing me." That song was much more laden with positivity, where as this felt like the negative mirror reflection. Dreamscapes become Illusions. Promised Lands become Dead Ends. The road ends here. Although a handful of the lines are a bit vague, I think once again the lyrics speak for themselves and are about self-accountability. For once though, it feels like resolution. Instead of just pointing out the problem, it feels like a possible way out. Like The Path of Most Resistance, it feels like moving forward. It was the only logical way we could end the album with the lyrical concept that shaped I Am the Curse. It felt wrong to have the "numbers on the wall" line sung by just me, so we had Rick polish that line off and finish the song out with us. The new version serves the old justice and brings much more new light to help discover a good song that I think was buried in mediocre production and performance. Everyone played their hearts out on this track and the final version sounds incredible.