[Standard Disclaimer: This analysis represents only my personal interpretation of the lyrical content of Redemption's suite, The Fullness of Time, and is not representative of the opinions of either the band or any affiliated persons involved in the production of Redemption's music; past, present or future.]
Unlike my previous two posts, the next few songs I plan on deconstructing are actually from a band I enjoy listening to. In fact, if I had to pick a favorite band, it would probably be Redemption. They’re often described as a “prog metal” or “power metal” band, but I’m no expert at music genre types. I would certainly agree that their music is powerful, and often times, the lyrics seem to resonate very much with my own life.
In particular, their second album, The Fullness of Time, has been particularly instructive to me throughout the years. It has a total of eight songs, and while the first four are strong in their own right, they don’t have the staying power of the last four. The last four are part of a suite, and, depending on who you ask, may even be considered one whole song in and of themselves (the song name being “The Fullness of Time”). However, the songs are broken up on the CD as separate tracks, so I don’t buy that gimmick. Furthermore, each track has a separate name and theme, which help untangle some of the messages (or so I’ve come to believe) the songs are trying to convey.
These four songs are sort of like a mini-concept album, for those who are familiar with that terminology. Note also that since Redemption isn’t nearly as “mainstream” as the last two bands/performers analyzed, YouTube links may not be available for some of the songs. (Rage is not the strongest, musically speaking, of the four tracks being analyzed, but it has an important lyrical part to play in the total “story” if you will.)
Near as I can tell, the concept for this suite is that a person (hereafter, Man) suffered some sort of devastating betrayal, and the songs explore the various stages of Man’s journey towards recovery – starting with Rage, moving into Despair, finding Release, and finally achieving Transcendence. (In case you couldn’t tell, those are the four song titles as well.) I think there’s a lesson out there for some of the MRA crowd as well, so I encourage you to stick to it and read through these posts. If you get to the end and feel I’ve wasted your time, by all means, call me a raving lunatic/idiot and demand for a refund.
The first song, Rage, opens with the following spliced in movie quote:
I believe in death. I believe in disease. I believe in injustice and inhumanity, torture and anger and hate…I believe in pain. I believe in cruelty and… in… every crawling, putrid thing… every possible ugliness and corruption, you son of a bitch!
This, in case you couldn’t tell, more or less establishes the fact that we are dealing with an unhappy person.
Moving along, then, to the first verse:
Struck down by the persons that I trusted
Robbed of dignity and left for dead
I can feel unmeasurable anger building in me
Emptiness and rage begin to burn inside my head
Here we can debate whether or not Man was literally “struck down” and “left for dead,” or if these are merely impassioned metaphors. I suggest the more likely case that they are metaphors, and in my interpretation, they are metaphors of the betrayal Man has, generally, been dealt at the hands of women. Who among us can’t relate to that feeling of betrayal? Aside from the extremely rare statistical anomaly who was born with amazing gifts of Game, I think most of the male readers of this site have all suffered some sort of betrayal (perhaps multiple ones) at the hands of women, and I think we can all relate to feeling “unmeasurable anger” and even “emptiness and rage.” I have certainly felt this way, and it seems to be the case that others have too. (Props to Jabherwochie for the best analysis of daily psycho-sexual torture women conduct upon men I’ve yet read.)
Furthermore, most of us recognize that we have all been robbed of dignity – particularly our traditional male dignity – and this has left us worse off as a group. Traditional male values, as we all know, have been demonized in society at large, and positive/heroic/”flawless” male role models have all but disappered from mass media. Men aren’t remembered for their great achievements, anymore, but only for their great failings – and half the failings we’re remembered for seemed to have been purely invented by feminist machinations. It’s enough to get a man’s blood boiling.
Once I was a person without malice
Once my heart bled red instead of black
Friends with one hand held behind their backs carried knives
Didn’t see the blades ’till they were buried in my back
More musings and metaphors on the nature of the betrayal Man has felt. Specifically, this seems to relate to “nice guys.” I know it’s trendy to beat up on betas and nice guys in the current blogosphere climate, but I’m here to suggest that maybe we, as men, should try to establish some commonality with other men regardless of their perceived status on some vague hierachy that’s still being defined and debated. We all recognize that women have presented a united front, and why would we want anything less than a united front of our own to meet the challenge feminism has presented to our favored Western ideals? (If you are so inclined to try and preserve them, that is – but I don’t find most men talking about expatriating or forming new countries, so…)
I think at one point or another, most of us browsing these sites have identified with the “nice guy” label and bought into the party line that told us so long as we were well behaved and good providers we would receive many social rewards. I know that I bought into this idea and I’m a relative pup compared to some of the folks in the community. Those of us who have felt this way can probably relate to the lines of this verse – “once my heart bled red instead of black” and “friends [women] with one hand held behind their backs carried knives.” How many times have we described women as “stabbing us in the back?”
After this verse, we get the first does of the chorus:
Sleep with one eye open
Knowing that I’m watching you
Listen for my footsteps on every darkened street
Like a call for help unanswered
You can scream but no one hears your voice
No one there to save you
As I take my just revenge
I think this represents the sort of path unchecked male anger can take, especially towards women. There is a lot of anger out there – some of it even rationally justified – and this is not something that should be trifled with. I understand this anger even if I do not endorse it. There is historical precedent for male anger exploding with consequences for a society – just see this quote by Nancy Levant “Why don’t you ask the women of Afghanistan what happened to their liberation, which existed prior to the national radicalization of angry men with weapons?” A common observation in the movement seems to be that if you kick a friendly dog enough times, you wind up with a mean dog.
As Man observes here in the song, women are not safe unless there are men present to protect them. Without Man, there is “no one there to save [women].” Furthermore, under certain understandings, an argument could be posited that physical violence as revenge could be just. (Again, I don’t endorse this, but I can certainly understand why people would.) If you feel this way, perhaps this musical suite will speak to you and resonate with you. I encourage you to read on and discover/consider alternatives.
I can hear your laughter
I can see you think you’ve won
But I don’t know how you live
With no remorse for what you have done
Pretty straightforward here – the laughter and having women think they’ve won stand in as metaphors for shaming language and common feminist debate tactics. Not knowing how women live without remorse seems to be a lament for misunderstanding either hypergamy or misunderstanding natural female amorality. Women play by a different set of rules, and Man has had to learn that the hard way, especially in the absence of systems (patriarchy) designed to curtail natural human failings.
Then the refrain:
You claimed you were my friend
All the while you planned to murder me
You claimed that I imagined all the things you’d done to me
You’ll pay for being so destructive
You’ll beg for compassion
But I’ve nothing left to give
This is a powerful verse. Once again, Man is lamenting the false friendship that women have offered him – especially in a more feminist society. “You claimed you were my friend, all the while you planned to murder me” could just be a metaphor for how women generally deceive and mislead to get what they want – think of cuckolding, adultery, all of those things. This is one of my favorite examples of attempted cuckolding. Remove the system that instills and enforces morality (patriarchy) and all of the sudden, all bets are off!
The third line is an important one – how many times has the male perspective been denied, especially by the supposedly more empathetic gender? How many times has Man tried to air his grievances only to be told it was all in his head, or worse, all his own fault? It is only natural he wants women to pay for what has been done, pay for being so destructive – after all, the sting of betrayal is still fresh, the pain still raw and tangible. “You’ll beg for compassion, but I’ve nothing left to give.” I see a lot of that sort of attitude here and elsewhere, and it is not illogical. But it doesn’t need to be the only way.
See what anger will eventually melt into, given enough time, with my next post!