My home community has experienced a great deal of loss in the past few years. Last Tuesday, a longtime family friend passed away in a car accident, causing grief and pain throughout my hometown. One of the best way to cope with such tragedies is music, and there’s nothing more comforting than knowing that some of your favorite musicians have also gone through the deaths of loved ones as well. I chose three songs that discuss such tragic events and attempt to find meaning through them.
1. “Beauty In Tragedy” – August Burns Red
August Burns Red released their most powerful effort to date in June with Rescue & Restore. Lyrically, Jake Luhrs covers a lot of topics that relate to things like perspectives in faith and idolatry in the music scene. His writing has become more and more uplifting over the years, and “Beauty In Tragedy” is strong evidence of this. It’s not completely clear who he wrote the song about, but it’s a song about the death of someone. The lines are tear-inducing as he grieves, but he provides hope for those going through similar experiences. A spoken word section is a bridge in attitude from sad to joyful. From there, the band jumps back into their metalcore routine, and Luhrs rejoices in knowing he will join with this person in Heaven someday.
2. “White Light” – The Ghost Inside
I can’t imagine going through the loss of a sibling. Jonathan Vigil recently suffered through this, and it fueled a lot of his writing on the latest Ghost Inside record. “White Light” is a direct reference to his loss. Being a band that works in as much emotion as possible into their melodic hardcore formula, they are one of the few groups in the scene that I can connect with heart-to-heart. Listening to this song, it almost feels like I know Vigil. Well, I know what he’s going through, and that’s because the blistering instrumentation drills the song’s emotional distress into the listener’s heart. While driving on I-70 last summer during a road trip, the guitar solo near the end had me bursting out in tears – and one of my best friends (who I love like a brother) was there to share the moment.
3. “Alone In December” – Underoath
Before Dallas Taylor left Underoath and started Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster, the metalcore players had a much darker undertone. A lot of this was due to Taylor’s struggles with relationships. However, a lot of tragedy is encapsulated in the band’s lyrics as well – the former frontman’s girlfriend passed away in a car accident. This provided a lot of the material off Cries Of The Past, and even some of the songs on The Changing Of Times. “Alone In December” is one of the more emotional tracks on the album, and it sees Taylor struggling by himself during December – the month of the accident. The song bounces between piano melodies, spoken word sections, and Taylor’s deep, raspy screams as he reflects upon how this loss has changed him as a person. The human experience links us all, and this song and album are a link through time to moments of tragedy, despair, and moving on from all of that.