Smiling Swine

Hunter met a character of interest, and she took him on a small adventure through her life in the City. Ms. Leading led him through the Church to the Dime, and then upstairs where they shared an embrace. Hunter is unaware of his current situation of having slept with a sex worker, and she slips away before he stirs awake. Hunter’s first day away from his cabin consisted of burying his mother, hitching a ride with some unfamiliar people on a train, wandering around a large new city, going to the club, and having sex with a mysterious woman he had just met. His one day after leaving home was more eventful than the entirety of last year for me.

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The Bitter Suite III: Embrace

The Bitter Suite III: Embrace continues are adventure through the Dime with Ms. Leading and Hunter. The two of them have just met, and our protagonist is being lead around by his new chaperone. Meeting by the Church, they made their way to the Dime and watched the ladies there put on a performance, with a brief on stage appearance from the Pimp/Priest.

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The Bitter Suite I & II: Meeting Ms. Leading/Through the Dime

The Bitter Suite is a series of songs, with the first three being here in Act II. The first two songs are paired together, seamlessly transitioning from Meeting Ms. Leading into Through the Dime. In part I Hunter talks about his first impressions upon meeting our new character, as well as some dialogue between the two. As we segue into part II, we get some of the Pimp/Priest talking about the Dime as Hunter visits for the first time.

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The Church and the Dime

Though we’ve gotten plenty of insight into the ploys of our antagonist, this song is a proper introduction to his lairs. Acting as a Priest at the Church during the day and a Pimp and the Dime at night, he manipulates his clients between each location, profiting off of their insecurities. Hunter has just made his way to the City after his curious encounter with the Oracles. He’s wandered in the direction of the church bells, and found himself face to face with the Church, which is not to far from the Dime.

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The Oracles on the Delphi Express

Hunter manages to find the next step in his journey on the Delphi Express. Left alone in solitude, he has chosen to make his way to the world beyond. He finally makes his way to the train station only to find that he has no idea where he is. This song follows The Lake and the River’s interlude that signaled the oncoming train, and we get to meet some new characters.

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The Lake and the River

The Lake and the River is a mammoth of a song and a demonstration of everything good about Act II. This song is over nine minutes and doesn’t drag one bit. Exciting but not overwhelming, The Lake and the River moves through each section seamlessly and gives the impression of a standard song no longer than five minutes. If The Procession was the musical transition from Act I to Act II, then The Lake and the River pulls us straight into Act II with Casey’s refined skills at creating this rock opera.

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The Procession

The Procession is the first full length song on the album, coming in at just under five minutes. It carries the torch of ‘big opener that’s not technically the opener’ from City Escape on the last album. We got the introduction with a smaller piece and now we have a full band to debut what the bulk of Act II really is.

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The Death and the Berth

The Death And The Berth starts the album with so much to be said for an instrumental track that doesn’t even touch the first minute mark. The album skips forward a few years to Hunters late teens, although not much has happened in the time between. Living with his mother in isolation near the Tree and the Lake, he has lived his sheltered life in wonder of what’s beyond. The album is twice as long as Act I (literally 15 more seconds would have been exactly double), so we can expect a lot to happen in Hunters near future.

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Aquarius - Part I

This maritime story set in an apocalyptic future comes to us in the medium of, you guessed it, a concept album! The first full length album by the London-based band Haken, Aquarius is a story of tragedy regarding the exploitation of a mermaid, a cataclysmic natural disaster, and tackles themes of love and self sacrifice.

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The River North

As the Act comes to an end we’re met with a somber piano piece, and a hidden track at the end that’s not really even a track. The River North leaves us anticipating the future of Hunter and where his life will lead us, with subtle foreshadowing of what’s to come. In this entry I’m going to do my best to summarize the events of the album, as well as add in anything that wasn’t mentioned in an earlier post.

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His Hands Matched His Tongue

An emotional ballad riddled with hints of nostalgia, His Hands Matched His Tongue takes us back to Hunter’s story. We have a song that seems pretty straightforward, but looking closer at the material we have things get way more confusing. I don’t actually even know if I’m sure what’s going on here. Is this supernatural or not Casey? Stop confusing us. When we last left our hero, he was literally crying in a ditch after falling out of a tree. Isn’t childhood fun?

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1878

Moving into the latter half of the Act, 1878 is full of foreshadowing events to come. It’s the longest song on the album, but due to it’s excellent pacing you wouldn’t even know (the album is also pretty short, so that helps too). Even when things pick up during the chorus, it feels like this song is floating by, nothing too drastic, while always moving forward.

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The Inquiry of Ms. Terri

The Inquiry of Ms. Terri gives us more insight into the characters that we’ve met so far. This song has a slower pace than City Escape, but there seems to be a lot more going on both musically and lyrically. We get a clear picture of the relationship between Hunter and his mother here, with an ambiance in the music to match the ominous tone of the story here.

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City Escape

City Escape is the first song in the story to feature a full band, somehow still managing to give us a new idea of what to expect three songs in. It’s also the first song to really have an event we can put on a timeline. This is where the core of the story begins to take shape, and this is the cool chase scene that you see in the beginning of action movies.

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