In Cauda Venenum

 
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Introduction

This song plants us right in the middle of war. Immediately thrown into hard hitting riffs with horns and guitar, this song plays the parallel to City Escape and The Procession in previous Acts; although already we can tell that this setting will be chaotic and aggressive.

We join Hunter as he finds himself right in the middle of battle. The lyricism of this song finds itself being abstract from the events of the story directly, but rather painting a picture of war for us as listeners. This abrupt wall of sound challenging the hauntingly melodic song before it, complimented by the imagery in lyrics forces you to stand right next to Hunter as he faces the monsters of war.


Into The Lyrics

Lyrics

We’re biting our tongues
An apparition; awoken
With an urge to own and occupy
Who ever said this was easy?
A majesty’s massacre floods the fields of red
Blood to your body naturally rushes the blood to your head

And now, with our hands in line
These arms move tonight
And we cry “We cannot allow this,
This is terrible”
With ideals we’re idle as they lust for more
If we settle the score
”We’ve never been so excited to see you before”

In the cradle we are helpless
But on our feet we are fatal
How we evolve and grow into
”Twisted beasts with a desire for disorder”
Oh, what a terrible, terrible game we play
Replacing a pawn for body and the players,
Politicians who say what they need to say

And now, with hands aligned
Arms move tonight
Here, with abrasive eyes
Pain in plain sight
And we cry “We cannot allow this,
This is terrible”
With ideals we’re idle as they lust for more
If we settle the score
”We’ve never been so excited to see you be-”

Oh, when I think about your eyes
Oh, when I think about your smile
Oh, when I dream about your lies
Traveled all this way just to find love

Analysis

Here we are introduced to a new concept that comes up a few more times in the Acts. The Apparition. While not necessarily a ‘character’ so to speak, it’s something that Hunter internally refers to on a few occasions. By definition, and apparition is “a ghost or ghostlike image of a person; the appearance of something remarkable or unexpected”. It’s based from the word ‘appear’, abridged definition being “come into sight; give the impression of being”. In the Acts, the apparition is something Hunter refers to when asking for guidance, and is implied to be a part of him, whether it be his imagination, faith, or just a personal concept he has created for himself. This apparition is awoken in the midst of war, and some have implied that through the trauma of war, he develops a split personality of sorts (either literally through mental illness or through an issue of identity). This concept is further explored over the next few albums after key events happen later in the Act.

A majesty’s massacre floods the fields of red’ details the setting of the battlefield, soaked with blood of friend and foe, while also implying a kings war, bloodshed spilled for the interest of those in power, using the hands of the poor.

The chorus continues on this idea, saying that despite nearly everyone involved being opposed to the idea of war, it is played out anyways because of those in power. Unable to object due to social and political position, individuals are forced into battle against each other. While some may gather behind the patriotism, and possibly nationalistic motives of the war, In Cauda Venenum clearly wants us to see that most are against it, or at least believe it’s going too far, unnecessarily causing suffering.

The second verse talks of how people grow from innocence to stark killers. This parallels to Hunter’s situation of Act I, through Act II and into Act III. Although while he may have lost his innocence, that doesn’t stop him from being naive, too quick to react to his surroundings, before properly assessing his situation. This then goes into more of the political themes from before, comparing it to a game, like that of Chess.

The songs transitional ending is a strong contrast from the main song. Like usual, it mirrors the tone of the next song more than the one it belongs to. It implies that in a moment of calm, possibly away from the battlefield, Hunter reflects on the events that ended Act II, and his feelings about Ms. Leading. In a bittersweet way, he misses her but remembers her as a liar. As someone in a bloody war, it may be hard for Hunter to not think about her, as she was a source of comfort for him up until this point, and since Ms. Terri’s death. I think throughout the end of Act II and the first half of Act III, Hunter doesn’t think of his mother much. The City and his experiences there and the War and his experiences here, have pulled him far away from his home and his mother, physically but also emotionally. He is distant and has forgotten where he comes from.


Into The Music

Key of D minor, 4/4 time signature

The song begins with blaring brass instruments and pounding drums. As a parallel to the Act I and II songs City Escape and The Procession, this song punches you in the face after being serenaded by the album openers. The song specifically mirrors City Escape according to Casey. “I can tell you the geek reason behind reversing it too… In “City Escape” thematically the song it set in a “frantic, but in your element” world. For “In Cauda…” I wanted it to be “frantic and out of your element” which is why it’s a bit more spastic, less constant, and a pseudo- reversal of the “city escape” riff. That is the super-nerd reasoning behind it. I sound really dumb.” The percussion gets a fill in the next section with the organ playing it’s ghostly melody.

The verse takes that organ melody and puts it on guitar, with variation. Casey’s singing in this song (and a few others from Act III) is very aggressive, arguably more so than Act II. This song tends to stay on the aggressive, heavy side while using very little electric guitar. What is used is in the higher register, playing more playful riffs or tremolo picking. A lot of the force that comes from this song is from Casey’s vocals, the drumming, and the brass instruments. The backing vocals are similar to that of Writing On A Wall, using a lot of lower register voices. These gang vocals are reminiscent of the earlier mentioned song, The Procession.

The transition piece is where all the reprises are hidden at in this song. When Casey sings the word ‘love’, a bit of the Vital Vessels Vindicate melody comes through. This is an indication that he is in fact thinking of Ms. Leading, much like he was in Vital Vessels Vindicate. The other is actually something that is appearing now for the first time. The offbeat rhythm that happens here comes back many times in the Acts, and with it’s placement I believe it’s intentional.


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