The Lake South
The Lake South is an instrumental track that acts as sort of a continuation of Battesimo del Fuoco. It continues the pace of opening the album, but transitions from an all vocal piece to an instrumental piece. The story is very sparse here due to lack of lyrics, but the main melody is a very important story element used throughout the Acts.
Into The Music
Seeing as this song is instrumental, there’s not much we can grab in terms of story other than a melody that recurs in a few songs later on. The song begins with a french horn alternating between the notes D and A. After a few measures we get a celesta arpeggiating a G major chord, along with an oboe adding to the french horn melody. Up through this point, the key seems to be leaning into D major. The french horn and oboe are playing melodies that have B and C# in them, both notes being in D major. But as we go into the section of the song beginning at 0:18, we add in a few more instruments. The trombone that comes plays a matching melody to the french horn, but instead of playing D and A it plays D and F. This F gives us the final piece in outlining the key, which seems to be D Dorian, occasionally borrowing the leading tone from D major.
The song slowly layers in different instruments until they’re all playing together towards the end. The original french horn melody stays as a constant throughout the song, occasionally moving around the key but rhythmically staying the same. The accompanying instruments either mimic that melody or outline a few chord progressions throughout the song.
SPOILER WARNING: The main melody of this song comes back in three other songs later on. The first is in the last 20 seconds of City Escape. It also acts as a closer to Act II, being re-imagined at the end of Vital Vessel Vindicates. The final time we hear this, is once again as a closer, but to Act V, and thus the story as a whole. Though I can’t find a source, I remember reading somewhere that this melody is used to symbolize new beginnings. This would make sense, as it opens the story twice in Act I, it’s used as Hunter is leaving behind his life in The City to go to war in Act II. Casey has stated that the Acts are a cycle of some kind, so ending Act V in this motif would make sense, as it would signal the cycle starting again. There’s also the fact that the final song in Act V is called A Beginning.
Another thing relating to Act V with these two opening songs, is that they could be considered to happen parallel to Act V. If Battesimo del Fuoco is the events of Act V as Casey stated, then the final motif being The Lake South reprised in A Beginning makes perfect sense as it would reasonably act as a follow up to those events. I predict that following this pattern, Act VI could begin with some sort of parallel to City Escape, unless he plans to make Act VI deviate from the cycle that appears throughout the story.
If you read my post about Battesimo, you’ll know that I was basically a metal head before this band with little to no deviation from the genre. The calm orchestrated pieces of this song really helped set a tone for this band for me, being a follow up to song with vocals only I wasn’t sure what direction this band leaned in as far as musical style. Of course things ramp up a bit in the next track City Escape, the more relaxed and playful sounds that you hear in songs like The Lake South are a fundamental part of this band. The Acts are filled with atmospheric and ambient moments, all while staying musical. While it’s hard to have strong opinions either way on these shorter songs, the early acts do a great job in presenting warm tones to help transition between the more ‘exciting’ moments.