Vital Vessels Vindicate



Vital Vessels Vindicate is the last piece of Act II, and with it we see the last of the City, Ms. Leading, and the Pimp/Priest. At least for a while. After Hunter’s breakup with Ms. Leading, and subsequent arguing and heartbreak, he decides to leave the City behind him. Hunter enlists in a war happening overseas, and departs from his home once more.

The title of the track is more than just a cryptic alliteration. The vessel has a dual meaning, with the first being the boat he travels on to the new land. This is a vessel of vindication, as it allows him to leave his pain behind and begin anew. The vessels could also be blood vessels. These vital vessels are symbolic of his life, and how he may clean the blood from his hands if he moves far away and pretends it never happened.

Into The Lyrics


Salt in the sky in the sweet summer air while mammoths depart
Abandon despair with thirsty affairs of the heart
But the chances of escaping my heart are inadequate
And when all is said and done, I’m left with my history

Goodbye, my eyes shed heavy tears
One for every soul still sitting on the fence between
Pain and arrogance

Ebb to the left, flow to the right
The exit’s unflawed
The boys on the train, the almighty tongue
With prose spilled in vain

Goodbye, my eyes shed heavy tears
One for every soul still sitting on the fence between
Pain and arrogance

We fall beneath the sea of dreams
And fail to breathe until we resurface
We fall beneath the sea of dreams
And fail to breathe until we awaken again

Sing softly sing me to the lake, sing softly bring me to the lake
(The flame is gone, the fire remains)
Sing softly sing me to the lake, sing softly bring me to the lake
(The flame is gone, the fire remains)
Sing softly sing me to the lake, sing softly bring me to the lake
(The flame is gone, the fire remains)

Through all of this, I’ve felt just the same
The flame is gone, the fire remains


The ships leave shore, heading off to war. These large metal vessels are referred to as mammoths, which we’ve seen before in the Act II CD booklet when the word is used for the Delphi Express. Hunter is leaving the City behind, to forget about his broken love. He knows that his feelings will stay with him, as his experiences are what makes him who he is, but in frustration and heartache he does the only rational (?) thing he can think of, which is to go to war.

The ebb and flow of the waves beneath him carry him away from his past. Previously, in The Oracles on the Delphi Express, I talked about the line ‘exits illustrate the flaw’. One of Hunter’s main flaws is leaving a situation any time it gets bad, rather than sticking to the hand that he’s dealt. He runs away, afraid of confrontation. Now, he sees this opportunity to leave to war as an unflawed exit, although that’s far from the truth. Once again, the song refers to the Oracles and how their warnings were ignored, their omnipotence was wasted on a boy who did not listen.

The next section is a reprise of The Bitter Suite III, both musically and lyrically. Hunter abandons his life and allows the sea to take him away. He is mercy to the ocean, as the ships take him forward. This is also foreshadowing a future event (probably multiple of them actually). The Lake was his home, the River guided him to his mother’s old home when he was lost before, and now the Ocean carries him to a war of death, as he is lost again.

Then we go further back. The next section is another reprise, of His Hands Matched His Tongue. The lullaby his mother sang to him. The guidance of the water. He remembers her and it calms him. He thinks of the Lake, his old home, and his journey forward to the unknown yet again. ‘The flame is gone, the fire remains’- the actions are set in motion and now life reaps what was sown. Ms. Terri’s raising of Hunter to avoid the City, led him to the City and now beyond. Hunter’s fire with Ms. Leading may be in the past, but the affect it has on him will continue to be his motive. His new direction is the light created in spite of her.

Into The Music

The main beginning melody pops up all over the place in the Acts. This is the third time it’s appeared actually. It happens at 2:43 in Smiling Swine, it happens at a few points in the vocals at the end of Black Sandy Beaches, and it here it is again. It also will happen a few more times. An idea that I’ve seen about this melody from reddit user u/TemporalShrew, “I think it's pretty much symbolic of the collapse of Hunter's and Ms. Leading's relationship, or of separation in general. In that sense, it appears almost in the background of Smiling Swine to foreshadow this, because Smiling Swine is when Hunter is absolutely giddy about his prospects with Ms. Leading. It's basically the music quietly implying he's getting ahead of himself.”

The piano starts in C major playing the main melody, and the drums and orchestra join in after a few bars. Casey begins singing soon as well, and then the backing vocals shortly after. The verse and chorus stay generally minimal in complexity with nothing straying away from the key.

After the second chorus, we get the reprise of The Bitter Suite III. The lyrics have been shifted to give a slightly different meaning, as this time instead of letting Ms. Leading guide him through the motions, it’s now the waves beneath him. The last phrase in the section adds in a Cm chord, to transition into the next reprise. The piano transition plays the main melody, but the root chord modulates down a half step with each measure, from C to G. The final few bars play a G major chord with a minor 6th, which is coming from a C harmonic minor scale.

For the His Hands Matched His Tongue reprise, there’s alternating Fm and E chords, until the bass and vocals step down from E to arrive at the original C major chord. The last line is sung over alternating Dm and G chords, staying in the key of C, until the main melody is played again. This repeats until a fade out, and we get the sounds of the ocean and the seagulls once again, but this time with the sound of the boat in the distance as well. The song ends in an orchestral piece with the strings as the main center, until a crescendo that ends abruptly.

The song fades with another slow reprisal of the melody from The Lake South, as Hunter begins a new chapter of his life.

Closing Thoughts

At this point with so many references happening back to back, I feel like I’m writing in riddles. Many of the same points are being made over and over, with new meanings behind them each time. And new points are being made with the same morals at play. With Act II over, I’ll take a small break from the Acts to highlight another artist for a couple entries, and then I’ll come back and begin on Act III, Life and Death.

These entries take a lot of time and effort, and sometimes my brain just doesn’t want to work with me. I appreciate the readers of this for taking an interest in the band, as well as my thoughts on the story and the concepts at play. I’m always open to others putting in their thoughts, as I’m making amendments to these entries any time I gain new insight on a topic. I want these to be as complete as they can be in explaining the ideas that come from the Acts and any other stories I explore. Thank you once again for reading, and be sure to let me know if you have any of your own ideas that I missed.