It is quite rare that I will sit and listen to a song, and after not two minutes into feeling the words describe my life feel the desire to smash my fist through the wall in a release of sheer emotion. True, music is purely subjective, but if you’ve ever had a song affect you in such a way than you’ll understand where I come from. If you haven’t… you must be a lump, or a rock. Or a lumpy rock. Of nothing. Big lump of nothing. Yup.
Yet, it is one of singer and song-writer Nathan Gray’s (front man for BoySetsFire and I Am Heresy) new solo endeavors, a four-track EP released on January 13th which hits me with such intensity. Nathan’s vocal mastery and putting himself to the task of achieving a new level of height and clarity, while keeping his unique fervor is obvious when one compares his previous work to this new lone venture. From great to greater. This self-titled collection is a taste of things to come, and whereas I might not feel the call or desire to write upon a full length release, the shorter EP style not only leaves one clinging to the minute yet expressive words which identify us, but also has us yearning for more.
I had quite honestly never listened to his past musical accomplishments before being introduced to his newest project, mores the pity. But having been turned onto his EP, performing a little research and listening to the roots of the man himself seemed more than prudent. His previous projects BoySetsFire and I Am Heresy (which upon further research, I found to enjoy a great deal) transcend many other heavy handed hardcore/punk bands in their passion and originality, while keeping things unpretentious. A couple of examples for consideration are provided for context and your enjoyment;
We’ve all needed it to end sometime, to feel that it’s over now… so close it up and sew it shut with this hardcore melody…
For those who will not bow, and have no regrets… listen to this tune and join in the raising of the dead…
But Nathan’s four new tracks in his EP, ‘Wolves’, ‘Tomorrow’, ‘Baptismal Rites‘ and ‘Corson’ carry a different type of weight. Something more ethereal, dark and ultimately bombastic in its supremacy, the calm waters truly shiver with the leviathan from beneath. Seamless seas bely the emotion, turmoil and visceral emotion below, churned with a mastery born of years of experience coming to call in his evoking of these melodies.
It is his last song and closing track, Corson, which I find to resonate so in tune with the black flame within me.
The incredibly orchestrated and indomitable finale a ritual all its own, the words of Corson are a testament to Nathan’s ability to reach ones inner demons. The chorus, so profound in its simplicity and elegance draws together his message of vital existence;
Wash away the guilt and pain
Exist in light reclaimed,
In this life, we are vital”
It is a most haunting revelation he promotes, emboldening those of us who have dark and troubled pasts riddled with guilt and regret. Indeed not to seek help from another or a higher power, but to stand on our own foundations and fight, to make the choice that we will no longer be secondhand citizens to ourselves. For me it is a passionate plea to my younger self that what trials I overcame, yet still carry the pain of, to no longer be an agent of my bygone self. By invoking that tidal wave, the primal ability within us all to wipe the scorched earth clean and let go of all that which holds us back is a notion I feel that so many of my generation can identify with. With so many of us branching out and moving beyond the controlling dogmas and stultifying traditions of our forebears, the reminder that we are vital, we are alive and that we must be prepared to fight for our individuality is a marshalling of will unlike any other.
Welcome to a new era, and accompany Nathan Gray in all of your vital existence as he takes us on a journey of the utmost importance. That of living for ourselves, and those we cherish. Exist in the light reclaimed, and be the God you were born to be.
Keep tabs on our anti-hero at Nathan Gray Songs
For the more analytical and technically minded critics of music, Heathen Harvest Periodical did a recent review of Nathan’s EP. Read about their professional opinion here; NTHN GRY EP