LYRICS: Our old mattress lies in the backyard, behind the shed where I keep our things, old cardboard boxes filled with photographs, letters, & memories. Makes for good firewood if you ask me, if we all did what we could, just might be understood, but I don’t think I ever should. Now another season’s passing, & I feel like I’ve been pissing my whole life away, all my dreams & aspirations fade, & die out with the days. Makes for good excuses to drink the blues away, & if we all did what we should, we just might be happy, but I don’t think I ever could. In the aftermath of ancient love & all its faded glory, cries the heart of every man to tell his sad, sad story. Makes for good confession to finally face the truth, if we all did what we would, things would stay the same, so find someone else to blame.
INTERPRETATION: Aftermath is my attempt at expressing an emptiness that can emanate from love, or a lack thereof. The narrative follows a man who is rummaging through the aphoristic ruins of lost love.
INSPIRATION: Aftermath was influenced by the minor tonality of Gone, Pearl Jam’s 3rd single from their 2006 self-titled album. Lyrically, Aftermath was inspired by the despondent sentiments found in Red Dragon Wishes, the 5th track off Rocky Votolato’s 2007 release, The Brag & Cuss. Both of these songs revolve around a character that is wading through the entanglement of moving past his history. Aftermath borrows from Gone’s melancholic mood & Red Dragon Wishes’ southwestern Americana aesthetic. With that said, despite its mildly dour twang, the final version of Aftermath turned out to be far darker, more mechanical, & excessively layered in contrast to my initial influences. Matt & I certainly didn’t suppress any of our prog rock inclinations regarding this particular production.
INSIGHT: Without exception, Aftermath is the most meticulously involved Shadowlands construction. From the outset, Matt & I wanted to heavily incorporate synthetic & mechanized elements to the production with intentions to parallel the emotional process of abdication with textures cold, clunky, & atonal. Harsh modulating timbres, distorted drums, dense guitar effects, & walls of feedback are all used to juxtapose a composition otherwise sullen & calmly paced. Aside from minimal acoustic guitar bedding, virtually none of Aftermath’s original folk voicings are present, instead exchanged for layers of electric guitar, syrupy synthesizers, mellotron swells, & stratified string arrangements. Hell, we even included some wind chimes & thunder tube for good measure! & to top it all off, my good friend & splendiferous guitarist Justin Jackson provided auxiliary guitar dressings which ultimately send Aftermath’s aesthetic into the stratosphere! Furthermore, Justin was kind enough to pen a few words regarding his most gracious involvement:
“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Fiorenza for several years now, & I can honestly he is one of the most talented young musicians I’ve ever met. We used to play in an alternative outfit called Ad Victoriam several years ago, & have played together in a few other outlets.
When he first told me he was going to start recording for his solo record Shadowlands, he expressed early on that he wanted me to guest on one track, to which I emphatically obliged.
Before going in to record, he sent me a rough demo of Aftermath so I could start getting ideas & riffs down. I really wanted to just add a hint of additional ambience & melody to the song. I stuck with a fairly simple tremolo-picked single note for the verses to add some atmosphere. For the choruses, staccato-delayed root notes added some extra push, & a delicate counter-melody speckled in a nice touch.
The craziest, weirdest, & most fun part was the bridge. Set in 5/4 it opened up for some experimentation. There’s some pedal looping & noodling, providing some digital silliness. & then there was the Thunder Tube; a hollow cardboard tube with a thick metal coil on the other end which makes a thunderously metallic noise when shook – way cool.” ~Justin Jackson