Holding A Wolf By The Ears
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Holding a Wolf By the Ears (Bonus Version) [Explicit]
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Holding A Wolf By The Ears is the fourth studio album from Long Island's From Autumn To Ashes. Their previous 3 albums have sold over 350,000 copies collectively in the US alone and another 75,000 outside the US. Many look at the band as one of the first to introduce a melodic voice into their music to offset the murderous screaming that brings the band's heaviness to the forefront. That ying-yang vocal style has since been copied by hundreds of bands around the world, none of whom can match FATA's song writing and catchy hooks. Basically, they're all just imitators. The album brings about a change to the band's lineup. Original main vocalist Ben Perri left the band, bringing drummer Fran Mark out from behind the kit. Mark had always handled the vocals for the softer, more harmonious side of the songs, but now he gets to showcase his incredible talent for screaming as well. Holding A Wolf By The Ears is heavier, darker, and more evil than any of the band's previous work. It's sure to please old-time FATA lovers (of which there are still many) and newer music fans alike. Bottom line this is their best, most original album to date. Time to bring on a whole new set of imitators!
From the Artist
"Most of the record is just about living. At this point I don't think that music inspires me to make more music. Going out and living inspires me to make music. It seems like most people don't believe in themselves enough to take risks," he says. "So many people are unhappy - they let their happiness take a backseat to their obligations, and our society really reinforces that. Also, it seems like the middle ground between having total faith and not having any is vanishing and that middle ground was what functioned best. A lot of lyrics are inspired by the idea that extremes are dangerous." -Francis MarkSee all Editorial Reviews
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Perhaps the best example of Nietzsche's writings, and Fran's subsequent views of modern decay can be seen in "Daylight Slaving". To being, Nietzsche's 1885 book "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" speaks of the Übermensch and how these select people will overcome "the herd" and see life for what it really is. Nietzsche wrote that at the beginning of life, the Übermensch experience great confusion and a feeling of being lost. The songs chorus of "Every battle has been fought and everything I think was thought // Down we, down we've descended // Every day keeps getting shorter as my sleeves start getting longer and the sidewalks overflow // We patronize pedestrians with no sense of direction // I am lost and can't ask a question" clearly shows the struggle of finding an existence in an inherently meaningless world.
Nietzsche's notion of eternal recurrence (the idea that every event and every thought has already happened and will happen an indefinite amount of times) is clearly seen in the line "Every battle has been fought and everything I think was thought."
"Down we, down we've descended" shows how the human spirit has suffered over the past few generations with the desensitization of violence and encouragement of becoming one with the masses, or "the herd" as Nietzsche would put it.
"Every day keeps getting shorter as my sleeves start getting longer and the sidewalks overflow" is a statement to how much emphasis we put on employment. It shows that we are increasingly becoming dependent on what we're told to do and how silly it is to remain true to our dreams.
"We patronize pedestrians with no sense of direction // I am lost and can't ask a question" put into context means that those of us who do questions 'the system' are more or less laughed at. We're held down by a society that isn't interested in finding out what it means to exist and would rather sit in front of their TV's while wasting their lives away. This is the most major struggle in life, and there is simply no one to seek answers from.
In the song "Delusions of Grandeur" we told right in the title how the masses find it idiotic to try and find yourself.
"We're living much too comfortably for me // Keep drifting, keep drifting aimlessly." This goes right back to the main point of the song that material possessions are running the world and how hard it is to find your way out of this ring of fire.
"You're something like a canvas that's been stretched and primed // You could become something priceless or you could be a waste of time" this is Fran explaining to you straight and clear that if you're looking into his music, then you're obviously searching for a way to define yourself. Everyone has the chance, but do you leave it or fight for it?
And of course the chorus "I need a meaning I can get behind // To be alone is to be alive // A better message to subscribe to // To be alone is to be alive // This is the best time to be alive // To be alone is to be alive // This is where complaining gets you // To be alone is to be alive" is a lesson from Fran telling you how you can accomplish the previous point. Find a meaning you can define yourself in, something you can support with your entire existence, don't blame your faulty actions on others, this is the best time to accomplish as so much sources and materials are right in front of you and to accomplish this feat you must decide on your own. No one can make your decisions, you and only you are in control of your life and don't let anymore make you think any different.
Moving onto "Everything I Need" reiterates everything said so far in more basic, understandable terms. The majorly corrupt concept of Christianity that has blinded many people in a false faith is shown in the lines "Innocent victims, they don't exist // Who told you this? // Outfit the nation with a blindfold and a crucifix // Infinite wisdom, a bullet for the pacifist // Improving methods to cripple the populace." It should also be noted that Nietzsche was a major antagonist of Christianity as he believed that is also a false faith meant for nothing more than blinding "the herd." I cannot say for sure or not if Fran is an atheist (never seen an interview where he discusses it), but I if I had to make a guess I would assume that he making more of a critique on modern, corrupt religion rather than a call for all to used phrase of "God is dead."
The song goes on with insightful lyrics as "Our fathers left behind the ugliest inheritance // Innocent victims // Its every kid who has a wish // Oh God you're in for the greatest disappointment." These lines are self explanatory and more or less claims that the generations before ours has ruined a large chunk of civilization that we are inheriting and meant to make something out of a terrible situation.
The most coded song from the album is "A Goat in Sheep's Rosary" and while I could go through every line giving my shot at an explanation, I'm only going to pick out the ones that are of utter importance to the album, and it also should be noted that this song ends the album for these precise reasons.
The chorus: "If it were not for this extensive book collection // I would know not what I've found // This world would still be flat // Mary would be a virgin // And I would still be sleeping sound" is a statement on how important it is to educate yourself and not take everything word for word you'll learn from the subjective textbooks of public (government) education. Look into alternative sources and make decisions for yourself and "wake up" in a sense.
The ending of the song may be the most important part of the album, as it states: "They say this country was based on hard work and integrity and worship in God. That's a lie. It was built on murder man. Mayhem, slavery and oppression. Lies, stealing and killing--that's what it's based on." This again shows how important it is to make conclusions based on your own observations and not what you are told to think. Live your life the way you want it to be. More lyrics to support this thought can be seen in: "When no one is ever right // And out on the fertile plains // We bathe in fractured rays of sunlight."
I would really enjoy to go into detail with each song from the album, but to accomplish that in a simple review on Amazon would be quite the challenge. I encourage everyone to read and think the songs mentioned above as well as some the other great tunes that can be found throughout the internet with a simple search (I highly recommend: Pioneers, What Good is My Virtue?, Hand the Mason, Y2K). The only thing I can hope for is that people consider Fran's and FATA's music in a different manner with a fresh outlook on what is possible. I may be looking into this too much, but when pointed out in specific examples that it is impossible to conclude that Fran just "wrote some lyrics" for the hell of it. He's an extremely intelligent being with a highly philosophical view on life which makes him one of the leading existentialists out there today. What was written philosophy in the past 200 years has died, making the headway for music and the power of the lyric to show us what is possible. The name of the album itself comes from a Thomas Jefferson quote in which he says, "...we have the wolf by the ear and feel the danger of either holding or letting him loose." You are the wolf. Don't hesitate--define who you are and do not let anyone stop you.
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