I didn’t want to like this band. I assumed they were hollow megastars like all the pop musicians you see on TMZ (two of them start with a K…).

Boy was I wrong. I got into Vessel and Blurryface only a few months ago, purely out of curiosity.

The thing that struck me was how dark their tunes were, yet so full of hope. It reminded me of My Chemical Romance, my favorite band since 2006.

I began to explore the concept and themes of Blurryface, which is also strikingly similar to My Chem’s Black Parade, both by being a concept record and by having songs that switch out joy and nihilism at the drop of a hat. As the fans know, Blurryface represents inner demons and insecurities – being afraid to create art, afraid to advance in a career, afraid of relationships, afraid of who you are – “My name’s Blurryface and I care what you think.”

I’ve spent a bit of time talking about Blurryface because that character sets the stage for the Pilots’ latest effort, Trench. On this record, the name of insecurity – Blurryface, remember – seems to have been swapped for Nicolas Bourbaki, a name the Pilots borrowed from an historical pseudonym for a group of French mathematicians who, among other things, tried to prove the existence of God mathematically. Also known as Nico, this strange being with a face of pale and dark and a cloak of red leads a group of 9 “Bishops” – characters referenced on the Blurryface record that seek to control the population through depression and a religion called vialism, which worships neon colors within glass and gravestones (a metaphor for the glitz and glamour of fame, suicide, and the conflict that some sufferers of depression find addictive). This group chases a man named Clancy – front man Tyler Joseph’s new persona – through a land called Dema, which is basically depression incarnated as a city. Throughout the album, Clancy must put on his Jumpsuit – a form of protection symbolized by yellow, a color the Bishops can’t see. To manifest the Junpsuit, Clancy must struggle to make his art – his main weapon against the darkness (“Let there be light” “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not comprehend”) while seeking help from the Banditos, a group of people whom he loves (representing Joseph’s friends, family, and fans).

That’s the concept behind Trench. Confusing? Over thought? Or brilliant? In my opinion, all three. The lyrical narrative flows effortlessly over thunderous bass, chill ukulele, occasional guitar, groovy synth, and complex drum beats. On top of all this, the vocals are the best Joseph has ever offered us…I used to prefer the insecure, unique vocals of No Phun Intended and Vessel, but it seems that confidence has won the day for this band – the vocals, as well as the music, seem downright cocky…Joseph knows that his last Grammy award winning album was the first one in history to have every track go platinum. It doesn’t come across as arrogant though, and the same goes for Josh Dun’s better than ever drum lines….it comes across as a cohesive completely self-actualized work of art.

Though the concept is quite tight, each song can still stand on its own. A few personal themes even show up without the guise of metaphor, such as in “Smithereens”, where Joseph croons about selling out and writing slick songs for his wife. No, I don’t think the band has really sold out, but he’s certainly kept up with modern day pop and transformed his indie sound to match (is selling out even real? Or do musicians grow…simply wanting to make tunes that sound GOOD?)

The best songs are the deep ones. Underneath something like a digital guitar riff, “Morph” questions faith in God, and specifically the afterlife, with the juicy lyric “There’s no above or under or around it. For above is blind belief, and under’s sword to sleeve, and around is scientific miracle…let’s pick above and see.”

“Chlorine” uses the metaphor of a cleaning agent to discuss the difficulties of creating art, and “Neon Gravestones” cuts to the quick about our nation’s fascination with suicide. Tying in with the fictional vialism religion, and beneath haunting piano reminiscent of the Pilots’ self-titled LP, Joseph encourages the listener to continue living and resist the urge to go out with a bang and seek glitzy fame through ending ones own life.

“Neon Gravestones try to call for my bones….but they won’t get ’em.”

Some songs on Trench directly connect with past Pilots albums. “Levitate” borrows lyrics from “Car Radio”, and “Nico and the Niners” spouts the lyric “Dema won’t control us.” While this is obviously a reference to the fictional Dema city of depression, it sounds almost like “demon”, which calls to mind “Ode to Sleep” and many other songs from past albums about overcoming personal demons.

That’s the main thing I like about twenty one pilots. Everything they do connects together – every song, every album, and it’s all very well constructed (see Trench’s album cover for example – a black vulture, a theme common to this record signifying an ancient religion called Zoroastrianism that fed the bodies of Saints to actual vultures. This, in turn, is a metaphor for the Pilots’ music being picked apart by the public, and Joseph “feeding on death” through his lyrics about mental health.)

While it doesn’t resonate with me emotionally in the same way as Vessel and No Phun Intended, Trench is without a doubt the best twenty one pilots record. It’s the smartest, the best written, the most visual, and the most sonically pleasing thing the band has ever done. It’s just not my heart’s favorite…purely for sentimental reasons.

If they do any better on the next album – a feat that seems impossible – I may pass out for days due to sheer awesomeness.

10/10

(Still not as good as “Blasphemy” from No Phun Intended – again, purely for personal and emotional reasons)

By the way, Hi Everyone. I’m back.

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I’ve contributed an article to Let Your Geek Sideshow, a blog from Sideshow Collectibles. This article is about the science behind the fiction in the Jurassic World franchise. Check it out! There’s all kinds of cool stuff on this blog – podcasts, lists, features about your favorite monsters and superheroes, and much more. And if you’re a collector, you’re in luck – Sideshow produces the most quality fan memorabilia on the market.

https://www.sideshowtoy.com/geek/jurassic-fact-the-science-of-fiction-in-jurassic-park/

As the vinca in bloom

So is the variety of familial

Love, so true, so bright

Multicolored, but sharing

The same veiny leaves, green

We don’t do so well in shade

Let the rays pour down!

A monsoon of light, living brightness

And, as the sun patiens in the pot

Out base, our roots go out into the soil

The rich, textured, moist granules

Of our tiny little home

Wake up, oh sun!

Infuse us with life!

We will comb the breadth of totality

Here comes the bridegroom

In radiance, from the nineteenth chapter

Until now, as the child digs a hole

It matters not where we are planted

So long as there’s light, and the crystalline liquid

Of love

The sun (the Son)

The soil (the home)

The light (the Light)

The seed (the bloom)

The death (the birth)

“Damn it, Farlow! Just bones in them arms? Got any grit?”

Douglas Farlow’s supervisor growled these words from a head atop a pair of ubermacho shoulders. Doug, on the other hand, was “average”, which is a merciful way of saying he was weak and frail. He had been loading the 50 pound buckets of spices into the truck for over 15 minutes. His arms ached like hell, but not as badly as his soul.

Doug knew he wasn’t cut out for this. It wasn’t just a matter of his physical strength, it was also the fact that he knew in his heart that he was meant for something different. Not something BETTER (except for HIM, that is), just different. He had been sending his poetry series, “Beauty in a Nihilistic World: God Save the Overman”, to both small and large presses for weeks. Meanwhile, his rent was due….which is what landed him at the Toyler Grove Spice Company hauling buckets into trucks for hours on end. He thought if only….

“DAMMIT FARLOW!!! GETCHA BLOODY HEAD OUTTA THE CLOUDS! PUSSY!”

Doug dropped the bucket right then and there, finally facing his fears of the supervisor. He would walk right up to the talking sack of meat and tell him what for.

He marched stoically towards his tormentor and put his face inches from the man’s head (chest, to be more accurate. Douglas was quite a short man).

“Well?” Barked the supervisor. “Boy got sommat to say?”

Doug wanted to tell the red, pulsing nincompoop that he was a belligerent, grimy, uneducated fool. When confronted with a stronger man, Doug would imagine the muscled brain attempt to digest a passage from Nietzsche (this gave him a good laugh and permitted him sleep). Doug wanted to tell his superior, as well as the rest of the world, that he had nothing but contempt for a CERTAIN kind of working man – one who bemoans the meek, scientific man…who believes that the only real work is achieved through sweat and repetition (“That’s all right,” thought Farlow. “Automata will soon replace all the toiling human beings.”).

Doug felt the same way about the celebrities…they may have lived in luxury, but they still thought themselves better than the average joe (especially if the Joe were scientific). Politicians were even worse, for at least celebrities had no pretense about TRYING to appear as upstanding, moral individuals. All the greedy trolls in Congress did the same thing as the sex stars, but they masqueraded it with the appearance of selflessness and the giving of alms (much less than they could truly give). It was only an appearance, for they were in actuality the rich, powerful elite.

Will….the domineering will to succeed….POWER is the key to all success upon this planet…..that is–

“You’re fired, you pussy!”

Doug left without saying a word, went to his apartment, and climbed into bed, having intense nightmares about machines and big, brutish men. If only the poor man would realize that though he himself felt judged by all his flawed conscience saw as superior, he himself judged the people of Earth with an even dirtier harshness. We can only pray that the words “hope”, “compromise”, and “release” will someday have meaning for him.

Cycle

Birth death renewal and I can’t breathe

I’ve lost my light I dropped my torch inside

This vacant

Tunnel

I search for trouble

Cause at least then I would feel something

Inside

I’ve looked for years

With empty eyes

What’s dark in me won’t you

Illumine

It’s all my fault we all lose our way

Stretch out your hands and keep the wraiths at bay

I

Can’t

Find my way through this damned labyrinth

I’m

Running out of thread

I

Won’t

Find my way I’ll say the Hell with it

I’m on the verge of giving in

I’ve tried it all

Chased vanity

I’ve looked for calm

But it always strays (tossed by the waves)

It’s not my fault that you’ve lost your way

Stretch out your hands and keep the demons at bay

I

Can’t

Find my way through this damned labyrinth

I’m

Running out of thread

I

Won’t

Find my way I’ll say the Hell with it

I’m on the verge of giving in

I hope someone up there

Can save me

That’s what everybody says

I plead are you up there

So save me

I need to pray for someone else

Save me

(These are lyrics to a heavy metal song I’m recording)

The extremely awesome journal known as The Poet’s Haven Digest has published one of my poems, “So Prays the Pray” in one of their anthology collections. Over 40 amazing writers contributed to this issue, “Darker Than Fiction”, with stories and poems centering on real life murder, crime, and evil…the sad truth that our world is even more vicious than the movies. My poem is an ode to victims. Please check out their website, buy a copy, and check out the other collections they have to offer. It’s all very quality work.

Poet’s Haven: Darker Than Fiction

Check out my music page! The first two songs, “Wish Upon a Reset” and “Old winter Trees” Are brand new. The two songs each come from their own genre, dance and jazz, respectively. The band logo is also something I created, and it contains hidden messages/symbols. Who can tell me what they are?

PSYCHE’S REVENGE

A beginning

A genesis, inception…

The germination of nothing less than our own hearts

And here, amid the sweet, ambrosial scent of rain

And the Pitter patter of a tiny car mechanic

We realize ambitions

Our hearts, our minds, and even our pens work as one

And the art –

The special, idyllic innovations created by a hybridized heart –

Yes, that art will speak for ourselves

The Germs: Forming

Infiltration, numbing your minds. Concentration, weve done time. Rip them down, hold me up, tell them that I’m your gun. Pull my trigger I am bigger than…

Marilyn Manson: Crucifixion In Space

This is your creation. The Adam Of Eden was a bomb. (ADAM bomb ATOM bomb haha I love it)

My Chemical Romance: Vampires Will Never Hurt You

Can you take this spike? Will it fill our hearts with thoughts of endless night…time…sky…can you take this spike? Can you wash away this jet black feeling?

My Chemical Romance: Destroya

Don’t believe what they say

We’re dead flies in the summertime

They leave us all behind

With duct tape scars on my honey

They don’t like who you are

You won’t like where we’ll go

Brother, protect me now

With blood they wash in the money!

You don’t believe in God

I don’t believe in luck

They don’t believe in us

But I believe we’re the enemy!

Underoath: Casting Such a Thin Shadow

In a picture perfect scenery, I’ve become a stick figure illustration.

Fall Out Boy: XO

To the “love”, I left my conscience pressed

Between the pages of the Bible in the drawer

“What did it ever do for me?”, I say

Green Day: Jesus of Suburbia

I’m the Son of rage and love, the Jesus of Suburbia. From the Bible of none of the above, on a steady diet of

Soda pop and ritalyn. No one ever died for my sins in hell as far as I can tell, at least the ones I had gotten away with

And there’s nothing wrong with me. This is how I’m supposed to be. In a land of make believe, they don’t believe in me.

Avenged Sevenfold: The Stage

It took the birth of sin to snake-rattle the mind

Before a blow to the head by the gavel of time

To wake up

Won’t you wake up?

When did the walking apes decide that nuclear war

Was now the only solution for them keeping the score?

Just wake up

Can’t you wake up?

Marilyn Manson: Angel With the Scabbed Wings

He is the angel with the scabbed wings, hard drug face, wanna powder his nose? He will deflower the freshest crop, dry up all the worms with his rock and roll sores.

My Chemical Romance: It’s Not a Fashion Statement, It’s a Deathwish

When you go, just know that I

Will remember you.

If living was the hardest part, we’ll then one day

Be together.

And in the end we’ll fall apart just as the leaves

Change in color.

And then I will be with you. I will be there.

One last time now.

Well when you go, just know that I

Will remember you.

I’ve lost my fear of falling. I will be with you. I will be with you.

This one is my own…just funny.

Monkeys with guns, haha, that’s all we are. King fucking Kong didn’t get very far.

One of the best poems I’ve ever read. If you’ve ever lost somebody, you would love this. Check it out!

PlumbRose


Bright Beauty,

A woman from dust whose skin is pale.

She sat at the edge of a tree,

With her wings spread far.

She was placed in a white robe.

Her smile was enchanting.

It would send cascades of hope to you.

But if you gazed upon her eyes

They would capture you,

Pulling you fast into a new world

Where they say it is more real than here.

A place where she says our Father lives.

She reads words from His book and tells me

“It is beyond comprehension.

That no eye has seen,

That no ear has heard.”

His words pounded like thunder through my ears.

……….

As I looked at Her hair (it was long and blonde),

She left behind a shadow

That cast her legacy.

It swallowed me up

In a mixture of dark suffering.

I fell onto a path that had been laid out for…

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