The guys in Eidola have a knack for writing incredible albums that leave us speechless. Their sophomore release, “Degeneraterra”, made its way into both mine and Nick’s album of the year lists and ever since we’ve been waiting for the day we could hear what they have in store for us next. Going into my first listen for “To Speak, To Listen” I had incredibly high expectations. Expectations that were met and far surpassed. Lyrically, this album hits hard. “To Speak, To Listen” may be Eidola’s most accessible album yet but still achieves the same lyrical, instrumental, and conceptual complexity fans have come to love.
But don’t take my word for it! We teamed up with Andrew Wells to deliver an incredibly thorough conceptual overview and track by track of their latest masterpiece.
*featured image provided by Lauren Klinge
Introduction and conceptual ties:
“One thing that not many people know is that our first two concept albums are connected, it’s all part of the same chronology, the same story. But since Eidola is still a relatively newer band, and this is our third installment of the series, it’s understandable that people haven’t started making those connections yet because we simply haven’t been around long enough to properly establish the narrative. With “To Speak, To Listen” we wanted to remedy that in a multitude of ways, not only by continuing the saga in a unique format, but tying everything together for the listener conceptually and sonically without compromising any integrity. Since this is a track by track for To Speak To Listen, I can just mention a brief overview of the previous concepts.
TGGE was the story of a man who was born into a myriad of unfortunate circumstances, after the death of his mother and the abandonment of his father he reaches this point of humanity and self-awareness where he starts to become an atheist and deny God in all facets of life despite the godhead trying to reach him and connect him with purpose. So the album progresses in almost a meditative format based on chakra work where the protagonist meets three teachers throughout his journey that help him in different stages. Eventually the protagonist reaches the end of his journey for enlightnement with What Lies Beneath The Mountains, and leaves his physical body. He dies. Due to the nature of his path as a yogi, instead of rebirth or a fabricated realm of heaven or hell, his soul is sent to the realm of duality and human consciousness, where he is able to observe humanity in its entirety, throughout history and the yin/yang dichotomy. This is where the concept for Degeneraterra begins.
I discussed that concept with Teal Cheese previously, because of how broad and overarching the content is, but the brief explanation is that the protagonist is in the realm of duality that Ram Dass talks about. Again, the yin and yang. Able to become an observer of the godhead and everything in creation. Once he has experienced that realm in its entirety for ages, he speaks with the Godhead about the suffering of human kind for millennia and what can be done in his universe to heal and fix the world. This is where To Speak, To Listen begins. With physical rebirth.”
“To Speak, To Listen” FULL ALBUM STREAM
1. The Abstract of a Planet in Resolve:
“Abstract was composed as an overture for ‘To Speak, To Listen’. A song that sort of serves as a compendium for the content you’re about to hear. The song is one of shortest and straight forward pieces we’ve ever written, which is exactly how an overture is supposed to be. Short, sweet, dynamic, catchy, and a prelude for aspects of everything the listener is about to experience. Conceptually, we leave Degeneraterra with the closer Omega: Third Temple, and De Coelesti Hierarchia, where our protagonist has reached the recurring end/recurring beginning of his experience in the realm of duality and transcendent consciousness. The last line of that song is “I’ve come to build the throne”, the protagonist has seen the realm of duality and the suffering that humanity endures because of this dichotomy and decides he wants to take on the weight of a demi-God, and vicariously experience the lives and faiths of the greatest martyrs and transcendent beings that have ever existed in human history in an attempt to free human consciousness from unending suffering and rebirth. So Abstract introduces the listener to the protagonist being reborn in modern society, but with the godhead’s blessing of supernatural divinity. This is really made crystal clear with the last lines of the song “I will stand on the edge of the earth as a monument to the greater good of man, to be born again.” Probably one of the most literal straight forward lines you can get conceptually, which we’re not really fond of doing, but it’s the overture and the intent is supposed to be simplified and consolidated. Again, it’s a compendium, the overture is an intentional choice.”
“The word ‘tetelestai’ means “it is finished”, and was historically used to signify the payment of a debt. In this case the song lyrically explores two meanings, the payment of a personal debt owed to another person, and the payment or consolidation of the conceptualized “greatest debt” of human sin paid by Jesus Christ. With Matt and I being raised in different faiths our idea was to facilitate an honest dialogue throughout the lyrics. Since Christianity has been a huge dominant force in the religious world for even my grandparents lifetimes, we figured that would be a good place for the protagonist to start vicariously experiencing and performing as a conduit. Exploring the psyche and faith of Jesus and His followers. This is especially apparent in the last stanza of lyrics in the song.”
I am here to bring you closure.
I won’t rest until you know yourself.
I won’t turn back. I won’t give this up.
You can’t turn back.
You can’t give me up, but if you remember divine sequence, I will return.
-Tetelestai’s last stanza
3. Primitive Economics:
“Our lyrical content for this one came from this place of observing the turmoil happening in human history right now, and taking an honest look at how it compares to the turmoil experienced by previous generations. Being born in the United States, we were all raised in the heart of capitalism. And with the recent growing dissent for that system we wanted to take a look at both sides and create a narrative around that. So much misinformation is propagated on both sides, and people tend to talk about capitalism with either unbridled patriotism or unquestionable distaste. We wanted to explore both sides and identify with everyone else in the middle ground. Just trying to get by. Since a natural counter-cultural reaction to the denial of religion or spirituality tends to be the denial of God and faith entirely, the story moves into the vein of atheism. Exploring the ideas of no faith, no rebirth, no life after death, and looking at how those ideas are being applied to the modern consciousness. How that impacts us personally and sociologically.”
“This song discusses the concept of divination, both as a religious or occult practice and for personal fortune-telling. A querent is basically someone who seeks an answer, generally someone seeking truth and clarity to overcome something in their lives. Here, the protagonist explores the realms of divination and the occult. Even some sects of satanism would fall into this category. There are numerous references to tarot in the song itself, the chariot, the heirophant, etc. They all describe a piece of the story where the protagonist is faced with these sides of consciousness, and the concept of fate and the wheel of fortune, and the role they play even in his reincarnation.”
5. Amplissimus Machina:
“Amplissimus Machina roughly translates into ‘large machine’ or ‘the greatest/biggest mechanism’. The song itself discusses the hypothesis of technological singularity, a concept recently re-popularized by Ray Kurzweil, which implies technological super intelligence and the idea of being able to convert human consciousness into data. For the protagonist, this is more of an exploration of the views of pantheism and it’s idea of a singular consciousness. Albert Einstein talked about pantheism being the only rational religious world view because of the nature of human consciousness compared to that which can be created by it, and that the inevitable exponential growth of both would lead to a singular return to the godhead. The lyrics that make this clear are in the chorus’s. Singularity assimilation.”
Entheat decode the great machine.
Departure from consistency of dogmatic assimilation.
Entheat decode the great machine.
Convergence of variation, of singularity assimilation.
-Choruses from Amplissimus Machina
“I would say this is the most personal song on the album for me. Loti is the less common plural form of the word lotus. The lotus flower is considered sacred by a handful of faiths, playing a large role in creation, awakening, wisdom, and forgiveness. I wrote this song about trying to become my greatest self and working through my path in life with humility, despite all the people who have doubted me. Spiritually the song really has a tendency to lend itself to Sikhism. The panentheistic response to Buddhism and Hinduism. However, in Sikhism both karma and liberation is modified by the concept of “God’s grace”, this is something that I identify most with personally as it bears so much similarity to perennial philosophy.”
“When you go far enough back in recorded history some elements become more of a guessing game than concrete provable fact and lineage. So we look to world history and various methods that help us date the world, even back to when we weren’t able to document it in any conceivable way. Dendrochronology is the scientific method of dating trees through their rings, and is often used to observe climate and atmospheric conditions during certain points in the earth’s history. A particular focus of this song is also on the life of Siddhartha Guatama and the history of Buddhism. In the story, our protagonist endures the same meditative longevity that Siddhartha did to explore his transcendent mind and principals. The lyrics that make this clear are something I almost never do, which is a literal reference to this real world figure. I mention Siddhartha specifically in the song.”
8. The Familiar:
“There are two meanings behind this song as well. One is a nod to Mark Z. Danielewski’s multi-volume story ‘The Familiar’. The other meaning talks about the idea of familiar spirits or ‘helpful’ spirits. This song really focuses on paganism for the protagonist, the exploration of pagan traditions and old belief structures that provided a rich faith counterpoint to the monotheistic religions of the time. A more modern polytheistic interpretation of the divine. In the lyrics this is made clear with lines like “conjure me, cast a circle, rouse my soul, say my name.” It’s an invocation.”
9. Houses Movement III: Rust/Rebuild:
“This is a track with two previous movements, one off our first self-released album and one unreleased song. In this movement, Houses refers to the House of Islam and the House of War, and the song focuses on the parallels and opposition between the two. The lyrics that really aren’t tongue in cheek about Islam and it’s huge contribution to the realm of spirituality are in the very first stanzas between me and Matt. My lyrics being “gatekeeper, have I paid my penance, sacrificed enough for you to help me ascend? Or will you seal my fate in your father’s blood?” A gross oversimplification of the Islamic view of the end of times is that Allah weighs our deeds on a scale of deeds or mizan, where the good is measured against the bad to determine a soul’s entrance into His kingdom, or his sentence into hell until his penance is paid and his deeds are balanced appropriately.”
10. Sri Vishnu Yantra:
“Sri Vishnu Yantra is essentially a song about the story of Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. In the story, Arjuna is a protagonist who wrestles with a slew of inner demons and metaphysical concepts. Krishna ends up becoming Arjuna’s guide through his trials and introduces him to the concept of Dharma, yogic principles, and the non-dualism of Atman (soul) and Brahman as its essence. So obviously this song explores arguably the worlds oldest religion of Hinduism and the great truth. The lyrics that make this clear are everywhere in the song. Especially the talking track in the middle and the end. “And I’ve lived in every voice that permeates stillness and resonates calm, in the face of every choice, I imbue clarity. And I’ve died, I’ve been reborn, I’ve seen many pious men give their lives for idol wars, if there’s one thing that I know for sure, I’ll make my way from this grave.””
11. Transcendentium Part I: Zoroastrian:
“The word ‘Transcendentium’ is essentially the third party plural form of the word ‘transcend’. So the term basically means an observation of a communal, existential transcendence of consciousness. For the closer, we divided the track into two sections to bring semblance to the duality concept in our previous album Degeneraterra. Zoroastrianism is widely considered to be the oldest recorded monotheistic religion, where an entire culture transcended into an entirely new belief system that served as a catalyst for a huge number of monotheistic faiths. So in exploring that duality, the protagonist has to see both sides. This is the embodiment of his past, his previous lives, and every experience he has had vicariously through these divine figures and modalities in an attempt to heal human consciousness and save mankind.”
12. Transcendentium Part II: Fourth Temple:
“Contrasting with Zoroastrian, this is a song tying into the Temple series from Degeneraterra. As the closer of this concept album, the song serves as a way to tie up all loose ends and really bring the album to a finish. It’s hopeful, honest, passionate, and subjective. Conceptually the song continues from where Omega left off, and explores the observation of distant futures in multiple time lines. The song ends with the line “Sahasrana, I need you now”, acknowledging the crown chakra as a true semblance of the godhead and the nature of consciousness. Our protagonist has reached the end of his journey to save mankind within his timeline, but with the knowledge of the greatest truths of pantheism, Sikhism, and perennial philosophy he knows that there is something amiss in another timeline that needs to be remedied. He has helped the human race in his timeline transcend suffering, but they have not become one with the godhead, so there is another version of him somewhere that has not been brought to truth. To the light.”
“And there you have it! The TSTL concept in full. We have already begun writing for our fourth album in the series, and with how the last song left off you can imagine a few different possibilities for how we will continue the story line. We have about 5 songs written so far, I’ll probably write the rest of the album while I’m on tour for the next four months. The name and concept have already been solidified, and I can’t wait to keep working on this story. I love the narrative and I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to explore conceptually while maintaining subjective and personal relevance.”