Song of the Day: Brandtson - Days End

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When listening to music, do you ever get the feeling you’re hearing something deeply personal, and you’re not really sure if you should be listening in? Of course, recorded music is made to be heard. It’s marketed for consumption. But there are some songs that just seem so intimate it’s like you’re accidentally listening to a private conversation. “Days End” from Brandtson’s debut strikes me that way.

I was equally excited and perplexed when I first heard about this new band (in the late 90s). Six Feet Deep had been a staple in the Spirit-filled hardcore scene–passionate and preachy as that genre was known for, when the members changed the band name and style, replaced by the new “emo” tag (at the time, anyway). Gone were any sort of sermonic platitudes, in favor of narrative introspection and conversations with . . . Well, that’s just it–we don’t really know. Several songs on the album seem to be sparring with an invisible, but very real individual.

Some lines from this track slay me:

Do you care? Do you try?
Do you live?
Do you want to die?
Hold on brother of mine.
Try to see yourself from the inside.
Hold on brother of mine.
I can see the want in your eyes.

Was he talking to someone struggling with suicidal thoughts? That seems plausible at first, but then . . .

You said you wanted everything and more than I ever had.
You stood beside yourself
And said that you would never be satisfied.
Whatever happened to the reasons why we turned our lives around?
Are you pretending it was all for nothing and all just wasted time?

Clearly there was some kind of commonality that has been lost. Was it spirituality? A (former) commitment to a straight/clean lifestyle?

Doesn’t that make you a liar? Liar.
Do you remember when we said that we would never be torn away.
Why can’t you understand that
What you’ve done doesn’t have to be who you are.
I know you’re broken by the way you look at life with empty eyes.
And now you’re telling me that everything is fine.
Doesn’t that make you a liar? Liar.

I think the beauty of this song is that it’s impossible for us to know the particulars behind its inspiration. It leaves us to fill in the details of our own. Most of us can relate to feeling this way at some point. A relationship gone wrong. Oaths broken. Former commitments, though once deeply held, now gone by the wayside.

And it’s not just the lyrics that strike a chord. That dark bass intro, followed by guitar and drums . . . they take me straight into a particular emotional space that is difficult to describe, yet forces me to embrace it. There’s no hatred in the song, just sorrow. Ironically that thought mirrors a slogan Six Feet Deep used to use on band merch: “More in Sorrow than in Anger.”

For me, Letterbox is a perfect album. Nothing else the band did could ever touch it vast superiority for me. Sure, they’ve released some other decent albums through the years, but nothing as heavy–both lyrically and musically–nor as poignant as this.

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Phil metalhed
September 28, 2020 3:23 am

As much as i wish 6 feet deep had continued+ kept brandson as a side project, da first 2 brandson records had a rawness dat they lost in lata albums. Eitha way, clasic stuf+ if we cant get a 6 feet deep reunion, at least giv us a brandson reunion, am i rite?

September 25, 2020 3:17 pm

Awesome band-Remember seeing these guys back in the early 2000s. great review!

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