Photo by Joe Ellis
Bay Area melodic death metallers Light This City will release their first album in 10 years, Terminal Bloom, this Friday, May 25, via Creator-Destructor Records. Following 2008’s Stormchaser, Terminal Bloom sees a true return-to-form with its blistering complexity, hard-hitting riffs and endless earworm melodies. Longtime fans of the band will be more than pleased, while new fans will surely be converted.
In anticipation for its release, vocalist Laura Nichol and drummer Ben Murray stopped by to breakdown the album track-by-track. Murray speaks on the construction of the songs, while Nichol dissects the lyrical themes behind them. Check out what they had to say after the break and purchase the record here.
“Reality in Disarray”
Ben: This is probably my favorite LTC opener to any album we’ve done, if not my favorite song of ours ever! We had written this song somewhere in the middle of the writing period for the new album, but after a little bit of having the song under our belts, we knew it would be the opener of the record. It had all the elements of straight-to-the-point riffs that get you headbangin’ instantly, with of of course an epic intro and melodic wide open ending/climax. Ryan had the intro bit written as well, and it fit perfectly as a “Battery” type beginning of the record…
Laura: This song sets the theme of the record, lyrically. I’ve been going through a period of my life where living with anxiety is just my norm now. I manage it throughout the day, but it’s a constant presence, and it feels like death sometimes. One of my favorite lyrics that I’ve written is: “when naming the days feels like counting down,” because sometimes I’ll start the day, and a big black screen with the day written in big white letters will just flash in front of my eyes like in a movie.
“A Grotesque Reflection”
Ben: We chose this song as the first single from the record because it has a nice mix of elements -whether it’s the mid-tempo In Flames “cloud connected” type verse riff, or the blast beats/thrash elements within the chaos of the track, we thought it captured that classic Light This City song, while showcasing our tendency towards melody/twin guitar harmonies, and Laura’s undeniably pissed vocals and catchy vocal patterns! I definitely think this is one of the most well-rounded and satisfying songs we’ve written.
Laura: I’ve always had a fascination with Greek mythology, which a lot of my early LIGHT THIS CITY lyrics referenced, and I found myself revisiting similar themes while writing lyrics for ‘A Grotesque Reflection.’ Obviously, one of the big questions that myths (and religion) try to answer is: What happens when we die? Kharon is the name of the ferryman who carries you into the underworld after your death. The line ‘we have always been his passengers’ alludes to feeling like normal life and the ‘life’ of death in the underworld are actually the same thing. So, when I die, and I’m about to approach this hellish place after my death–well, what makes that so different from the life I just came from? Your reflection in the waters of the underworld is really just a distorted visage of the same reflection you looked at every day in your normal life.
Ben: This is a definite favorite from the album, and I have a feeling it’ll be a fan-favorite too, if anything just because of it’s catchy chorus and epic melodies. We wanted to do an In Flames type musical intro that lasted a while and explored different riffs, before the vocals kick in a minute or so in… This definitely feels like a song that could have been off of “Facing the Thousand”, and keeps that thrash tempo throughout the entire track. The ending reminds me of something Darkest Hour would write, with it’s openness and intense heartwrenching type simple melody.
Laura: My mom’s life inspired me to write these lyrics. She’s had a difficult time with the men in her life, and always seemed to be let down by them. My brother’s dad broke her heart when she was a teenager, and my brother broke her heart again when he passed away in 2016. She lives a full life in a lot of other ways, but I think she’s pretty much over putting her heart out there ever again. I don’t ever want to give up on love, but I can understand exactly why some people do. I think this is my favorite song on the record. When the end with all of its layers came together, it felt like an epic and triumphant accomplishment.
Ben: Ryan wrote this song, and it’s definitely one of (if not the) heaviest song the band has ever written. Ryan has always been obsessed with Metallica, and the intro riff to this beast reminded me of something Hetfield would have written, from the moment I heard it! The rest of the song just blazes forward with a thrash attack void of melody at all, really – More reminiscent of the Bay Area thrash we all worship. Ryan rips an intense solo (one of my favorites on the record), and we were also excited about the esoteric fade out outro that lacks a sense of closure, but we liked that vibe a lot.
Laura: This is my ode to Trump. Another song that sums up the theme of this record perfectly, which is why it’s the title track! The word “bloom” is usually synonymous with life, beauty, newness, but there’s always another side: death, disease, rot. I’m realizing more and more that you never ever ever get one without the other. Life’s balance system is completely natural, yet also completely fucked up. We will always try to overcome the evil of that, but is it a losing fight?
Ben: Ryan had this interlude written already, and it really just fit into the album perfectly. It’s a beautiful acoustic guitar riff that gets complimented Death-esque lead guitar swells, giving it that classic heavy metal interlude feeling, that I’ve always been a sucker for! These kinds of pieces of music seem prevalent on a lot of classic melodic death metal releases too, so I was pretty stoked to have one on our new record!
“Agents of Fate”
Ben: This was the first song we wrote for the album, and pretty much set the tone for the writing session for the record. It kicks right in with a melodic blast beat, leading into a thrashified verse, vocals kicking in quickly, and an unrelenting pace until the end of the song. There is some great twin guitar melodies in this one, and that big kind of epic halftime chorus towards the end that I think our fans appreciate about our band. Love this track, and the choice for the first music video from the record!
Laura: If this song takes you back to the lyrical content of Stormchaser, there’s a reason. I still have nightmares about someone from that time in my life, and my hatred will forever provide lyrical material.
Ben: This is another contender for heaviest song on the album, and maybe the shortest one as well! Laura sounds unbelievably pissed on this one, and the ending is the closest we’ll get to any kind of “breakdown”, although it reminds me more of a Gojira or Testament riff rather than some kind of breakdown. Regardless, it gets heavy and slowed down a bit, with a sick blues-y solo to top it off. There’s some rad elements happening in this song like a more dissonant blast beat section, a thrash-metal type verse with a stomper single kick beat… All kinds of excitement!
Laura: My brother passed away in 2016 after a long, troubled life. His demons caused a lot of pain in our family, and now I keep an eye out for similar destructive patterns in the people I form bonds with. When someone so close to you is that dysfunctional, it’s easy to gravitate to others with the same traits. Maybe it’s because you want to fix them, or maybe because it’s so familiar to you. But that can be a really dangerous habit. My brother and I were close until my teen years, and then wedges were driven and we were extremely distant for a number of years. We were in the best place we had been in a long time when he passed. His death affected my so profoundly, but my boyfriend said something like, “I don’t know why this is hitting you so hard, you weren’t even close.” And I just wanted to be like, “you don’t know ANYTHING.” But I realized that’s because I never talked about my brother. He is such a big part of me, but I push that down so far that most people don’t really understand what my brother’s life meant to me and how he has made up a lot of who I am.
Ben: This might be my favorite song on the album, as the ending riff does it all for me. In terms of the song’s structure, it was written pretty naturally and stays within the same general tempo throughout. However, there is little break from the thrash and blasts until the end, where the song opens up into one of my favorite LTC riffs ever. It gets stuck in my head every time I hear it!
Laura: This is me trying to put into words what it feels like for me to have panicky feelings, right before a panic attack. It’s the most surreal, horrifying experience. You feel like everything you know, and can see, and can hang onto, loses all of its meaning and turns into a monster.
Ben: This was another one of the first few songs we wrote for the album, and pretty early on we knew it would be an awesome closer to the record. Maybe it’s because of the finality in the feeling of the song/ending, but it just has this stomp riff at the beginning, turning into a more melodic swinging barrage of riffs. The built up/last riff of the song screamed ‘finish’ to the album, so we just went with our gut! Definitely one we’ll be playing live, too many fun parts!
Laura: Breathing and breath are recurring elements throughout this record, because they are such a part of the themes of life, death, anxiety, renewal. Sometimes it’s when I’m suspending my breathing that I can feel most calm, like everything is paused. Like I can start over.