War Remains

War Remains

On their third album, Virginia-based thrashers Enforced are pondering the Big Questions. “It’s about the cyclical nature of life and death,” vocalist Knox Colby tells Apple Music. “They’re not opposites; they’re actually complementary. When something dies, its nutrients go back into the soil and new things grow from it. For new life, it’s necessary for things—plants, animals, humans—to die.” Colby’s lyrical direction on War Remains was also informed by his interest in Stoic philosophy and a 2004 book by the late psychologist James Hillman, A Terrible Love of War. “That’s where I got the album title from,” the vocalist explains. “Hillman came to the conclusion that humans can’t exist without war. It’s so ingrained in our DNA that without it, we’d stagnate and die.” Musically, War Remains is the most frenetic and relentless Enforced album yet. “There’s no slow buildup,” Colby acknowledges. “There’s no suspense. You drop the needle, and it fucking goes. And you’re just going to have to deal with it until it’s over.” Below, he comments on each song. “Aggressive Menace” “That was inspired by the Harlan Ellison short story I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream. He’s a huge influence on me in terms of writing. I tied his story to the Stoic philosophy of Seneca to create something different, which is about being imprisoned in your body, which is withering away—which is what Ellison would bring to the table. But then, Seneca says it doesn’t matter what happens to you physically as long as you’re mentally strong.” “The Quickening” “This song is talking about people who are resistant to change, even though change is happening all the time. Once change begins and everything is moving in a different direction, if you’re not accepting and willing to change, you will break. Being stuck in tradition is ultimately your demise. And the title is saying that change is happening at a much faster pace now. Think about cell phones—what they could do 15 years ago was quaint in comparison to what they do now.” “Hanged by My Hand” “This is about dying with dignity instead of allowing yourself to be starved of resources slowly over time—and then becoming the new resource. It’s taking yourself out of the equation before someone or some company, some government, or some corporation can get their hooks in and drain you for some nefarious or capitalistic ideal. If it ever comes to that, I’ll be the first one in line to fucking off myself.” “Avarice” “The title says it all. It’s about greed becoming a virtue rather than a vice. I think greed is glorified way more now than it used to be, say, 20 years ago. You can see it in social media, you can see it in politics, you can see it in global corporations trying to pass it off as like, ‘We’re trying to do good, but we also need more of your money to do this good thing.’ Which is a lie. They say they’re donating part of the proceeds to some worthy cause, but they’re saying it to get more of your money.” “War Remains” “This basically is a total rip from James Hillman’s book. War is not the opposite of peace; war is complementary to peace. There’s been more wars than years in recorded human history. The average is like five a year. To put it in a macro sense, do you honestly believe that that will change anytime soon? You can say whatever [altruistic thing] you want on TikTok—it doesn’t change human nature. Animals will be animals—and animals fight.” “Mercy Killing Fields” “This is a very personal song about having to decide when someone else should die, with their best interest in mind, which is a hard thing to do. I was in that position in 2021 with my cousin. Retrospectively, I understand when she should have passed, but at the time, I didn’t because I held out for hope, and that was a mistake. She could have died with dignity, but she ultimately didn’t, and that could have been avoided.” “Nation of Fear” “Carl Jung talks about the mask of persona, which is the face you put on for the public, but it’s not really you. We do it to keep society running. If all of society were to rip that mask off at once, it would be mass confusion, mass chaos, mass fear, and mass violence—because everyone would actually be who they really are. They would work off their own impulses instead of dialing it back to sustain peace or social morality.” “Ultra-Violence” “This is a tricky one that I don’t fully understand because I wrote it in 10 minutes while I was writing other lyrics. But it just felt right and fit the song. It makes sense, but I don’t know how. I think it ties in with the idea behind ‘War Remains,’ how two things that seem opposite are really complementary. It’s not light versus dark; dark is just an absence of light. Silence is an absence of sound. Stillness is absence of movement. That kind of thing.” “Starve” “When you’re out of resources, you starve to death and become the resource. You could be starved of culture, starved of nutrition, starved of expression. Your voice is not being heard. Over a long period of time, you lose connection to those things, and you basically become communion. Your death keeps everyone else alive because you’re basically ground up and turned into bread. But is it really so bad that you died if your death helps to sustain others? It’s a moral quandary.” “Empire” “Heraclitus was a proto-Stoic philosopher who coined the phrase ‘You can never step into the same river twice.’ He was also a total pyro. This motherfucker loved fire. And he learned so much from fire because of the destruction that it brought, but also through all the burning of dead things—because you could spread those ashes and more abundant life would grow. So, I applied that idea to nation building. Empires rise and fall in the same way that a fire is built and dies. It’s a cycle. And I think the US will be the next empire to fall.”


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