Melbourne deathcore act Mélancolia have today shared their highly-anticipated debut album HissThroughRottenTeeth, via Greyscale Records and Nuclear Blast Records. The conceptual record follows the torturous birth, life and death of a fallen deity who is reincarnated as a human and doomed to repeat this painful cycle.
Mélancolia use graphic storytelling, guttural screams and eerie soundscapes to create a lingering sense of dread throughout. With album art reminiscent of Justice For The Damned’s Pain is Power, the eight-track project is an impressive offering – albeit harrowing listen – that deserves the hype it has caused.
Vocalist Alex Hill takes us through the album track by track to share the meaning behind it and how it came together.
I had the intro of this song written in my head for about 3 months before I ever put pen to paper, or so to speak. Instrumentally, I wanted it to give off the sonic equivalent of a classic horror movie jump scare.
Conceptually kicking off the album with our protagonist (probably more of an antagonist, really) being born into existence as a human infant whilst still being fully self-aware of its once-omnipotent state, powerless to do anything outside of the bounds of infantile human flesh. I wrote this song to have a bit of everything from the album: melody, dissonance, aggression, speed, ambience and, above all else, melancholy.
Lyrically, the song serves as an observation of how frail and flawed the human form is (especially in an infant state), as well as to make the point that no one gets a say in being brought into existence, yet we are the ones who have to deal with it.
Dread Will Follow
Instrumentally written to be faster-paced (I think all second tracks on any release should be faster-paced). More of a live crowd pleaser, riffier and more sinister.
Lyrically, the story fast forwards slightly – this song takes place to a more grown character who has had the chance to experience life to a certain degree. Focusing more on the struggle of one’s own mental health, in short explaining that it only keeps getting worse as you get older. A decaying body is partnered with a decaying state of mental health – ‘After the curse of life, only dread will follow’.
I wanted this track to have more of a traditional deathcore-style riffing to it while still maintaining its atmosphere, utilising a lot more tremolo-style picking, blast beats and breakdowns. A lot of modern Aborted and Cattle Decapitation shine through on this track.
Lyrically, the song is about the character traversing the culture of humans this song takes observation of, organised religion – namely the catholic church. The deity becomes disgusted at the coverups of sexually abusive activity with the church, as well as the notion of using a fear of hell to incite control and manipulate money out of people.
All the while, knowing as a once-omnipotent being that they are doing everything completely contradictory to what they are supposed to represent. This song serves as an anthemic revolt against organised religion – ‘Mark the sign of the cross, this is now heathen season’.
When Shovels Drag on Concrete
I wrote the title of this song before I wrote any riffs – I knew I wanted the start of the song to sound grinding and sharp, not unlike the sound of a shovel being dragged along concrete. This song builds into a really metalcore/melodic section, which sounds fairly far-removed from the start of the song, but I made sure to keep it cohesive; I wanted the instrumental to be a journey in itself.
Lyrically, the song takes observation of the overall greed of the rich and the envy of the poor. ‘Paint me envious in greed, the grass is greener where the sun doesn’t reach/ We line our pockets with the blood of the meek,’ are two lines that probably best sum up the song.
The Hands that Tied the Noose
I remember this song just pouring out of me instrumentally, one of the easier ones to write. It takes a bit more influence from a very unlikely combo: Atreyu and Gojira. I’m a massive Atreyu fan, so it’s inevitable that the influence ends up in my writing. As for Gojira, I’m admittedly not a massive fan, but the guitarist of my old band (Alex Bell of Misery Guts) is and I’m massively influenced by his writing; the guy is a genius at composing.
Lyrically, the song is a cry of frustration towards the deity’s human parents for bringing him into this world to the point of wishing death upon them, eventually taking that matter into his own hands – ‘Make an orphan out of me’.
This song was probably changed the most once we hit the studio. The overall structure and vibe of the song was there, but I wasn’t overly satisfied with the main riff and pre-chorus section. Most of all, it needed a breakdown. Enter our producer: Declan White. Probably the most heavy-handed producing on the album, he completely turned the song around and shaped it into what would become our second single.
The intention instrumentally was to embrace my inner Dani Filth vocally. It seemed fitting as it felt very much like our interpretation of a deathcore Cradle of Filth song.
Lyrically, at this point in the storyline the main character has now gotten to a point of near numbness, becoming accustomed to the pain of living. The only time it is truly feeling alive is when it’s inflicting pain on others or itself. An ode to Sadomasochism.
The title track – my personal favourite on the record. Written start to finish in one sitting and had the most minimal changes. This was always intended to be the most moody song on the album, I wanted it to breathe and build.
The breakdown is also my favourite of all the breakdowns on the album, heavily influenced by my old band Athenas Wake. Lyrically, we are at the point of suicidal ideation. The deity sees no worth in continuing the spiral down the mortal coil it despises so much. ‘Lower than south, lower than hell’.
…a cold static eulogy
This was the first riff I wrote after not picking up the guitar properly for almost two years. It was so early on that I didn’t even have the idea of a band in mind, I was just writing for the sake of writing. Once I started to piece this song together, I knew immediately it was the closing track.
The chorus feels like a more traditional black metal section. It oozes sadness and a longing. My two favourite things about this track is how the track prior transitions perfectly into this track, and how the end of this loops perfectly back into Horror_Ethereal if you have it on repeat. The latter of which is a metaphor for the lyrical content.
The deity tries to take its own life only to realise that once it does it is reborn to endure life all over again in a cycle that ends the same every time.
HissThroughRottenTeeth is available now everywhere. Follow Mélancolia on Facebook and Instagram for more.