TheRecordLabel: Pop & Rock

Frameshift > An Absence of Empathy

Frameshift - An Absence of Empathy


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This is by far the heavier of the two Frameshift albums, understandably due to the themes. There...

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...From track four, I Killed You, I started wondering whether this was extremely good or extremely...

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In the beginning
The basic concept of Frameshift’s Human Grain was conceived by progrockrecords president Shawn Gordon. Several years ago he played keyboards for the band Zircadian and they had a partially written concept album under the name Prophet Savant which gave us the initial idea for Human Grain. In their storyline a man experiences different forms of violence because he becomes a kind of seer. They had written songs for an epic battle and two torture scenes.

In countless eMails and meetings (one including Stephan Kernbach from Chain) Shawn Gordon and Henning Pauly developed this idea into the storyline and concept that is now the new Frameshift album. They dropped the mystical approach and decided to move it closer towards a real situation, distancing the concept from being a story around a person and rather focusing on what that person experiences. In this respect the album actually does not have a real storyline, just like Unweaving the Rainbow, but a series of songs around the same topic. This time around Sebastian Bach, ex-lead for Skid Row was tapped for vocals thanks to an introduction by James LaBrie of Dream Theater who did vocals on the first Frameshift album.

Human Grain - The Concept

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent”

This quote gives you a good idea what this album is about. It is about violence, human violence to be precise. It is ever present and, in varying degrees, ingrained in all of us. Viiolence is in all of us, but the question is what factors determine who lets it show through and how does it show itself. The same questions haunts the protagonist of Human Grain. He is a curious individual who wants to know why the media is filled with news about murder, rape and war and he is afraid that he might have the potential for violence himself. He starts to research the subject, but this is not enough because it can’t show him what motivates the person that acts violently, what plagues them and it doesn’t make him feel the pain of the victims. His desire to understand one of humanity’s most basic traits leads to a series of vivid dreams that appear to be so real that he can’t escape this dream world until it is all over. In them, he becomes the killer, he becomes the rapist, he becomes the soldier, he becomes the mother crying for her daughter who was raped.

The first song introduces the theme and illustrates how our main character is plagued by his questions about humanity’s major flaw. He starts a journey into the minds of other people to experience violence first hand. At the end of the album he draws his conclusion and asks himself if there is nothing else to us than hurting each other and the answer he finds is worthy of discovery.

Human Grain takes you into the psyche of several different people who are either experiencing or acting out violence. Each form of violence is dealt with in two songs, each one shedding light on a different point view of the scenario. For example, one song illustrates a torture scene from the point of view of the torturer and the paired song takes you into the same room, this time from the point of view of the man being tortured. Another pairing is about violence in schools. One song deals with a teacher using psychological violence towards his students who then rebel and the other song is about a school shooting.

More detailed song information can be found here.

Album tracks

  • 1 - 01. Human Grain
  • 2 - 02. Just One More
  • 3 - 03. Miseducation
  • 4 - 04. I Killed You
  • 5 - 05. This Is Gonna Hurt
  • 6 - 06. Push The Button
  • 7 - 07. In An Empty Room
  • 8 - 08. Outcast
  • 9 - 09. Blade
  • 10 - 10. How Long Can I Resist
  • 11 - 11. When I Look Into My Eyes
  • 12 - 12. What Kind Of Animal

Album samples