With their fourth album, Traum Jesters explore the insanity of a world that has completely lost its focus and sense.
This eternal damnation is embodied, witnessed and narrated at the same time by a priest whom, from the pulpit as per the album’s title, pours out all his frustration and disillusion towards the meaning of life. In a spectacular U-turn, the character loads on his back all men’s sins not to deliver us all from evil, but rather to show that even the most traditional and Manichean duality between good and evil is no more and that the world and beings are solely at the mercy of fate and uncertainty.
At first the priest attempts to take advantage of his lack of faith for good, trying to warn people and let them understand there is no saviour or leader and that everyone is alone in his fight for survival and self-determination. This Sick Empire steps on the throttle of a political slam that points the finger to modern age tyrants and swindlers of the like of Trump, Bolsonaro, and all that jazz, whose extreme individualism is just a false answer to people’s needs, and the umpteenth deceit.
This under the blows of a badass riff with a glimpse of Chemical Brothers-like electronics underneath.
But this only seems to be something innate to us: an unflinching will for belligerency and abuse.
These needs seem to be so natural as if they were coming from the Heavens, as if it was God sending them to us, sadly ponders the priest. It’s a raining Death from Above that gives no quarter and which we dare to legitimize upon divine terms. In a Freudian shift, we feel just like to “kill what we can't fuck”: black or white, you’re with me or against me.
But in the end, it all turns out to be a self-inflicted evil. We think we are fighting against a common enemy, but really “It’s your destruction, man”: we eventually become our own worst enemies. Music points this all out with a menacing and obscure melody that grows nastier over time.
And that’s what leads us to lock ourselves up in A Perfect Panic Room. An echo chamber in which we only hear what we want to and shut our heads up from any kind of external input, ending up ranting against anything, out of self-inducted fear and despair, lulled by martial drums equally inspired by Ministry and Sisters of Mercy.
The Creator of Darkness is a turning point in the story. The priest tries to impart a valuable lesson: there is no good and evil laid down from above, “The saviour and the deceiver, they share the same name”. It’s just us, we are those who can determine our ethics, consciousness, and direction. But it’s a cry to the wind that no one will hear… An evil sped-up track that seemingly winks at The Incredible Majestic Nothing from the previous album.
If there is no more dualism and morals coming from religion and men are unwilling to help themselves, then it’s the reign of chaos, the dogs of doom are unleashed, and providence is buried.
The muse of fate, whom A Love Song to the Goddess of Luck is dedicated to, is an enchanting siren whose almost biblical relationship with the priest symbolises the triumph of a post-ideological and a-religious world.
Then, it becomes even more apparent that we are running in circles like dogs or horses in a Caucus Race, wrapped in a spiral of nonsense and heading towards what we cannot even define and that therefore doesn’t even exist. It isn’t that we don’t know the answers; we don’t even know which were the questions.
In terms of personal relations, this ultimately leads to a sheer individualism and inability to walk in each other’s shoes, to feel empathy and understand that we need and feel the same. This shuts up one’s world to any sort of kindness, comprehension and, ultimately, sense.
In such a world even the worst of evils doesn’t exist. Instead, we constantly keep creating little enemies, petty grudges and looking for a pressure valve that can give our lives even a bit of meaning. We turn into carnivorous plants that make up their own food just to give sense to their existence, while “It’s the invisible that scares”, really.
And perhaps this is nothing else but a Purgatory, an illusory life we go through without even stopping to consider what we’re doing, what we get and, most of all, what we lose. We run like mad inside a tunnel with no light waiting for us at the end of it. But that’s because we first need to look into ourselves, break loose of all reins that hold us back and make us wander aimlessly, and search for our own light, our own free and unconditioned way of being the real us.
The band dips the whole story in a bath of caustic and massive riffs which are by now a trademark, now getting even deeper and better developed. Electronics still is present, especially standing out in more melodic episodes, such as Caucus Race, or in dreamy outros and breaks, like those in Unwilling to Help.
The result is a never so solid and heavy record in the band’s road map so far.
Claudio Saracino: Vocals, backing vocals and lyrics
Pierpaolo Lucchesi: Guitars, synth, bass (except 2-8-11), programming, backing vocals (8) and premix
Eugenio Zazzara: Bass (2)
Mariano Celentano: Drums: (7-10-11)
Davide Catini: Lead guitar (3)
Champions Of London: Original version by The Prodigy (No Tourists - 2018)