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by Martin Popoff
"This is a tough one," laughs Gildenlow when prompted for a synopsis of the storyline. "All three albums are concept albums. And I realized that I had been dealing with the individual versus society, in a way, on all three albums, the individual and his role in society, society being comprised of all the other individuals. And that's the theme for this album as well. But through all these different topics, there have been sub-topics. And the main theme of this album is people on the backside of society, people who are often viewed as dangers to society, as sick in some sense, people who are not functioning as people should be or are considered to have mental diseases or some sort of social sickness. So we are focusing on these people and using two main characters, a female and a male. Both of them are very broken. 'Used', the first song, is presenting the male character and the second song 'In The Flesh' presents the female character. Both of them are broken in different ways. His life is oriented around violence and drugs, and her life has been marked by sexual abuse and she is very self-destructive. And both of them are seekers, seeking something true and valuable, but at the same time soaking up the filth and the pain, because neither of them are feeling very good about themselves. In the first song they meet and form this destructive relationship, but this develops and by the fourth song this become something that is more like love and this triggers Chapter 2 of this first part where the male character is starting to look at himself and going back into his history figuring out what made him the person he is today. So he goes back and the listeners are going back with him on a journey into his past. And this is where we can use several different sub-topics. That is one of the advantages of writing concept albums, that you can actually have one concept but you can also do the individual song structures lyrically. So you actually have both elements: the conceptual and the individual lyric as well."
In addition to what is a weighty album by any measure, a limited 5000 copy second pressing run of The Perfect Element includes a massive second CD chock full of video material, old Japanese bonus tracks (but not this album's Japanese bonus track, 'Epilogue', a string medley sampling earlier moments on the album), as well as an audio-only interview.
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