This DVD comes with a 5:1 dolby surround mix of the instrumental album, and the Pelagial movie by Craig Murray, which the band is also showing as live video projections during their shows. This movie, which is the meticulous work of shooting, cutting and editing for a whole year, visualizes the journey into the depths and is an integral component of the holistic music and visual art project that is Pelagial.
The concept of the album is made evident in its title, Pelagial. Listeners will be further submersed as they journey with the band, beginning at the surface of the ocean and plunging through all five pelagic depth zones: epipelagic, mesopelagic, bathyalpelagic, abyssopelagic, and hadopelagic. In synch with diminishing light and increasing pressure as one dives or sinks deeper into the ocean, the album begins rather light and progressively gets heavier and slows as the band reaches the unfathomable depths of the hadopelagic zone, characterized by complete darkness and a thousandfold increased pressure as compared to surface level. What is amazing about Pelagial is that this is not some detached conceptual idea; this can actually be heard and felt while listening to the album.
Pelagial is one continuous piece of music. The tracks, or episodes, are connected by interludes and underwater sounds and samples taken from old submarine movies, which give the album a menacing and claustrophobic “Das Boot”-kind of atmosphere. “There are track marks, and there are actual songs built into this larger structure, but the whole album is a journey rather than a number of loose tracks… some riffs appear in the first 2 minutes of the album and then reappear 30 minutes later”, comments Staps. It’s an experience that will reward repeated listens.
This continuous downward movement is also reflected in the album’s sound: starting with a clean, produced “surface”-sound and progressing towards a more open, ambient, distorted and abrasive sound for the doomy depth-passages at the end of the album. To make that happen, Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia) had to face the challenge of mix the album in one go, which resulted in the epic amount of 288 audio tracks!
Analog to the journey from the surface into the depths of the sea, the album’s lyrics take the listener on a journey into the abysses of the human mind. Much like the protagonists in Andrey Tarkovsky’s movie “Stalker”, Pelagial is a psychological journey towards our own inner self and subconscious… “towards the essence and origins of our desires, wishes, dreams, and all the fucked up attributes inside of our own inner selves that generate and shape them, says Staps. In the movie, 3 men are travelling towards the heart of a zone at the center of which one’s wishes are said to come true. But the closer they get, the more insecure they become with regards to what they should actually wish for, and fear arises that even those wishes which they have no control over, which they may not even be aware of, might come true. The protagonists are confronted with their own nature, the true essence of their characters, and this essentially leads them to their own demise. This topic is the lyrical backbone of Pelagial. “There’s a lot of Freud-references in the song titles and lyrics, but a lot of the lyrics are very personal, and in that completely different from the -centric albums”, comments Staps.