You maybe aware that May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this is hugely important to us at Rock Out Stand Out. This edition of album of the month is honouring this. Some of our team members have chosen albums that either describe lyrically and/or musically what living with mental illness and/or aspects of it, uplift us during tough times with our mental health and by musicians that lost their lives to mental illness.
Lotty: Nightwish – Imaginaerum
This was an old favourite of mine from nearly a decade ago and I have recently stumbled across it again. It’s a concept album that tells the story of an elderly former composer named Thomas Whitman who has lapsed into a coma after years of suffering from multi-infarct dementia. This coma sends him into his childhood’s sinister fantasy world where he tries to gain his memories back.
The album Imaginaerum contains a versatile selection of songs. You have your typical NIGHTWISH sounding songs such as Storytime, Ghost River, The Owl, The Crow & The Dove and Last Ride Of The Day. When I say typical, I mean this in the most complimentary way possible. This typical sound is why they are one of my favourite bands. You have the brilliant folkiness of I Want My Tears Back, the bluesy sounds of Slow Love Slow, Scaretale that takes me back to my days of discovering Tim Burton and celtic ballad that is Turn Loose the Mermaids.
For those who don’t know, a film was released with alongside the album. When I first watched it over ten years ago, I had high expectations due to being biased as NIGHTWISH are one of my favourite bands. I liked to the film back then but wasn’t overly into it. I watched again with a slightly more level head and neutral expectations. This time round, I ended up highly enjoying it. I even cried. Aesthetically, the visual metaphors of certain aspects are stunning. For example; the tracks of the roller coaster start falling apart in the fantasy world are a representation of Thomas’ mind doing the same thing. Whether it’s a full song or excerpts from them, the music from the album naturally fits in with in the film.
I haven’t experienced dementia myself but I can imagine it must be frightening when you are unsure of where you are and things that were clear are now becoming foggy. I personally think everything is done well in both album and film to portray aspects of dementia. Recently, someone in family passed away due to dementia and my granddad is currently in the early stages of it so both album and film are very personal to me now. I recommend both album and film.
Note: If you were to watch the film, there is a suicide depicted on screen so viewer discretion is advised.
Find NIGHTWISH on Facebook.
Jack: Audioslave – Audioslave
For Mental Health Awareness Month, I decided to go down the route of a fantastic, earth-shattering
musician who devastatingly lost his battle with mental health back in 2017 – Chris Cornell.
He had a voice like no other and this is evident on AUDIOSLAVE’s self-titled debut album. The
supergroup consisted of the remaining members of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE – Tom Morello,
Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk alongside SOUNDGARDEN’s Chris Cornell. Together they crafted
(with the help of legendary producer Rick Rubin) what in my opinion is a masterpiece.
The album opens with the iconic Tom Morello signature helicopter guitar riff before breaking out
into true rock and roll heaven! The 13 tracks to follow are all, in their own way, perfect. A few
personal highlights of the record include the opening track Cochise, Show Me How to Live, the
‘standout’ Like A Stone and the slower, balladesque I Am the Highway.
I never had the pleasure of seeing AUDIOSLAVE or Chris Cornell perform live, but I was fortunate
enough to see PROPHETS OF RAGE perform Like A Stone at Download Festival 2017 as a tribute to
the legendary musician who had passed away less than a month before.
Find AUDIOSLAVE on Facebook.
Jacob: Opeth – Damnation
Opeth’s Damnation is very different from the rest of their discography. The highly technical progressive aspects and metal aspects have been left by the wayside to leave a mostly acoustic tribute to sorrow, loss and longing.
Whilst the album is not comforting in the traditional sense there’s an element of catharsis in hearing sentiments of depression echoed in lyrics. It becomes a show of solidarity and a reassurance that you are not alone in the way you are feeling.
Hope Leaves breaks my heart with its words of loss. In My Time Of Need paints an image of being in need of someone to help, and Ending Credits and Closure return you to how you were feeling at the moment at which you started listening. From the start to the epilogue the music is comforting but at times cold, the lyrics are sad but there is joy to be found in the company of a shared sentiment.
Find OPETH on Facebook
What would you choose as your album of the month? Let us know in the comments. See you on the next one.