This is a space dedicated to over-analysis and reading too deeply into Mechina’s music.
This was originally created as a document to pin down excited thoughts about this project, and it turned into something enormous. This is mostly meant as a place to dump these thoughts on a single page, and to welcome others to join the over-analysis while keeping the rest of the wiki pages looking neat and organized. Like the most excellent Overview page, this recounts the whole story as we know it so far, plus loads of unnecessary detail and speculation. There is a LOT going on in and beneath the surface of this story, so think of this page as a workspace with room for group discussion, or a space to just pin down some thoughts; that being said, the purpose of this page can and should evolve in a way that makes sense to everyone. For clarity and ease of discussion, the story is described here in third-person instead of the listener's perspective of "You" that is sometimes used.
This lengthy page is organized by song, each one containing subsections for thoughts and discussion. The table of contents and the back button will be very useful navigation tools here. The songs are listed by the story timeline we are currently aware of, starting with the destruction of Earth.
Story - Detailed section about the events of the As Embers Turn To Dust story taken directly from the lyrics and interviews/notes from Joe. These sections are the attempt to describe the events in each song as Joe intended, while keeping the big picture of the story in mind. Most of these sections are taken from the existing story overview from each page, plus some additional details.
Music - A section to discuss interesting musical elements in a song (as opposed to the story or lyrics). Anything about musical analysis, interpreting the sound design, and musical choices that contribute to story and world-building. Joe has stated in interviews that he welcomes constructive feedback about Mechina's music, especially regarding mixing; this may also be a good place to list thoughts on that.
Other implications - Any thoughts about philosophical implications, social criticisms, outside references, ideas about the story/world, wild theories, and/or personal thoughts. This is the section for pure speculation and food for thought inspired by the songs. Questions about the story can also be listed here. I've incorporated some of other fans’ thoughts from existing comments, so the all of the content here is credited to many people! Below are some example philosophical questions asked throughout the story:
What is human nature, what does it mean to be human, what is the essence of humanity? Does fate exist, and do humans have a cursed fate because of their nature? Is it right/wrong to be a human without augmentation if the technology is available, is it right/wrong to be augmented? What is peace? What does it mean to be free? Can true peace be achieved by war/violence? Is human suffering necessary? What is utopia, and can it be achieved?
Recurring Phrases - There are several phrases that are repeated in variation throughout Mechina’s albums. This section notes when these lyrics/phrases/themes appear in each song. Whether these phrases are shorthand for a deeper meaning, used to draw parallels between characters/events, or just a tool used to make it feel like one story, it would be interesting to coherently articulate what each phrase means in the context of the story. Below is a list of examples:
Centuries draped in black - A right to remain, the strength to sustain, the hope to remain, a life to regain is a life worth disdain (when the only...) - Hunter(s) of kings - Black and white - Plague, disease, curse - In the space between... - Bound to the sky - This great storm will... - Scattered seeds/fragments - Titan(s) can you hear me - Machines, gods, titans, kings, tyrants, slaves -
Story: It is December 31, year 2154. There is a war between two religious world powers, the U.N.I. ((Utilitarian Nation Initiative) and the I.G.C. There are citizens of Earth, a group of about 3,000, who know this nuclear war is reaching a breaking point. They've built the first Titan, Anicetus, and they plan to use it to escape the Earth and find a new planet to inhabit. This will eventually lead them to Acheron. It is unknown if Acheron is actually close to their intended destination of Alpha Centauri. This group laments for the fate of Earth and humanity as it destroys itself over religion and power. They believe that god and man are the same, because man created their own gods. The humans state that neither side is good or right; both sides “march in endless waves upon nameless graves.” Before entering cryosleep with the rest of the crew, Andara leaves a message for anyone on Earth who may be listening. The Soldier of Earth receives this message (and will later send his memories to Anicetus). As these survivors enter cryosleep for an estimated 120 years and begin their journey, the I.G.C. begins their scorched earth policy which will end most of the life on Earth. During cryosleep, ten of the human children fall into a coma, including characters Amyntas and Alithea.
Other Implications: What does it mean to be free? What is the god mentioned in this song; is it the self?
Recurring Phrases: Exile or death/to fight or to flee (black and white), A life to regain is a life worth disdain
Incipient Tragoedia means "forthcoming tragedy"
Story: The Soldier of Earth listens to the communications in his headset and walks through the recently destroyed environment of what used to be the outskirts of Tehran, Iran. It is the year 2156 (?). He fights for the U.N.I., one of the religious world powers in this war fighting against the I.G.C. He receives notice that the enemy force has started dropping nuclear bombs near his location. This is the beginning of the end of life on Earth.
Music: (Most of the existing Incipient Tragoedia page is sound analysis and it’s really interesting.)
Other Implications: The fact that this is set in Iran reinforces and augments the growing conflict of global nuclear war games, which plague our current day diplomatic endeavors. It is implied that the U.N.I. is the western and Christian-like power, and I.G.C. is the eastern and Muslim-like power.
Recurring Phrases: “The fallout can be seen from orbit” is said for the first time in the story.
Story: The Soldier of Earth doesn’t believe in either side of this war, the U.N.I. or the I.G.C. He sees that people have misplaced belief in dying systems like government, religion, society, and civilization. The axioms he recognizes in human nature and civilization is a timeless message that will outlast any civilization, for it is the absolute truth. Humans might as well be praying to the winds, because nature will endure. This last breath (the end of the world) bares (bears?) only timelessness.
Other Implications: This is the first time slavery and plague is mentioned, and they come up a lot throughout the story. I think tyranny/slavery and disease is how the Solider views religion.
Recurring Phrases: World of slaves, plague the streets of a free nation,
An anti-theist is someone who “actively opposes organized religion or the belief in any deity.”
Story: The Soldier believes humans waste their lives away on religion, which is designed to corrupt and conquer, enslave and contaminate. He feels as if religion has shackled humanity, preventing them from reaching their full potential: humans are capable of anything, they can conquer the stars.
Recurring Phrases: Enslave
Non Serviam is Latin for "I will not serve"
Story: The world seems destined to destroy itself in religious wars. But the Soldier won't bow to any religion. He will survive.
Music: Would really like to know the translated speech in the beginning of this song!
Recurring Phrases: “Forever enslaved by one law”
Geographical coordinates, Latitude 36, Longitude 48.58: still in Iran, west of Tehran.
Story: The I.G.C. implements a Scorched Earth Policy, which will wipe out everyone, including their own citizens. The Soldier’s video feed l shows screaming citizens of the I.G.C. about to suffer nuclear bombing.
Other Implications: The I.G.C. appears to take on the attitude of “If I can’t win/have all of the power, then no one can.”
Internecion means "mutual slaughter or destruction; massacre."
Story: The end of the world has arrived, and all are condemned to immolation.
Other Implications: "And although Wars are in a great measure accidental, or at least proceed in a great measure from the Wills of Men, their Pride, Am∣bition, impatience of Injuries, affectation of Dominion, mutual Jealou∣sies and Fears of the Potency of each other, and oftentimes accidental Emergencies and Occurrences; yet it seems, that abstracting from all these Occasions, Wars seem to be in a manner a Natural Consequence of the over-plenitude and redundancy of the Number of Men in the World: And so by a kind of congruity and consequence, morally ne∣cessary when the World grows too full of Inhabitants, that there is not room one by another; or that the common Supplies which the World should afford to Mankind begin to be too few, too strait, or too narrow for the Numbers of Men; that natural propension of Self-love, and natu∣ral principle of Self-preservation will necessarily break out into Wars and Internecions, to make room for those that find themselves straitned or inconvenienced." - The primitive origination of mankind, considered and examined according to the light of nature, written by the Honourable Sir Matthew Hale, 1609-1676. This quote is in line with the Solider's belief that nature will endure over humanity.
Recurring Phrases: Slave, the flaw that plagues
An iron law is “a law or principle that is meant to be both indisputable and unavoidable”
Story: This is the Soldier’s introspection on how humanity will be viewed. Future civilizations will only find destroyed building and empty streets. They'll never know how people's hopes and fears were manipulated by corrupt leaders claiming to be righteous.
Other Implications: Steel spines are referred to here as the destroyed buildings, but the phrase also describes the literal steel spines of dormant Titans later in the Empyrean album. What is the iron law? Nature? Humanity's curse of destroying themselves?
Story: The Soldier has survived the genocide of Earth. He decides to leave Earth and escape upon his ship Andromeda.
Other Implications: He believes that humans are born to conquer the stars/gods; will he be a conqueror too? He fears the day he “lusts to replicate this design;” does this mean he fears his own flaws and is worried that he’ll want power too? Is this motivation “the right to remain, the strength to sustain?” Human survival?
Recurring Phrases: Conquer the stars, conquer the gods
Ad Astra is Latin for "to the stars"
Story: The Soldier abandons Earth.
In Greek Mythology, Andromeda is the daughter of Cepheus. It is also the name of a star constellation.
Story: The Soldier of Earth is exiled in the orbit of Earth after its destruction. He reflects further upon the sadness of mankind throwing itself away to religion, tyranny and slavery. He sends his memories to Anicetus and yearn for the Just City, a utopia free of religion. The Soldier prepares to return to Earth's surface after six years on his ship, Andromeda.
Other Implications: Why does he decide to return to Earth? His heart remains on earth; does this mean he simply still has hope for it and that’s why he returns, or does he want to conquer Earth’s remains?
Empyrean (album) first halfEdit
Aporia means "a difficulty encountered in establishing the theoretical truth of a proposition, created by the presence of evidence both for and against it."
Story: The Soldier is returning to Earth from his six year exile in orbit after watching the world destroy itself in a religious war.
Other Implications: What is the proposition that the title refers to? Whether or not to conquer this destroyed world?
Asterion is Greek for "ruler of the stars"
Other Implications: This song confuses me. You are the only character so far and all of Conqueror was spent despising religion. Yet this song refers to a return to Earth (and you did just return from Andromeda) and becoming a new god. I don't know why you would want to take the title of a god given everything in Conqueror. I'd like to think this is some other character attempting to establish itself as a god of this scorched earth. I have to be devil's advocate here and agree with the TLDR comment on this song's page: "Even with everything happened our protagonist can help but think to grasp his godhood through this age of chaos. Typical of man." I think this may still be the Soldier, and he is simply not as pure or unflappable as we hoped our protagonist would be. Power corrupts even the man who watched the world destroy itself over power. The Soldier is (however briefly) considering the possibility of grasping power, even over this doomed world of chaos. This song of reminds me of popular criticisms of atheism, “as a belief in its own right, with a certainty about the falseness of religious beliefs that is comparable to the certainty about the unknown that is practiced by religions,” where the Soldier is trying to establish power through "belief in disbelief," in order to bring salvation to the people (save them from the plague of religion). Remind us of anyone (Enyo)?
Interregnum means "a period between rulers; a freedom of the usual authority, an interval or pause, period when normal government is suspended.”
Story: Tyranny on Earth is over. No one is in control and it is just chaos now. The Soldier looks out over the scorched Earth. The stars seems so peaceful compared to the chaos.
Other Implications: Continuing from my theory of the previous song, I think the Soldier arrives to Earth full of arrogance, saying he knew this would happen, he watched it happen from the stars; if people believe in him, they will see what he sees (that religion is a plague, humans can be so much more). Is the Soldier wanting to be the ruler of a land of chaos? Not totally sure about his motivations at this point. I think he wants to be a savior among the survivors during this chaos. He wants to create the Just City.
Imperialism is "a policy of extending a country's power and influence through colonization, use of military force, or other means".
Story: Earth has been destroyed. There's no point in staying here anymore. The Soldier decides that he must leave the Earth behind and find a new planet to make his home.
Other Implications: Continuing once more with my theory of the previous two songs: The surviving people of earth cry out for design (religion?), and the Soldier realizes any power he has will not actually save anyone; it will just repeat the cycle. This world is dead. There is nothing left here for him. He finally loses hope for this world and looks back to the stars.
Recurring Phrases: “no use of color” (black and white)
Anathema means "a person or thing detested or loathed; accursed or consigned to damnation or destruction"
Story: The Soldier of Earth mourns as it rains, still standing on the scorched planet, but becomes more resolute in his decision to find a new planet to call home. He mourns the destruction of Earth but will move on. With one last desperate wish, he pleads for the light to shine again through this dark world.
Other Implications: Going with my current theory of the Soldier trying to rule dead Earth by being an anti-theist savior, I wonder if the title of this song indicates your self-loathing, kind of kicking yourself for falling into that trap (when he left Earth, he "feared the day he lusts for a similar design." This might have been that day). It could just be the Soldier still hating religion/humanity.
Recurring Phrases: A right to remain, the strength to sustain, the hope to remain, a life to regain is a life worth disdain, centuries draped in black
Story: 110 years after the ship of human escapees abandoned Earth upon the Titan Anicetus, they arrive to the planet that will be called Acheron. In Year 2264, the humans (except for the 10 in a coma) awaken from cryosleep to see that they are orbiting a new planet. Anicetus has left the humans in orbit and fell to the surface to begin terraforming the planet. Andara awakens and looks out of the starscape window.
Other Implications: “Mass Locked” is a phrase from the game Elite Dangerous (see the fourth bullet point in the Notes section)
Story: These humans call themselves the ashes/feeble relics of old earth, They're overcome with hope and a new outlook on the future. They will start fresh; Earth will be forgotten. The Children of Hyperion, children of the sky, will be the ones born in orbit.
Other Implications: Essence of life came from the sky, humans are the essence of life? Indication of hubris. Hyperion was also one of the twelve Titan children of Gaia (Earth) and Uranus (Sky or Heaven). Very fitting.
Recurring Phrases: A century draped in black, scattered fragments.
Story: This new planet isn't yet inhabitable, it will have to be terraformed. The humans will have to remain on board until it is ready. Human lives are too short, many fear they won't survive that long. They lament their fate; to be filled with such hope only to learn they won't live long enough to visit their new home. Generations and generations of humans will be born in the sky.
Other Implications: Is Andara saying her "final goodbye" to her child, Amyntas? What is the haunting memory and what was it triggered by? A distant sun is mentioned. Is this one of the Alpha Centauri stars?
Cryoshock is a fictional experience involving a violent death after awakening from cryosleep.
Story: Andara watches many of her companions die within the first hour of arrival to Acheron’s orbit. Waking from cryosleep was too hard on them, and they suffer painful deaths from Cryoshock. Andara knows she will not survive either.
Music: This is the most popular Mechina song, possibly due to its repetitive structure, relative short length, emphasis on the vocals, catchy melody, and sing-ability. This (and the clean vocals) appeals to a wider audience, and is the most likely tune to make it to radio or something like that.
Other Implications: "I only hope to dream where I'll never know pain" this line implies a lot regarding the fictional experience of cryoshock itself. In other words, "I am inevitably going to die very soon. I am in so much agony that whatever happens after death, my single wish is to not know pain." Her wish isn't to just not feel pain, but to not -know- it at all. By wishing to not know pain, she accepts never knowing pleasure, relief, or happiness, because those things can't exist without their opposites. Her dying wish is to rather dream in ignorance of it all than know pain. That's how much experiencing Cryoshock (boundless pain in the form of collapsing lungs/mind, cells tearing from each other, bleeding from the eyes, crystallizing skin, senses alive and feeling everything while paralyzed) hurts. Essence of fate begins to wash away, fate is a lie (Andara’s philosophical views on fate.)
The Horizon Effect is "creating diversions which ineffectively delay an unavoidable consequence or make an unachievable one appear achievable."
Story: The humans made it to Acheron but they didn’t plan far enough ahead for what comes next. The bad news of cryoshock arrives and takes them by surprise after this goal is reached. Andara dies, succumbing to cryoshock an hour after waking. She'll never walk on the surface of Acheron. Her final breath is like embers turning to dust, drawing a comparison to Earth's fate. Destroyed in vain and forgotten. The Titan Anicetus leaves the humans in the ship in orbit and descends to Acheron to start terraforming. The humans lose contact with Anicetus because the atmosphere of Acheron is too thick.
Music: Is her last breath an inhale? For me, this creates an interesting image of “crystallizing skin” and being frozen as the actual form of death. Cryoshock seems like everything is collapsing internally, like she is growing cold and shrinking into herself.
Other Implications: Andara talks about “our essence,” hinting at more of her philosophical views. This is a slightly ridiculous theory, but “monuments” is still confusing me: could Andara possibly having a vision or prediction about the future events in this story as she dies? She stands in shadows of monuments, like Amyntas will in the far future, feeling the Titan’s heartbeat (like Titanborn do), saying the Titan will sing eternally (like future Empyrean civilizations believe, sort of). What is happening as she witnesses the machine’s wings shifting upward? What is she realizing (for the first time I’ve opened up my eyes) before she dies?
Recurring Phrases: “titan can you hear me” “fragments of our essence scattered beyond the sun”
Means “progressive evolution of a species”
Story: The people aboard the ship who haven't succumbed to cryoshock spend decades in orbit as the terraforming process takes place on Acheron. New generations are born aboard the ship. A giant space station is built to accommodate them all. Called the Cepheus Ring, it encircles the entire planet of Acheron. These people watch the slow terraforming process, waiting for the day when they can join Anicetus and walk on the surface of Acheron. Most of them desire to make home on Acheron, begging for their flesh to be buried in the soil of the world below, rejecting the Cepheus ring as their home. They are simply enduring the cruelty of time. The ten humans who were unable to wake from cryosleep (including Amyntas and Alithea) have been converted to Titanborn but they still won't wake. They are biologically augmented. The other humans aboard the ship, painfully waiting for time to pass, create a new religion around the Titanborn and begin to worship "those bound by frost" as the only way to sustain the waning hope and slowly pass time among the humans. History of human cruelty is passed down through tales.
Other Implications: Was there a natural ring around Acheron? Were resources of the original ring are used to create the Cepheus ring? I suppose in-situ (Latin for on-site) means local resources. Suggesting that before the building of the Cepheus Rings, there were likely natural rings around at least one of the planets.
Recurring Phrases: “titan hear our plea”
(Album takes place between songs in Progenitor)
A vanguard is a “group of people leading the way in new developments or ideas.”
Story: Humans wait on the Cepheus Ring over Acheron for Anicetus to complete the terraforming process. Unfortunately, the current atmosphere above Acheron is too thick; the humans haven't received any signal from Anicetus since it landed on Acheron. Vanguards are being sent to the surface to see if the terraforming process is working or if Anicetus was destroyed on impact. With them go the hopes and dreams of the surviving humans aboard the Cepheus Ring. Although they lose contact with the humans while speeding through the thick atmosphere of Acheron, the Vanguards succeed and land on the surface.
Music: The music expresses determination and hope and forward movement, but there are subtle hints of worry. They state "These first Vanguards will lead us home," a very confident and sure expression. Then they say, "Vanguards, lead us home," no longer saying it will happen, but almost like encouragement, like a cheer. This phrase is repeated, but with ascending pitches, like a question or a plea. It feels like the listener is looking in layer by layer at the human’s fragile state of hope, seeing them try to be optimistic and sure but revealing that they're also terrified and desperate.
Other Implications: The irony of the term “Godspeed" (may god cause you to succeed). Humans; they just had to bring god into it. “Never forget that humans burned a world in the name of gods. Never forgive them for destroying the home of their species. Never believe those who tell you there is nothing wrong with belief.” "This great storm will build a throne" that will be ended in The Halcyon Purge, the song that states “this great storm will end the throne”. Others note that this could be an orbital firestorm, not of incendiary missiles, but of reentry capsules. All those specters come burning through the atmosphere, ready to build a civilisation. The new throne of humanity.
Recurring Phrases: This great storm will build a throne, in the space between a dream and reality
Creation Level Event is a play on words:
Story: The Vanguards walk on the surface of Acheron; they are the first humans to do so. The planet is still a hostile environment. The only reason they can survive is because they are augmented, more than human. This song is kind of like a ‘battle cry,’ as though they are saying 'it’s going to be cold and painful, there will be no rest, but we are Vanguards, so we will survive long enough to succeed.' They now focus on their mission: find Anicetus.
Story: The Vanguards walk on Acheron and search for where Anicetus landed. They see a storm approaching and experience real gravity for the first time. They know this mission is important and press on; they are ready for the risk of sacrificing themselves for the chance for humanity to breathe real air, have fertile soil, for rain.
Ætherion is a supposed gas that was once believed to exist in the air.
Story: It rains on Acheron.
Other Implications: Aetherius: 1. Of or pertaining to the ether, the sky, or the air or upper air; ethereal; aloft. 2. Of or pertaining to heaven; celestial, heavenly; sent by heaven; divine. 3. Of or pertaining to the upper world or of the world of the living.
Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.
Story: The Vanguards move through the storm, continuing their search for Anicetus. They marvel at the beauty of Acheron and are reminded of Earth. The beauty overwhelms them and they feel humility in seeing the horizon, their very first sunrise. After all these light-years traveled and years spent waiting, they are finally walking on their new home. Subconsciously, they feel a faint signal and are drawn toward it, trusting the fragile guidance into the storm.
Music: When this Vanguard sings "fragile” the intense blast beat breaks through the ethereal vocals and symphonic backing. The juxtaposition of the beautifully sung word “fragile” with the sudden blast of aggressive rhythm fascinates me. It creates such a sense of urgency upon experiencing something so delicate.
Other Implications: The fact that these Vanguards feel humility upon seeing the sunrise is a breath of fresh air in this story. For the first time, we see humans loosen their grip on stubbornness and pride. We have witnessed human arrogance and lust for power, stubbornness to survive, intense mourning, waning hope, and finally, a brief moment of humility.
Recurring Phrases: conquer the stars, fragments
Story: The storm finally fades and the Vanguards discover that what they mistook for fading thunder were actually sounds coming from Anicetus. They found it! As they get closer, the sounds of the Titan Roar gets louder. The terraforming process is still happening.
Other Implications: So many questions. When did Daedalus enter the story? We know Daedalus is Alithea's Titan, why would it be ancient? Why would it need to be unearthed? Does this song take place hundreds of years later? Did Daedalus descend to terraform Empyrean? Did it fail? Others think this song may be about Empyrean's terraforming. What is the organic war? Is there a genocide of the original Acheron inhabitants?
Recurring Phrases: Cursed are those bound by time
Tellurian" means hailing from earth and "pathos" means a quality that evokes pity. The song's name is a reference to the forming mindset that polarizes the augmented humans and the humans on Acheron.
Story: Back on the Cepheus Ring around Acheron, some humans choose not to make life on Acheron and embrace human augmentation instead. They become increasingly polarized in their belief that machine augmentation is the best way forward and that the fragility and gradual decline of human life must be forsaken to evolve and advance. In search for a land where they can develop, they turn their eyes toward Empyrean. Enyo, the twin sister of Alithea (a Titanborn still in a coma), is introduced. Enyo has been studying her sister and the other sleeping augmented humans. She aims to create more and more powerful biological augmentations. She does this with a purpose in mind: to end the essence of pain. She believes human suffering is unnecessary and that biological augmentation is the answer. She has no interest in re-creating Earth on Acheron. She will lay claim to it and, one day, conquer Acheron and use it to power Empyrean's industrial civilization. Humans suffer because of time and fragility; the people who adopt human augmentation see this quality as a sad and pathetic one, gradually gaining a condescending and even disdainful view of the other humans. Enyo has a group called the Banshees who protect her.
Other Implications: Enyo actually has similar beliefs to the Soldier of Earth in Pray To The Winds, who wants to “advance this flesh to a golden form.”
Recurring Phrases: space between cause and effect
Other Implications: The title is a shortened version of the phrase "Sic semper evello mortem tyrannis" ("Thus always I bring death to tyrants"). Who is bringing death to which tyrants, if we are assuming the tyrant in this story is one who uses religion to gain power and manipulate humans?
Story: From the Cepheus Ring, Enyo looks down on Acheron. One day, she and her augmented followers will be so powerful they will enslave the weak humans who chose to live on Acheron. The only way they can avoid the old wars like on Earth will be for them to simply submit to their superiors, the augmented humans. She also longs for peace, though by different means. She hopes that the ‘lowly’ organic humans will simply “submit and believe” to the machines in order to avoid another war. In time, though, she believes they will abide no matter what. As the distance grows between organic and augmented humans, the “echo of ancient war echoes.” It's futile for Acheron to resist so they should just give up if they want peace. It’s a passive-aggressive threat. Submit or be destroyed (to coexist is to surrender?).
Other Implications: This threat of submit or die is in line with the overarching theme of black and white. If the gods who survived are the Titanborn, who are the demons who hide? Regarding "enslave," I'm not sure if Enyo wants to literally enslave the Acheron humans, or if she just wants them to submit to and believe in their superiors (or be destroyed). In the Conqueror and Empyrean albums, the words "slave" and "tyrant" are used a lot to reference the two roles in a religious society. I think they are referenced as 'slaves' because of how The Soldier Of Earth views religion, but I think that is simply his core belief regarding humanity: humans will always choose be slaves or tyrants to failing systems, because that is the only way to feel free.
Recurring Phrases: hunter of kings.
Story: The planet is slowly terraformed and ready for human habitation.
Other Implications: It’s interesting that “Embers Turning To Dust” has meant fallout from nuclear war up until this point and then again later on in the story. In the context of terraforming a planet, it could be that this is the “dust” of Anicetus’ terraforming work finally settling. The building is done, the planet is ready. Or, as some pointed out, it could be that Anicetus had to wipe out an indigenous population in order to make Acheron habitable for humans. In which case, Embers Turning To Dust fits in again with the same meaning.
Progenitor (album) cont.Edit
Planetfall means “a landing or arrival on a planet after a journey through space.”
Story: Anicetus finally calls to the ship and its humans in orbit: Acheron is ready. Many of the humans finally leave their ship and head to the surface. The call also awakens Amyntas, a Titanborn. He learns of his fate; he is forever linked to Anicetus. Anicetus and Amyntas stand upright, breathing.
Music: The only guitar solo, featuring Dean Arnold.
Other Implications: "Leaving trails of fire." This fire may literally be the specter’s jets, but may also refer to views on human nature. Leaving destruction everywhere they go. Again, some speculate that there might have been an additional genocide of Acheron’s original alien inhabitants or environment in order to make the planet suitable for human life. I'm basing that mostly on the phrase "They shield their eyes" since it isn't "we shield our eyes".
Progenitor means "a biologically related ancestor; e.g. Progenitor of a species"
Story: The survivors finally walk on the surface of Acheron and breathe the air. They praise the Titanborn still sleeping aboard the Cepheus Ring. Amyntas vows to protect this new planet. The Erebus Bridge between the settled Acheron and the industrial world of Empyrean is built, and the bridge generates power for Empyrean using Acheron’s rotation (orbital forge). Both populations grow.
Music: What I think the singing in the background is is to symbolise the start of the preaching and religion based around the Titans. The whole point of Andromeda or Anicetus wasn't to start a world rid of religion, it was to save people. The aversion to it is something that sits with Amnytas and the Soldier of Earth before him. People are wary of it, perhaps even loathe to it, but that doesn't mean it isn't there in the background. The musing of how Religion is the cause of the problems is only made by those two characters, rather then outspoken and vehement hate. At first the singing works well and it sets a lighter tone and one of relief. The next two times we hear it is before the Chrorus which then fades out out after the first line. Finally it's heard at the very end of the song as it fades out.
Other Implications: Some think the Progenitors we're listening to are the two new factions. Those that support the idea of the Titans being man made machines that gave Humanity a second chance, and the rise of the new religion that supports and covets the small group of Titanborn that has the power to do nearly anything.
Story: This song describes the Siege of Anicetus. Empyrean (Cepheon Forces) eventually declares war on Acheron, stating that “to coexist is to surrender.” Anicetus is the capital city of Acheron and this song depicts Empyrean attacking it. The Titanborn are controlling their Titans and fighting on both sides of the conflict. Anicetus is defeated in the air with Amyntas controlling it, and both he and the city-sized Titan fall to the surface. Alithea leads a group of Specters into battle but fails. The only survivors escape into orbit aboard the Specters and find shelter in the Cepheus Ring around Acheron. Empyrean forces then initiate the Empyrean Extermination Sequence, which will destroy all life on Acheron. Alithea escapes during the Siege in her ship, but eventually returns to rescue the badly damaged Amyntas. All Titans go dormant after the Siege of Anicetus.
Other Implications: Enemies on both sides; are they the slaves and tyrants? Did the Titans go dormant because the rest of the Titanborn were killed besides Amyntas and Alithea, or because Amyntas was damaged? Did the Titans return on their own to Empyrean to become cities before going dormant?
Recurring Phrases: Titans can you hear me
Proprioception means "awareness of the position of one's body"
Story: After Anicetus falls, three Empyrean soldiers find Amyntas in his badly damaged state on Acheron’s surface. After requesting orders from the Titan Cepheon, a soldier wipes his memory before abandoning him to search for other dying Acheron inhabitants. Amyntas’ AI tries in vain to recover his memory and fails, dedicating all resources to keeping his basic physical functions working.
Other Implications: Why does the solder need his message to go through the titan Cepheon? Does Cepheon run the military on Empyrean? Or is Cepheon acting alone against both Empyrean and Acheron? Does Cepheon (the titan) live on (or is composed of) the Cepheus Rings?
Axiom means "a self-evident truth that requires no proof"
Story: Before Amyntas’ AI completely shuts down, it decrypts a snippet of communication of the Empyrean forces being ordered off of Acheron. The planet has been rendered uninhabitable by the Empyrean Extermination Sequence. The title of this song is probably a pessimistic view that humans are destined to destroy themselves. Earth was rendered uninhabitable during the events of Conqueror, and now Acheron is uninhabitable after yet another war.
Other Implications: The Earth-Born Axiom may be the “human course to endless ruin.” Humans are destined to destroy themselves.
Recurring Phrases: Human course to endless ruin, “The fallout can be seen from orbit” is a direct line from Incipient Tragoedia
Story: Alithea finds and rescues Amyntas by bringing him aboard her ship, Nefeli. Alithea mourns her home and the inhabitants of Acheron, while vowing to get revenge upon Empyrean. Alithea and Amyntas have been “reborn as hunters of kings.”
Recurring Phrases: Hunters of kings
Nephele is a cloud nymph in Greek mythology, and also the goddess of hospitality.
Story: Amyntas and Alithea retreat from Acheron, flying through an atmosphere clogged by the destroyed remnants of Acheron’s civilization, being “baptized by the dust" of Acheron's fallout. Amyntas and Alithea watch the destruction of Acheron from the safety of the Nefeli.
Music: The chanting may be a made-up language, but it definitely has elements of (if it’s not completely in) the Bulgarian language.
Other Implications: "That all humans would be, A tyrant or slave, In hopes to be free” I think this phrase is important in understanding why the concept of "slaves" is used so often in the story.
Recurring Phrases: Black or white, tyrant or slave
Halcyon means “calm, peaceful, prosperous, joyful, carefree”
Story: Most of the inhabitants of Acheron have died. Those lucky enough to escape aboard the specters have retreated to the Cepheus ring around Acheron. Alithea intends to wake the Titans to get revenge.
Recurring Phrases: this great storm will end the throne
In Greek Mythology, Lethe is a river in Hades that causes forgetfulness. he dead could only be reincarnated after drinking the water of the Lethe and forgetting their previous life.
Story: On the Cepheus ring around Acheron, Alithea puts Amyntas in cryosleep and through a simulation of the memories of the Soldier of Earth, in an attempt to help his body and mind recover. He will relieve the events of the destruction of Earth (Conqueror, Andromeda, and Empyrean part 1 albums) during this 400 years of sleep.
Story: Alithea decides to put herself into cryosleep as well, a cold sleep to join the Titans.
Music: A ballad.
Other Implications: have we forgotten what it means to be human? What does it mean to Alithea? "The price that way pay for the lives we betray only washes away when we turn to stardust" (Cryoshock lyrics) How are these related? Does Alithea remember leaving a dying Earth as a child, when the world that she loves only offers her pain ("I feel like I have lived and breathed this scene before").
Recurring Phrases: a life to regain is a life worth disdain when the world that I love only offers me pain, Titans can you hear me.
Hyperion is a Titan in Greek Mythology (though not a Titan in the story). In a later song (Ashes of Old Earth), the Children of Hyperion is the name for the people born and raised in the Cepheus Ring, the "children of the sky". Threnody is a funeral song.
Story: More pessimistic views about humanity, probably from Amyntas’ point of view. Humans are forever cursed to destroy the worlds we inhabit. If the Children of Hyperion (the original humans from earth) could see us now, they’d roll in their graves. They’d want to go back to sleep. We let them all down.
- The worlds that we seed will fall like the leaves from a dying tree Cursed by the breeze
This is an analogy for humanity, war, and civilization. The leaves falling from the tree are the worlds humans inhabit. The breeze that blows the leaves from the dying tree is war. The dying tree is humanity itself.
Other Implications: After reading some of the Greek Mythology, there's definitely a reference to Astrea, while Infineon already referenced her as the goddess of innocence, however the way that Empyrean and its dominant inhabitants are pictured, this might be a role reversal. Earth already underwent the declining Ages of Man which resulted in almost all life being wiped out (save for those who escaped). When Man was becoming more wicked, Astrea abandoned them along with the other gods.
However in the Acheron trilogy, the Empyrean Titans and their Titanborn are revered as gods, however the inhabitants treat non-mechanised humans as slaves and subjugate them. The decline that led to Earth's demise seems to be happening slowly to Empyrean as well, culminating in the Siege of Anicetus and the extermination of Acheron as these 'gods' have completely forsaken their humanity.
Quoting from the 'most reliable' online encyclopedia, specifically the Iron Age of Man: "Hesiod finds himself in the Iron Age. During this age humans live an existence of toil and misery. Children dishonor their parents, brother fights with brother and the social contract between guest and host (xenia) is forgotten. During this age might makes right, and bad men use lies to be thought good. At the height of this age, humans no longer feel shame or indignation at wrongdoing; babies will be born with gray hair and the gods will have completely forsaken humanity: "there will be no help against evil.""
The first point might reference humans on Empyrean, as well as the second, as Empyrean was inhabited after Acheron. The third point could mention the Siege of Anicetus once again as brother fights among brother, could be referring to the war between the Titanborn that took place. The social contract being the relations between Acheron breaking down, and the might is right and bad men using lies to be thought good, is also a demonstration of Empyrean's sheer military force and tactics to overwhelm Acheron for some yet unknown cause. The inhabitants no longer feel shame through these actions and the final point of completely forsaking humanity could be another final reference to the Empyrean Extermination sequence as they have COMPLETELY forsaken their humanity and turned evil as a result of total planeticide of the still natural humans.
There are some other points to Greek Mythology I couldn't find a way to fit well with that analysis. Astrea is noted as the ambassador to the Golden Age, this might mean she was personally involved with Empyrean's terraforming and habitation and/or positive relations between it and Acheron in the beginning.
Amyntas comes from amyntor which is Ancient Greek for defender, in this case, defender of Acheron so he makes a perfect partner for Anicetus which means invincible. Alithea is also a Titanborn whose name means Truth, we know that there are small implications that she might be deceiving Amyntas or at least giving him half-truths, it might be also analogous with justice as they are both often used in the same context. Alithea wants Empyrean to face the truth and demands justice for her fallen comrades and planet. Actaeon means hunter, which she earned during skirmishes with Empyrean prior, so we know both planets were fighting. It was also the hunter who was torn to pieces by his hounds after being transformed into a stag. This might be alluding to her role in the Siege of Anicetus, she was one of the lead commanders and felt horrible guilt for leading her comrades to their deaths, the latter part of Actaeon's story could be the aftermath, Anicetus the invincible has fallen and so has Amyntas, its Titanborn, who was presumed dead. She had lost her then only chance of winning against Empyrean.
Recurring Phrases: Cursed, slave or tyrant
In Greek Mythology, Adrasteia was a nymph who nurtured the infant Zeus.
Story: Amyntas' body is healing.
Other Implications: Is this Amyntas' body healing while in cryosleep? Or maybe there is a Titan helping somehow? Adrastea is also known as a Greek mythological deity who defends the righteous. Adrastea may also be interchangeable with Cybele, a goddess associated with childbirth. She nurtured Zeus in secret in the Dictaean cave, to protect him from his father Cronus. The title may refer to Amyntas and Alithea being "reborn as hunters of kings" as they sleep safely in exile.
Invictus means "unconquered, invincible"; Daedalus is one of the Titans, named after the creator of the Labyrinth in Greek Mythology.
Story: Alithea's skin glows as she activates her Titan, Daedalus, while it floats in space. The Titans have been dormant since the Siege of Anicetus but it is time to wake them up so Amyntas and Alithea can get revenge on Empyrean. Daedalus tells Amyntas to wake up the other Titans on Empyrean.
Other Implications: The phrase "emperor of titans" is interesting. Can Amyntas control all of the other Titans? Is that why Alithea needs him? Because she can only control Daedalus and she needs all of the titans to exact her revenge? I don't know when this song takes place. Does this entire album take place before the events in Xenon? Or does this one song take place after all of Xenon? What is the meaning of Invictus in this context? Are the Titanborn expressing their determination as they prepare their revenge? Henley's Invictus (1875) expresses similar sentiments to what I can imagine the Titanborn are feeling.
Story: Although Amyntas and Alithea wish they could simply dream away the past, forget about the future, fade into the emptiness of sleep, they know they will have to wake up eventually and face the brutal reality that awaits them.
Other Implications: “The distant sea, lapping the sandy shore with measured sound; the nearer cries of the donkey-boys; the unusual scenes moving before her like pictures, which she cared not in her laziness to have fully explained before they passed away; the stroll down to the beach to breathe the sea-air, soft and warm on that sandy shore even to the end of November; the great long misty sea-line touching the tender-coloured sky; the white sail of a distant boat turning silver in some pale sunbeam: — it seemed as if she could dream her life away in such luxury of pensiveness, in which she made her present all in all, from not daring to think of the past, or wishing to contemplate the future.
But the future must be met, however stern and iron it be.” - North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell, 1855
Empyrean (album) second halfEdit
Catechism means "a book of instruction in the form of questions and answers; primarily one containing a summary of the principles of the Christian religion"
Story: During cryosleep, Amyntas has relived the events of Earth’s destruction, and saw through the perspective of the Soldier of Earth during the years 2156-2162 as though he was living it. As Amyntas/the Soldier stand on the scorched Earth (at the end of the first half of the Empyrean album), the simulation Amyntas was in ends. The memories of the Soldier’s journey was a lesson to teach Amyntas about the arrogance, history, and hubris of humanity. Amyntas, still without memory of his own life or name, wakes up in the present year of 2632.
Other Implications: "You pray to yourself, bearing the sign of a god, now you know who humans have prayed to all along" (have humans prayed to themselves, man-made gods, indicating arrogance?) The title Catechism could refer to the simulation, an activity meant to guide Amyntas' beliefs based on questions and answers the Soldier asks/finds. Not sure about the perspective of this song: There is “I” and “You” in the lyrics. Is this Amyntas waking and commenting on the Soldier/Earth humans' actions? How could this be if he doesn't have any memory/separate beliefs? Or did this process help him recover some opinions, and he just can’t remember his past and his name?
Story: Amyntas is greeted by an AI when he awakens. The AI states the cryostasis simulation is complete, that it is the year 2632, he is on Planet Empyrean, it is the age of Infineon, and rather disdainfully, "Welcome back human." Amyntas has no memories of this place, only the memories from the simulation, and only knows himself as Sentient #2154 (the year Earth was destroyed).
Music: Amyntas seems afraid, breathing hard. Or perhaps this is just an effect of cryosleep (like when Andara woke up breathing hard).
Other Implications: Still not sure whether the world was destroyed in 2154 or 2156. Although the AI states this is Planet Empyrean, I think Amyntas may still be on a Cepheus ring during the second half of this album as opposed to the surface (especially because the first part of Xenon still takes place in orbit; Amyntas hasn’t descended to the surface yet.) Maybe the ring is considered a part of the planet.
Elephtheria means "freedom" in Greek. The Greek motto is "Eleftheria i thanatos" which means "freedom or death"
Story: After spending so much time on a scorched Earth and dreaming of a new planet to call home, Amyntas sees the bright civilizations below on Empyrean; free from god, untouched, unflawed. he is filled with hope. After knowing nothing but a scorched Earth, this sight is a wondrous one. Maybe this could be the peaceful planet free from religious wars that the Soldier was hoping to find. He yearns to taste the air of this free world, to redefine heaven.
Other Implications: Eleftheria i thanatos, freedom or death, is in line with the theme of black and white throughout the story, and also may refer to Enyo's implied statement of "submit or die." To her, augmentation is freedom, and a regular human lifespan is death and suffering..
Empyrean means "the highest heaven, supposed by the ancients to contain the pure element of fire"
Story: Empyrean is a planet of cyborgs. They live peacefully and free from religion. They've conquered space travel and they spread humanity across the galaxy to ensure their survival. Stars had to die for their birthright, they are bound to the sky, free from tyranny, machines were fused with flesh to further the survival of humanity, and this final, godless Empire will last for eons. By abolishing religion, they have ensured eternal Empyrean’s survival. They have found freedom. This is Empyrean's version of history.
Other Implications: “History is written by the victors.”
Recurring Phrases: Bound to the sky, right to remain, the strength to sustain, a life to regain,
Story: Empyrean is bound to the sky, not bound to gods like past generations. No need to kneel and no need to fear, a simple glance upward is all they need. Empyrean is a planet free from religion and it is just as the Soldier hoped it would be. People live their lives without fear. Humanity is flawed and people are mortal, but at least the disease of god has been exiled; therefore, humanity will live on forever. It is the age of Infineon.
Other Implications: Is the simple glance upward really toward the sky, or will Amyntas learn later that they are glancing at the Titans towering above? Does “although we die we will rejoin” imply an afterlife? The term 'Infineon' simply refers to the supremacy of Empyrean. The AI boldly declaring the age to be 'the eternal reign of Empyrean' goes right along with the nasty tone it takes when referring to Amyntas as 'human' in [ Cryostasis_simulation_2632_01 ].
Recurring Phrases: Bound to the sky, godlike disease
Terminus means "the end or extremity of anything."
Story: This is the end of the road, Amyntas has finally found the Just City the Soldier yearned for, and humanity is free. It doesn’t get better than this. This world is worthy of history. Amyntas is viewing Empyrean through the belief lens of the Soldier of Earth and is rejoicing.
Music: One of the few songs with a really abrupt and blatant key change - This nicely illustrates the journey, and how Amyntas may feel after experiencing Earth and then Empyrean in quick succession.
Other Implications: This song takes one line from every song in the story so far and slightly changes most of them to show the change in events and Amyntas'/Soldier's views of Empyrean compared to Earth.
In Greek Mythology, Cepheus is the father of Andromeda. It is also the name of a star constellation.
Story: Still in year 2632, Alithea wakes and remembers Empyrean’s sins. She wants to use Amyntas to awaken the Titans and destroy her enemies.
Other Implications: Did Alithea also view the memories of the Soldier of Earth during her cryosleep? Whose perspective is this from? Is this song describing Alithea first finding Amyntas after she awakens?
Recurring Phrases: A tyrant reborn, I am the storm
Xeno means “relating to a foreigner or foreigners”
Story: You look out at Empyrean (from Nefeli? A Cepheus Ring?), at the giant cities built there. The planet is so full of life. You have no memories of this place, you don't understand why she hates it so much. You're reminded of the destruction of Earth as you consider helping destroy this planet. You're designed for war, you could kill them just as Alithea intends.
From somewhere above the clouds, Amyntas looks down to Empyrean and marvels at the peace and life thriving in the cities below. However, Alithea intends to destroy it; kill them all, and she's going to use Amyntas to do it. He should awaken the Titans and exact revenge on Empyrean. Amyntas doesn’t remember or understand why Alithea is so hateful, and having just awoken from the Soldier's memories of war on Earth, he experiences intense dissonance ("my heart wants no more").
Recurring Phrases: In the space between cause and effect
Aletheia is the Greek goddess of truth (aka: Vertias in Roman Mythology) and a Greek name which means "truthful"
Story: Amyntas takes a good look at himself and sees that his body is augmented with machine parts, yet he still has faith in humanity. He still wants to live in a world free from war and death. Empyrean has life, it brings him optimism. Yet Alithea wants to destroy it. Amyntas decides to see Empyrean for himself so he can choose whether it should be destroyed. Could it be The Just City where humans live in peace, free from religion? Or are heartless machines the ones in control?
Music: this may be a strange interpretation of mine but I remember the first time I was listening to this album for the last minute of this song I sorta got the vibe that Amyntas was in a sort of train station from the ambience in the last minute of this track. The ambience seemed to include an echo-y atmosphere with distant announcements in a female voice and a klaxon sounding, I don't know why but my mind envisioned a sort of futuristic train station. Ive thought more about this and now its my theory that travel between the planets via the erebus bridge or to the rings around the planets is done via a more futuristic train system, like bullet trains that are monorail type things.
Recurring Phrases: Color/black or white
Zoticus is Greek for "vital" or "full of life"
Story: Amyntas walks on the surface of Empyrean. He's amazed by giant skyscrapers of the cities and wonders if this could be The Just City, but feels reserved and unsure about this place. He wishes to find a home, to find peace, leave all the chaos behind. But his body is augmented, designed for war. He wonders if you would even be allowed to live here. Despite this, he takes everything in, the steely spines of buildings, the chaos of the stars, because he just “lusts to feel again.”
Other Implications: On some level, the listener knows that this place actually ruined Amyntas’ life and the planet he swore to protect, and it's only inevitable that he'll realize that and be devastated all over again. That’s what makes this beautiful and hopeful moment so heartbreaking as Empyrean fills him with optimism. Not only will Amyntas be devastated when he remembers, but the 'reincarnated' hopes of the Soldier will also be crushed. The protagonist's expressions are so human and vulnerable. He desperately wants to find home and peace, to belong, like all of us.
Terrea is Latin for “earthy”
Story: Amyntas look up to the sky, to feel the warmth of the sun, but the Titans block out the sky. These Titans are worshipped as gods, yet they block out the sun as if to hide the fact that they are simply man-made machines. Amyntas rejects the idea that this was the Just City after all, agreeing on some level with Alithea (Utopia is only a dream. Make sure you never forget that). This "Just City" is only meant for the Titans, the machines. These heartless machines have built a religion, to manipulate and control people, just as you saw on Earth.
Greek Mythology, Tartarus is the abyss where Zeus imprisoned the Titans.
Story: Standing in the shadow of a dormant Titan on Empyrean, Amyntas sinks into a depression. He wishes he could find a home but he's an alien, an outsider to everyone. He's barely human, mostly a machine. He has no past, no memory. He's as bad as those lifeless Titans you saw on Empyrean. Amyntas’ hopeful image of Empyrean is shattered and he is heartbroken. Xenon serves as a term for an alienated individual, Xeno meaning different in origin. Amyntas feels alienated by his own beliefs, his impression of Empyrean has been shattered and replaced with the planet's reality. Amyntas' image of empyrean is torn apart as he realizes the planet is just as filled with deception as earth was.
Other Implications: Empyrean can never be Amyntas' home; even if he ever wanted to submit and believe (out of desperation for a home most likely, to the “unquestioned perfection” of Empyrean), he would still feel alienated because of his body as well as his beliefs. Even if he wanted to live in denial for the sake of finding peace, he wouldn't be accepted.
Recurring Phrases: Black and white
Phedra is a Greek name which means "bright"
Story: Amyntas now sees that these cities on Empyrean are not Utopia. Humans are slaves to a nation of gods yet again. Hopeless, Amyntas looks to the skies (as the Soldier did on Earth). He looks past the Erebus Bridge and notices the lifeless planet of Acheron. This lifeless satellite appears to be dead from Amyntas’ point of view, which triggers the fresh and horrible memories of The Soldier of Earth viewing the scorched Earth from his ship in orbit. With growing dread, Amyntas wants to see if Acheron is like Earth, to see if Acheron was intentionally destroyed and for the same reasons Earth was. If this planet suffered a similar fate to Earth’s because of Empyrean, then Alithea is right: Empyrean is surely to blame and should be destroyed.
Other Implications: Phedra may be another name for the Erebus Bridge. Are the humans on Empyrean actually slaves of the machines (see thoughts regarding the term "slave" used in Conquerer and Empyrean songs)? There is this concept of slaves and tyrants being the two roles in a religious society. It might be that humans are voluntarily worshipping the machines as gods, but through Amyntas/Soldier of Earth’s lens, this is equal to slavery because religion is tyranny. I think the religious manipulation is more subtle than literal slavery.
Thales of Miletus was a Greek philosopher who rejected the idea that mythology (religion) was needed to understand the universe.
Story: Most of this song takes place on the remains of Acheron after Amyntas crosses the Erebus Bridge. Amyntas sees that the planet was violently rendered inhospitable to life, just like Earth was. This fact confirms his decision: he is going to destroy Empyrean just as Alithea planned. These humans could've created a peaceful world, yet they chose to live on a planet run by machines and worship them as gods. He abandons his hope for Empyrean and its inhabitants. He wants Empyrean and its plague of religion destroyed.
Music: It’s possible that the sound at the end of this song is Amyntas ascending to the Cepheus ring.
Other Implications: Is Amyntas feeling a connection to his Titan? It could be because Anicetus' remains are still on Acheron; past humans (Vanguards) had a subconscious pull toward Anicetus. Maybe he has a suspicion about his past. I interpret "Xeno by those who fear life" as "humans who refused to live their lives and decided to worship these machines call me an alien, an outsider" and the line "Sentient by those who fear death" as "the machines that run this world see me as a human, a sentient being".
Recurring Phrases: "Remain nameless and live slow in the shadows Or find what burns behind every light and die as a Titan" (Black and white choice again: live in denial with no memories being immortal and worshipping man-made gods, or restore his memory, know the truth and fight in a war again).
In Greek mythology, Erebus is the primordial personification of darkness. Also means the “Place of darkness between earth and Hades”
Story: Amyntas returns to Alithea on Acheron's Cepheus Ring. She begins the restoration of Amyntas’ memories and his connection to his Titan, Anicetus. Amyntas will “become one with the machine” to destroy that which he hates. He chooses truth; he is ready for his memories and to accept his role as Titanborn. Amyntas relives the events of The Siege of Anicetus (To Coexist Is To Surrender).
Other Implications: There is deceit in the air when Alithea tells Amyntas to come close. More hints at Alithea perhaps deceiving Amyntas?
Recurring Phrases: Gods and kings, tyrants,
Amyntas is a Greek name meaning "defender" or "protector"
Story: Amyntas wakes from the simulation with his memories of his previous life his consciousness has been re-connected to his Titan. Anicetus. He remembers his name. Rather than just giving the memories of the Siege of Anicetus, Alithea will make him relive the events through another simulation, to further convince him that he made the right choice.
Other Implications: The memory transmission was halted, not complete. More hints that Alithea is hiding something? It could also be, as per recent information (was it an interview? don't remember), that the transfer freezes on a certain memory cluster, that of the events of To Coexist is to Surrender. Rather than just giving the memories of that, Alithea makes him relive the events, to further convince him that he made the right choice. I believe after that, the transfer continues.
Recurring Phrases: A life to reclaim, gods and kings,
In Greek Mythology, Actaeon was a hunter who was turned into a stag and torn to pieces by his own hounds. In the story, Actaeon is a nickname Alithea earned during battle (hunter/huntress).
Story: Alithea is trying to help restore Amyntas’ memories by putting him through a simulation to relieve of the Siege of Anicetus: Amyntas is in the city of Anicetus on Acheron, and it is about to be destroyed. Amyntas arrives on the outskirts of the city of Anicetus, attempting to link up with Alithea and her Titan Guard. This was moments before the Empyrean orbital invasion began.
Other Implications: Actaeon's story might even be a reference something that might happen to Alithea in the future, Amyntas might get fed up with her deceit and turn on her, leading to her downfall.
Looking at the Empyrean and Xenon album covers, I first realized that I had no idea what that structure in the Empyrean album actually is. Then, I thought it kind of looks like the cities on Empyrean (the planet closest to the viewer, I'm assuming) on the Xenon cover. It seems like a couple of these structures are laying flat on the planet, and forming cities. My best guess is that the structure in the air on the Empyrean cover is actually a Titan. Any other possible explanations? Maybe it's just some sort of space station that Amyntas wakes up on (something like a Cepheus ring), considering Joe may not have conceptualized the Titans when the album art was created. Maybe the planet on the Empyrean cover isn't Empyrean, but Earth, and the structure is Andromeda? It seems rather large for that to be the case, so I'm not sure. (Feel free to move this question elsewhere if there's a better place for it!)