Sunday, January 24, 2016

My Music Motivations #2

Heavy metal and hard rock throughout the years has resounded with themes of believing in oneself, following your dreams, self-empowerment, being willing to stand alone, having the courage to stand up for yourself, and being willing to stand up for others.  It is one of the major reasons I love this genre of music and many times I have had to take strength and inspiration from songs that reflect these themes to get through difficult periods of my own.

In today's My Music Motivations, I want to spotlight the song "To the Threshold" by the hardcore/metal band Hatebreed.  Don't let the name of the band fool you.  These guys, through and through, have created some of the most positive, self-empowerment songs that you could find in any genre.

"To the Threshold" is a song that fires me up to no end, as it is not only about self-empowerment, but it is also about seeking to help empower others. The two-fold nature of this song resonates so powerfully within me.  I often do my martial arts training to Hatebreed, and songs like this certainly stoke the flames when I am doing high intensity training and building upon my own self-empowerment and growth in strength. 

The song wastes no time in getting at its core themes, in the very first lines:

This is the sound of the lost, beaten and broken, 
rising up and claiming what has been taken from us 
From the shadows of the past 
From the depths of our own failures 
Stepping forward into the light 
Denying our demise 
Decimating all uncertainty 
Bowing to only who can place judgement upon me

This song calls to those who have had heartache, loss, setbacks, and been knocked down in life, exhorting them to step out of the shadows of the past and into the light with a determination to fight. The denial of one's demise is at the foundation of rising back up again, embracing the will to keep moving forward and not to quit. Life is not fair and does take from so many of us in a very cruel way, so there are times when we must feel a degree of fury, set our minds, and rise back up again.  

All too often those who feel that they are broken and beaten remain mired in such a state.  In doing so, they become self-fulfilling prophets, and self-defeating. There is a path back, but we must each decide to take that path and step forward.  Deny your demise and decimate uncertainty! 

The next lines in the song reflect the other core aspect, that of building up and empowering others, with a very pointed nuance. The person is doing it from a position of strength.  They have pushed themselves to the Threshold and now they are in a place where they can lead by example. 

Give me your broken 
Give me your beaten 
I will build them up 
I will lead them 
To The Threshold 
Make you stronger 
Make you believe 
I am the one in the same 
but now stronger than uncertainty

These words encourage someone who has risen back up from hardship and regained strength to show others the path. The words reflect someone who has been in the shoes of the broken and beaten, a person who understands all too well what that is like. But this person has risen up and knows how to grow stronger and believe, and can do that by example, which is certainly one of the most powerful forms of leading others. The willingness to reach out to others and help build others up and guide them in self-empowerment. is a very special aspect of this wonderful song.

Within this army 
This is more than a battle - cry 
It's the blood of our lifeline 
Flowing faster

Once you come out of the other side of rising back up, knowing what it takes to grow stronger, the idea of being able to push yourself to the threshold, or limits, is not just a battle cry as the song states. It is a part of who you are, something that flows within your veins.  It is, as the song states so well, the blood of one's lifeline. 

This is the sound of the lost, beaten and broken 
Decimating all fears 
Stronger than ever 
Beyond every dream 
Ascension into supremacy 
Now we're stronger than ever

Backed by thundering riffs and rhythm, this section is the battle cry. The ascension into supremacy, to me, is mastering oneself and becoming the strongest and best person that you can be. That's the ultimate supremacy. Stronger than ever and decimating fears as the lyrics say. The lost, beaten and broken renewed, resurrected, and standing taller than ever. I love everything about this section and what it hails.

We were the broken 
We were the beaten 
I was once like you 
Now I push myself to the threshold 
Because I am stronger 
Because I believe 
Now I spit in the face of defeat 
Now I'm stronger than all uncertainty

This final section brings everything together and ends the song on an absolute high note. It reflects someone who has risen back up and those that the person has helped, reached out to, and guided, all empowered and stronger than ever before. The absolute defiance of spitting in the face of defeat and the strength to face uncertainty reflects those who are not broken or beaten in any way. It is the description of what a champion is all about, a person who can push themselves to the limits. To the threshold.

No matter what you have been through, believe in yourself.  And become stronger than ever. :) 

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