As he prepares for the release of the instrumental progressive rock novel INTO THE GREAT DIVIDE, due out January 26, 2018, project mastermind Zack Zalon breaks down the latest release, Chapter 6 “Dark Waters.”
Q: Tell us a little about Chapter 6 of INTO THE GREAT DIVIDE.
Zack Zalon: “I’ll start by saying that I imagine it’s difficult to really get the ‘context’ of an instrumental track without some kind of description. Into The Great Divide is a full end-to-end story, with each musical chapter representing a section of that narrative, and with a lot of intent inside the songs. As an example, Chapter 5 is the mid-point of the album, and it’s a major turning point. At the beginning the hero is charging in with a ton of attitude and ambition, in a battle to win what’s his to have. Unfortunately things don’t go so well, the test is more difficult than believed, and the hero basically gets his ass kicked. That’s the narrative within that chapter, a pivot from optimism and strength to disappointment and discouragement. At the end of the chapter our hero is left bleeding on the battlefield. That’s where Chapter 6 takes over.”
Q: You’ve titled Chapter 6, “Dark Waters” can you expand on the title?
ZZ: “It’s a fitting description of where the hero finds himself at this point of the story. Think to yourself: how would you feel deep inside…having mustered the courage to leave behind everything you’ve ever known; started a journey of unknown length; traveled to distant lands; stepped onto foreign shores; faced countless tests; built new strengths; chose to face your greatest challenge…and then lost the battle? As though everything you’ve worked for was for naught? I think you’d be pretty bummed, the world might seem pretty much upside down. That’s Chapter 6. That’s Dark Waters.”
Q: Would you say that defeat is a universal feeling?
ZZ: “I’m guessing that most of us have felt this way at some point in our lives. Nobody enjoys a truly successful life without having faced major setbacks along the way. Yes, we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off. Yes, we eventually take the lessons of loss and use them to build new strengths. And in the narrative of the album we’ll eventually come to that. But for now, for Chapter 6, we’re just sitting in the feeling, wallowing in the darkness that accompanies the realization that life isn’t a straight path with a guaranteed outcome–it’s a winding path chock-full of unknowns.”
Q: Let’s talk a little bit about the music in Chapter 6.
ZZ: “The goal was an energetic track, but yet dark feeling throughout. Early on, before it was written, I thought a lot about what kind of music would rightly represent this part of the narrative, and concluded that it would make sense to get the song somewhere like Ozzy’s Diary Of A Madman, deeply moody without being slow and ponderous. And with a sense of discomfort wherever possible. The song starts off with an acoustic section, building very slowly toward the main theme. Sadness, coupled with anger and frustration–those are the keywords used when composing. Think of the angry hits at 3:13. And the guitar cutting out in the main section starting at 3:48. The idea was to build tension into the whole thing, with a sense of drama. But here’s the essential thing: as in life, even in our darkest moments, there’s a glimmer of hope that carries us along. And that’s the chorus section here, sadness, but hope too.”