Terminal Nation discuss every track on their killer new album (which is streaming)
intro by Andrew Sacher and Erin Christie
With protests against racism, police brutality and other injustices happening all across the country this year, protest music has been hitting even harder than usual, and Little Rock, Arkansas band Terminal Nation's new album Holocene Extinction is 35 minutes of in-your-face, abrasive, cathartic, really fucking good protest music. They pull from early death and black metal as much as they pull from hardcore punk, and their songs exist within a thrilling middle ground that never fits neatly into any of those genres.
Lyrically, the album takes on the failings of the prison industrial complex, the pharmaceutical industry, and the war machine. It turns the mirror back around on those in power, and those who claim "patriotism." It's a record that asks not for reform, but an entire dismantling of the system. It resonates especially strongly right now, and it will continue to until there's some real change.
Holocene Extinction officially comes out Friday (8/7) via 20 Buck Spin (pre-order), but you can stream the whole thing right now. Vocalist Stan Liszewski also gave us a breakdown of each song on the album, so click play right here and then scroll down to see what Stan had to say...
1. "Cognitive Dissonance"
Admitting you are wrong is an incredibly difficult thing to do. It's a humbling experience, to say that you once had an awful mindset, but you've changed and now think differently. That shows growth. There are some hard-headed, obtuse types who use all sorts of mental gymnastics to justify their wrong and antiquated views, rather than just take their L and move on. I think, deep down, they know that they're wrong, but they're stuck on a sinking ship and committing to their bit until the end.
"The line in the sand's been drawn. Which side will you be on?"
2. "Arsenic Earth"
The planet is dying. This track is a frustrated and rage-filled perspective from the sidelines while we watch our home being destroyed. This is me screaming into the void, "How did we let this happen?," and because we let this happen, maybe we deserve what's coming.
"After 200 years humanity has stolen two million years off of the life of the Earth. Mother nature, I beg that you show us no mercy, just as we have to you."
3. "Holocene Extinction"
If "Arsenic Earth" is me being frustrated with humanity, "Holocene Extinction" is the rebuttal to that, and my frustrated self-reflection at that mindset. It's not humanity as a whole that's at fault for this current climate crisis, but rather, capitalism. Those in power have too much money at stake for things to ever be allowed to change. The almighty dollar is at the bottom of this all and, as it stands now, we have crossed the point of no return.
"You cannot save a world that refuses to be saved. Holocene Extinction."
4. "Master Plan"
This track is about various American institutions like the prison industrial complex, the police, the use of immigration camps, etc., and how people often refer to them as 'broken systems.' Many think that these programs have potential to be reformed. I'd disagree with that; to advocate for reform of these institutions implies that they have failed, but they have not failed. These are not 'broken systems;' they are functioning exactly how they were intended to. They were made to inflict harm, gain control over, and profit off society's most vulnerable and marginalized people. This was always their Master Plan.
"To advocate for reform of these violent institutions implies that they have failed, but they have not failed. This is exactly what they were always meant to be. The system is not broken, this is their master plan."
This is a fun throwback. The frame of this track was used in our first EP, Waste. It was the heaviest track on that record and it was deserving of a redo. We beefed it up production-wise and added a few new interesting parts. Simply put, this track is about the desire to exact revenge on those that have harmed you and harmed those that you love.
"Fuck around and find out."
6. "Thirst To Burn"
To piggyback on "Revenge," sometimes taking the high road means whoopin' some ass. Sometimes people absolutely need to be taken down by force. There is often privilege in saying 'violence isn't the answer.' Those saying that 'violence doesn't solve anything' usually don't have to live in fear of being on the receiving end of violence. There can be a great deal of risk involved in standing your ground, but sometimes, there is no other option.
"I would risk it all, just to see them fall."
7. "Orange Bottle Prison"
The pharmaceutical industry in the United States is a scam. I think we all know someone, or perhaps at one time or another, have personally avoided taking a particular drug that was deemed necessary by a physician because we couldn't afford it. I know I have. It's unfortunate, but making life-saving medicine affordable isn't something that fits within the scope of their current business model.
"If the drugs don't kill me then the price of them will, price-gouging the sick, pay or be fucking killed."
8. "Leather Envy"
Some people love the taste of that leather boot a little too much. Death to all bootlicking.
"Those who bow to their own oppressor are the weakest link in the chain of being."
9. "Expired Utopia"
This is the first time Terminal Nation has experimented with an instrumental track. It starts off with one riff, and if you listen closely, every 2 measures or so, you'll hear another riff layered on top of the previous one and it stacks up well. Even without lyrics, this song tells a story. Similar to "Holocene Extinction," this is a somber melody about the helpless feeling of knowing things are probably too far gone to be fixed. You often hear that once things get better, future generations will look back on this time and view it as a dark period, but what if there are no future generations? What if things won't get better? What if they only get worse? Any redeeming possibility for a peaceful utopian future has all but expired.
10. "Death For Profit"
War is extremely profitable and no one partakes in the business of war quite like the United States of America. American imperialism has run amuck for generations now, and the indoctrination of blind patriotism is what fuels that imperialism.
"The smell of money is used to hide the stench of death. Death toll rising or strategic ratings boost? Blinded by the concept of patriotism… this is the empowerment of imperialism. Death for profit to the highest bidder, when will we ever learn?"
11. "Caskets of the Poor"
Military recruiters view poor, marginalized, and underprivileged youth as fodder. They prey on young, poor folks with pipedreams of a better life and send them to die to benefit the old, powerful, and rich. It's a tale as old as time.
"I pledge allegiance to perpetual war and the flag that blankets the caskets of the poor."
12. "Disciple of Deceit"
"Disciple of Deceit" is about these right-wing politicians and political types who use their cherry-picked version of Christianity as a means to infringe upon the existence of others. They'll go after things like marriage equality, other religious beliefs, trans rights, abortion rights, and more, taking stabs at some of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in the US, yet, upon meeting any resistance to their regressive way of thinking, they develop a persecution complex and act as if they are the ones that are the oppressed.
"You wouldn't know oppression if it nailed you to the fucking cross."
13. "Age of Turmoil"
The closing track on the LP is a culmination of all of the topics that are previously touched on, but from a perspective that's a bit more hopeful. Who knows exactly what the future holds for us, but in the interim, we've got to look out for one another and weather through this age of turmoil.