For nearly ten years now, Ohio post-hardcore outfit Wolves At The Gate have been providing some of the most consistent and thought-provoking heavy music around. From 2012′s scorching debut Captors to today’s fierce eye-opener Eclipse, Wolves At The Gate continue to churn out melodic yet hard-hitting records that make you want to both sing and scream along to.
Take the band’s latest LP, for example. For 13 straight songs, the Solid State signees are able to give listeners a wide range of emotions embodying the perfect balance of heavy and soft. Talking about the motivation behind blending these two contrasting styles together, vocalist/guitarist Stephen Cobucci says it all ties into the album’s name.
“We named the record Eclipse because of how well it encapsulated the relationship the light and the dark can have,” he says. “An eclipse tells you that it’s dark, but it takes truth and faith to know that the sun is still shining. All of this revolves around my walk of faith in believing the truths of the gospel message, seeking to help others find hope and peace in the love of God, as well as how to come to grips with various social/political/personal issues.”
Giving fans an even further look into the brilliant work of art that is Eclipse, Cobucci sat down with The Noise to explain the meanings behind each and every song on the album. To check out the singer’s honest and open track by track rundown, be sure to look below. Afterward, make sure to pick up a copy of Eclipse here.
We’re excited that this is the first track people hear on the new record because it truly captures the wide dynamics sonically and lyrically that we wanted to deliver. Both musically and lyrically it’s a roller coaster of darkness, tension, and release. The whole album revolves around the idea of the light being obscured by the darkness and creating a “different reality.” This song is about how when that darkness comes, it creates a different reality that seems so real but is just a lie. This song cries out for help and grace in times of doubt and fear.
Face To Face
“Face To Face” probably went through the most changes to its structure. It was rewritten more times than I can remember. Our guitarist Joey believed in it from the first day he heard it and worked hard to help it get to its final stages. Regardless of all of those changes, the lyrical content remained the same. We so often fear having our weaknesses and flaws revealed, going to great lengths to ensure they are hidden from everyone to see. … This song is about how I was forced to come to grips with many of my sins and weaknesses in order for me to see that there is forgiveness in the love of God. Even though accepting my own guilt seemed like death to me, it was the very thing that led me to trusting and resting in God’s grace.
A Voice In The Violence
This song carries a lot of weight and emotion in it for us as a band. It’s so easy to identify with feeling the burden of darkness in our hearts and minds as we wrestle with the sins and addictions that plague us. The lyrics carry a dialogue that goes back and forth between thoughts of falling into despair and then hearing the voice of truth calling me away from running headlong into the things that are killing and destroying me. We so often entertain this love affair with the sins, addictions, and vices that ruin us whether it be mentally, physically, or spiritually. These pursuits are always irrational and cause us to drown out the voice of God. The voice of truth. A voice that carries messages of hope, grace, and mercy. Yet the beauty in all of this comes in the fact that there is no hell too deep for God to pull us out of. It is in these darkest of times that God shows even more grace and love.
Songs like this one are so important to us as a band because they’ve come from real heart-to-heart conversations. We’re brothers. We bear each other’s burdens. A lot of the time when you just bury away the pain, the hurt, the lies, the emotion, it tears you apart on the inside until it eventually begins to manifest on the outside. As an outsider looking in, I could see how Nick was being torn apart and was stuck spirally down the same road. Numerous songs throughout our career have come from these sorts of situations where Nick just spilled his heart and we were able to build him up in the truth reminding him of the greater love he has in Christ and how all his failure and sin was erased at the cross.
We tend to think that the great enemies in our lives are “out there” while ignoring a certain truth that we ourselves tend to be our greatest enemies. The song begins with an arrogant and misguided fight against the “enemy” that is soon realized to be myself. This has been a humbling experience that I have been through many times in my life. I figured it was about time that I cataloged how this progression tends to go for myself and ultimately how my hope of escape from this is in the power of God.
Evil Are The Kings
This was the first song that came out when I started writing for this record and helped set the tone for quality and level I wanted all the other songs to be on. Our guitarist Joey played a big role in helping this song come together in the way that it did. He helped me restructure it in a way that really took advantage of the strengths of the song. In writing this song, I immediately knew what I wanted it to be about. As a society, we have amassed a world of knowledge, but it hasn’t moved mankind one step further to making peace, stopping wars, curing racism, etc. If “knowledge is the power” then we are to be considered evil kings. Politics haven’t moved the needle of solving any of these issues and all that has been revealed is that while there may be shifts in power and policy the greatest need we all have is for our hearts to be changed.
The music of this song was something I had written a long time ago but was never able to put all the pieces together. While on tour last year I was finally able to get all the pieces to fall together. Our drummer Abishai was critical in helping me structure the format of the song in its early stages. When I sat down to title all of these songs, I realized that an eclipse was the imagery that best encompassed the heart of this song. As I continued to think about this imagery and concept, I realized how it touched all of these songs in one way or another. Songs like this are very personal for me as I use them as outlets to be vulnerable with myself and with our fans for them to be encouraged by the fact that I often have the same doubts and fears that they may have. Yet while also having these same doubts and fears, there are still certain truths that we all can rest upon for peace and comfort.
This song is a response to the Ghandi quote, “I like your Christ, not your Christians.” The truth of this statement is not lost on me and to be honest, it grieves me. I can understand why people’s view of “American Christianity” puts a bad taste in their mouth and am sadden by the fact that the name of Christ gets dragged through the mud and applied to people and organizations that do not represent what true faith is. When people hear that we are a Christian band, it immediately conjures up all sorts of thoughts, generally negative ones, yet I can understand why. I can see how it is really difficult for some people to separate emotional pain and damage caused by some wearing the name “Christian” from the one they claim to follow, namely Jesus. I say that in the lyrics of the song, “You find a lot of fault in me - I find it hard to disagree with you - I’ll own my crimes - My guilt has shut my mouth.” I’m not here to talk about myself, there isn’t much good to say. But I believe in a good Savior. This strikes at the very heart of what we want people to see in our lyrics. Christianity is not about a person’s ability to be perfect, but imperfect people trusting in a perfect Savior. Our guitarist Joey summarized the song well by saying, “The presence of hypocrisy does not equal the absence of God.” This song is a call to take your eyes off of messed up people and to take a look for yourself at who Jesus is.
I wrote “History” in light of all of the racial tension I see within our culture. I have dear friends that have been on the receiving end of this prejudice [and] it’s sad that even after all this time and all we know this still is very present in the heart of our society. It is because we have tended to turn a blind eye to our past that we are ignorant [of] the present issues. Our culture does not have a healthy relationship with this issue and therefore it causes serious strife and conflict. Everyone is fighting for their side of the argument and in that fight there will only be victims. It’s a wake-up call that identifying with political parties, the color of your skin, etc. puts you further into bondage and perpetuates this cycle of hatred and violence.
The Sea In Between
This song is an imagery of my salvation. I knew God existed and I knew I was separated from Him. I was on a shore and an endless sea separated us. The sea was a metaphor for my sin and my attempts to live self-righteously. I tried to live a perfect life and make up for all my failure and sin. Every time I navigated those seas, I failed, was destroyed, and was washed back to shore left with nothing. Yet in the goodness of God, Christ came and saved me, trudging through the sea that separated me from Him by dying the death I deserved.
I remember writing this song really late one night in my studio and how it all came together so quickly. Sometimes a song just seems to fall into place all in one sitting and that was the case for this song. Every piece of it came together that night including the vocals, but to no surprise, I struggled to figure out what to write about. It wasn’t until many months after that I was thinking about the idea of how differently we all view this journey of life. For some, it is a terror. For some, joy. And I thought about the fact that however you view the destination of the journey affects how you experience it. If all you have to look forward to [is the] temporal aspects of life, then that can be incredibly bleak for many. And to others it may not seem like that big a deal but nothing we have here can be kept forever. If I can quote one of our older songs called “Morning Star”: I know this is a voyage, it’s not my destination. My hope is not in what I can gain out of this life regarding physical things, but that in the fact that all good things I enjoy here are just a shadow of the joy it will be to know God and see Him face to face.
There are a lot of voices out there vying for our attention. Voices that don’t have our best interests in mind. Voices in the media, politics, and sometimes even our own minds that push an agenda based upon lies. This track was written as a sort of fight song against those things to give a voice back to those that desire to push back against those lies. I love how the pace and rhythm of this song perfectly fits the content. Hopefully this song can help give the listener a voice and words to say [and] combat these lies.
Blessings & Curses
It was actually our drummer Abishai who created the core of this song. He wrote a drum groove that he was really into and so he put a simple chord progression down to go with it. He showed it to me while we were on tour and it just clicked with me. As soon as I heard it I knew it needed to be one of our songs and we started working on it right then and there on tour. It has a crazy time signature and then at the end the time signature bounces back and forth, but you’d never know it, which is really cool. This is a song about betrayal, namely my betrayal. It puts me in awe of the fact that all I ever offered God was my betrayal and my curse and yet in return He gives me the blessing of His forgiveness and love.