THIS IS HELL guitarist Rick Jimenez takes AP track by track through their latest album, Black Mass.
Too many people go through life making blind assumptions and bold statements based on hearsay and ignorance. I wrote this song about two separate instances that coincided thematically because they were cases of people throwing around words without being informed [or] expecting response. What's more gratifying than a bitter, old has-been shit-talking a group of people for their life choices, or an ignorant asshole adamantly protesting gay-rights and really getting theirs in the end? You push too far, [and] inevitably you're going to get pushed back.
The media and politicians all specialize in control. As much as they try to hide it, we have essentially reverted to a caste system. Despite what is projected through figureheads and "icons,” the castes are greatly rooted in race separation. I am extremely happy, appreciative and proud to be an American, but we have an extremely dark history—and we have an extremely dark present—and it is only a matter of time before people realize it and revolt.
“Salt The Earth”
This is a song about grudges and revenge, plain and simple. Sometimes a long-since-forgotten foe reemerges to air their grievances to anyone who will listen, in a pathetic attempt to validate their jealousy and moronic attitude. I've become so fed up with this type of bullshit, I figured I'd put an end to it in my mind once and for all by writing about ending the grudge by destroying this person both mentally and physically.
This will by far be the most misinterpreted song on the album—and that’s fine with me. Façades, masks [and] personas [are] all tricks to convince people something that is evil is [actually] pure. We've all fallen for this from time to time. Hindsight is 20/20, but that doesn't always heal the wounds. Exposing the truth in such a scathing way is quite a step in the right direction, though. Moral of the story: Never take things or people at face value.
“The Wars: Part I”
“The Wars: Part II”
As strange as it may—or may not—seem, these songs relate the similarities between "the struggle between a band and the music industry" and "the struggle between WWF & WCW during the Monday Night Wars" in the ‘90s. (Check Wikipedia.) To me, the music industry [now] is something I've attempted to use for its positives and fight against all the negatives. Sometimes positives come from negatives. Both WWF and WCW flourished during the ‘90s because both were being pushed by the others to stay one step ahead. At certain times, one was considered the underdog, one was in control [and] one was underappreciated. What it all comes down to is we've entered this war, we've made our stance—and we have no intentions of not leaving victorious.
I live in a heavily Hispanic area, but everything is run by the white man. Hispanics are treated like second-rate citizens. I am Hispanic, and it greatly influences how I am treated, and it always has for as long as I could remember. I was slapped in the face with this reality harder than ever when I searched for employment for a five-month period early this year. Once I suspected it had something to do with my last name, I started checking who was hired over me in several places and every single time it was a less-qualified person, but a white person. It's 2011, and it's New York. Are you fucking kidding me?
“The Last Outlaw”
Some bands give it their all, their everything, [and] sacrifice their lives for their craft, their music and their expression. Stick it out through the good and bad times. Other bands jump on bandwagons and buy into the bullshit aspect of music for the sake of being "a big band" and "adding members to their team" and all that fucking crap. Its half-hilarious, half-stomach-turning when the people that are now buying into that bullshit were the ones yelling "Sellout!" to my band years ago when we played a show with a $150 guarantee. Fucking sheep. Those people, bands and attitudes are destroying hardcore for me and make me question every little thing any band says. It seems like nothing is pure anymore.
The way the media had a field day with the death of Osama Bin Laden was an act of unmitigated gall. What's worse was the way 99 percent of America bought into the hoopla of it all. All the "We got ‘em!" and "Yes! USA #1!" that ran rampant was sickening. We've made a complete mockery out of the tragic events of 9/11 and it’s been spun so out of control so many times and has become nothing more than a marketing plan. The war on terror was one we lost immediately because the American media is the real terrorist.
One of my many mental breakdowns based around my financial insecurity spawned this song. I became so frustrated and worried one day I straight up threw a temper tantrum worthy of a six-year-old. Once I settled down from a "in-the-red 10" to a "in-the-red 9.8," I sat down and wrote this song. It was therapeutic in the way that I looked at my life from an outsider point of view and took all things into consideration as far as playing in a broke hardcore band, living my life, my actual lifespan—and the fact that I've always been a bit crazy and I feel myself going crazier and crazier as time goes by.