I know I’ve said this before about bands, but in this case… this MAY be the last Amaranthe track I post. Amaranthe fans have long quarreled over whether the band is trying to be pop, metal, or something in between. This album, while great, is arguably the least metal of the bunch and honestly is starting to sound more like something you’d hear from Miley Cyrus, Pink, or an R&B artist. The harsh vocals seem to be getting less and less time as each album comes out… so I think we have our answer.
There are just so fewer songs on this album that are actually enjoyable compared to it’s predecessors.
That being said… Endlessly… This is almost everything a power ballad should be. The vocals are strong, the blaring guitar solos are incredible, the lyrics are moving, and honestly, if this song doesn’t evoke a strong emotional response… check your pulse, you might be dead.
It’s not completely perfect though, while Elize really shows just how powerful her voice is in this song, I would have held that last note for longer and have it be accompanied by percussion… I know, I know, that’s an old-school trick that we see in many MANY musicals, and ballads, but it would have worked there.
When to listen: Admittedly, I just added this song to my playlist, so I’m not really sure where it will become relevant just yet. However I could see this being worked in as the theme to either a love story or even a tragic romance. Listening to this song, I thought of one of two of the saddest scenes I’d ever written. I invite you to turn on the song while you read these:
From Soul Siphon:
The beam dissipated, leaving Corban in his original form. Sunlight poured into the massive chamber from the surface as he breathed a sigh of relief and turned to Mary, who had finally let go of him, “It’s over, we won!”
Horror overtook Corban’s world when he saw what had happened. Mary was lying on her back looking at him. Her face had gone pale and her hair was fading to match. She was aging at an accelerated rate, “I know we did… you kept your promise.”
“Mary what happened?”
Mary smiled, “I don’t know how, but the rush of energy drained me of the power Adramelech gave me. When you expelled all that power, it dragged my immortality with it.”
“You saved me…”
“Least I could do, yeah?”
Xaphine watched from afar as Johnny and Vlad ran over to her, “Mary, no… vat happened!”
Corban looked over at Vlad with tears in his eyes, “She’s dying!”
Mary’s red hair slowly turned white. She reached up to Corban and wiped away the tear that was making its way down his cheek, “No crying, yeah? You kept your promise to me. I couldn’t ask for any more.”
Corban’s breathing intensified as he channeled the energy to his hands again. Vlad looked at him oddly, “Vat are you doing?”
“My power stole her immortality, maybe I can give it back!”
Corban held his right hand over Mary’s head and forced the energy from his hand, creating a force field around her. It flickered for a moment and then disappeared. He tried again with the same result.
Xaphine frowned, “It won’t work.”
“How so?” Corban demanded. “Adramelech’s power gave her this immortality, it can do it again!”
Corban tried a third time, this time holding his power in check. This time, instead of a pulse, his energy formed a beam that shot from his hand and quickly engulfed Mary’s body. It was far brighter than the previous attempts.
Mary lay back with a content look on her face. She was certain that his efforts wouldn’t be enough to save her, but she was happy in that he cared enough to try. Being wanted was a feeling that she’d all but forgotten about.
Corban clenched every muscle in his body. He was in intense pain as the energy drained from his being. Beads of sweat formed on his skin as he pushed. The pain quickly overwhelmed his senses and his hand began to tremble to the point where he was unable to direct the beam correctly. The field around Mary slowly faded away just as the others had.
Corban slammed his fist on the ground, “Damn it, no!”
Mary reached up and touched his face, “It’s okay hero, you tried. It’s okay.”
“That’s not good enough.”
Mary’s hair was almost completely white now. Corban leaned forward and kissed her deeply for as long as he could. When he finally pulled away to catch his breath, Mary could see that tears were pouring from his eyes. He knew that there was no way to save her, “I’m sorry…”
“You did everything you could.”
Scars appeared on her face as she continued to age, “Corban… look away… remember me as I was. I don’t want this to be your last image of me, please.”
Corban held her close, and closed his eyes. Mary looked over at Johnny, “Look after him for me, yeah?”
Johnny lowered his eyes, but did not respond as Mary’s skin ripped itself apart and she began to revert to how she looked after she had been murdered. She released her last breath as the skin on her face was peeled away and her wounds reopened. A second later, her body turned to dust. There was nothing left for Corban to hold on to.
Corban looked down at the small piles of dust on the ground around him, “I love you too…”
Once Piero had positioned himself against the rock, he used what strength he still had and called to her, “Xaphine, I’m over here! This way!”
Xaphine’s head jerked to the side as she heard his voice. Her heart jumped and she ran towards the sound. Nothing could stop her now that she knew where he was.
Piero saw her appear out of the darkness as she ran toward him. Her eyes darted back and forth until she saw him lying on a rock. She quickly sprinted to him and knelt down.
Tears filled her eyes as she saw how badly injured he was “Piero, my love… my sweet husband…”
Piero smiled at her, “I’m glad you’re here now, at the end.”
“Don’t talk like that, this isn’t the end, it can’t be! You can’t die on me! You went through too much to get me back. You fought so hard, you can’t die here. The Piero I married wouldn’t give up this easily.”
“I fear I don’t have much choice… I can feel my heart beat slowing.”
Xaphine’s breathing increased as she could see Piero was fading fast. He had held out long enough to see her face again, but his strength was almost gone. As he laid his head on the ground and closed his eyes, Xaphine became frantic, “Yes you do, come on fight it!”
Francesco came up behind them. Because of his advanced hearing, he could sense Piero’s heartbeat slowing, “Xaphine… we’re losing him…”
“No, shut up!” She yelled with tears falling down her cheeks, “This isn’t happening! I won’t let it.”
Xaphine pulled Piero’s armor off and tore open his tunic, exposing his chest. She then closed her eyes to center herself, slapped her hands together, and rubbed them until they started glowing yellow in color. Her eyes also began to glow as she prepared what little power she had left.
Francesco’s eyes narrowed as he heard a low hum coming from her hands, “Xaphine, what are you planning on doing?”
“I still have one shard of divinity left to me. I’m going to use it to transfer my life energy to him. It should keep him alive long enough to heal.”
Francesco stepped forward, reaching out for her, “Your life energy?”
“It’s the living spirit within me. If I can transfer a portion of it to him, it may be enough to save him.”
Francesco wasn’t sure he liked this idea, “But won’t that damage you?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never actually seen anyone do this before. It’s a forbidden art. If I use too much though, it will most likely kill me.”
Francesco’s eyes widened, “Xaphine you can’t do this. Piero would not want you risking your life. He fought for you out there today!”
“I know that, but what life is there for me without Piero? I know it’s selfish, but I will not let him die. Death holds no horror for me if the alternative is a life without him and then an eternity in the well.”
Xaphine’s hands glowed brightly as she placed them on Piero’s forehead and chest. She gasped and breathed heavily as the energy left her body. It was painful, but she didn’t care. Nothing could compare to the void that would be left in her chest if he died.
Once Piero’s body stopped convulsing from the impact, she could see that her effort had not changed anything. Piero was still dying. Xaphine shook her head in panic. She rubbed her hands together again and slammed them down on to Piero, “Come on, damn you!”
Francesco could hear the worry in her voice as she spoke, “It’s not working… come on Piero!”
Tears began to fall from her eyes as she tried two more times, “Come on, don’t leave me Piero… please!”
The pain was becoming too much for Xaphine. Her wings spread as far as they could and her skin was drenched in sweat. Her breathing became more labored and it became more and more difficult for her lungs to accept air. The world was also beginning to blur while her energy escaped.
As Xaphine continued to pound Piero’s body with her own life-force energy, her skin began to go pale and her hair started showing white lines that became more numerous with each blast of life. She saw what was happening but did not care. Her hands slapped together again and again she hit Piero’s body.
Francesco could now hear only one heartbeat; Xaphine’s. Much to his dismay, it was now also slowing to a halt. Desperate to end this, he put his right hand on Xaphine’s shoulder, “Stop… it’s too late, he’s gone. If you keep this up any longer, it will kill you.”
“Shut up, shut… up!” She screamed, her eyes now bright red. “Do you think I care? As I said, I would rather spend an eternity in the Well of Souls than dwell here without him! It is not too late, it can’t be. – Breath!”
Xaphine slapped her hands together again. Each time she did this, the glow on her hands dimmed slightly. Her skin was now a ghostly white, she was impoverished, and her features had withered. All that was left was little more than a skeleton as the life force drained from her body. The lines on her face made her almost unrecognizable and her eyes were shaded as though she had not slept in years.
Francesco listened helplessly as her own breathing became more and more labored. Sorrow filled his heart as he listened to yet another friend dying, “Please Xaphine, do you think that Piero would want this? You need to stop! He would want you to live!”
Xaphine ignored Francesco’s pleas as tears rolled down her cheeks. She breathed heavily as she brushed the snow white hair from her face and rubbed her hands together one more time. As she slammed her hands down on her husband’s lifeless body, she let out a loud grunt. Her heart rate had slowed to a crawl and it had become almost impossible for her to draw a full breath.
No longer possessing the energy to hold herself up, she collapsed on to Piero’s chest sobbing. Her husband’s skin was no longer warm and soft like it was when he first touched her. Laying her head over his heart could not sooth her anymore and her life was all but spent. She was a corpse. Though still breathing, her body was already dead. There was no going back.
Francesco shook his head as he sat down behind them, “How could it have come to this? We did everything we could. Xaphine has been saved, Lucifer has been destroyed, and we even made it back in time to warn the Republic. Oh Lord, have we done something to anger you in some way? This does not seem just.”
Xaphine shook her head, “It’s no good…”
She slowly released her breath, convinced that her body wouldn’t accept many more, “I’m so sorry, my love… you were so strong for me. Even when I told you there was no hope, you refused to listen. You were stubborn and kept fighting. You did all that for me… you were magnificent, but I don’t have the power left to save you…”
Francesco felt tears fall from his eyes at hearing such sad words, “Xaphine… I’m… sorry.”
Xaphine shook her head as she weakly turned to Francesco, “You’ve been most kind to us. You gave my husband hope, and gave me back my happy life. You have nothing to apologize for.”
She sucked in a deep breath, “This is my punishment. My arrogance and ambition… I thought being damned to the underworld was as bad as things could get, but that was nothing compared to the torment I face now. The Most High must have known this would happen. He would have known that eventually I would see the light… that I would find happiness, only to have it ripped away from me. He must have…”
Xaphine looked up into the night sky. The streams of tears on her cheeks sparkled in the moonlight, “Lord Most High, what more do you want of me? I understand now… I get it, you win. I was such a fool and I accept responsibility for the mistakes I made. Why take him away when he has done no wrong?”
Xaphine lowered her eyes and clasped the gem on her chest, “Were you hoping that I would suffer? Was that your plan?”
Her eyes once again looked up at the stars as she screamed, “Well it worked! I’m hurting now, worse than ever. You’ve made your point. Please, take my soul… commit me to the Well, or if you would prefer, allow Dēofol to torment me for all eternity, but please give Piero back his life. It’s not fair for you to punish him to further torment me. All he wanted was to bring back the one he loved. You mustn’t consider that a sin!”
Xaphine waited a few more painful moments. When no response came to her weak voice, she shook her head slowly, “You’re still not willing to compromise? Then forgive me, my lord… I beg your indulgence, but I must defy you one… last… time…”
Xaphine touched her husband’s cheek and kissed him, “Piero, my husband… I love you.”
She rubbed her hands together again. This time, only one hand glowed and it was very dim, “One last drop… all I have left to give… for everything you’ve given me…”
Francesco shook his head, “Xaphine, please… don’t do it…”
Xaphine ignored Francesco and raised her hand to Piero’s chest. As she was about to force the last bit of energy she had into his lifeless body, she kissed her husband’s cheek again, “Goodbye… my love…”
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