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Jacobs Dream

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Last month Jacobs Dream released its new album Theater Of War in Europe. The band recorded this CD for Metal Blade Records at the John Schwab Studios in their home town of Columbus, Ohio, USA. Jacobs Dream produced the album themselves with a tremendous amount of help from Joe Viers, the chief engineer at John Schwab Studios. Theater Of War contains nine tracks and in this article drummer Billy Queen gives you an exclusive introduction to each song. It might either be something about the way the song came into being and its background or some sort of anecdote.

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Discography: Demo-CD (1996), Self-titled (2000), Theater Of War (2001). Available through: Metal Blade Records. Official website: Jacobs Dream. Interview by: mpo. Date: May 18th 2001.

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Sanctuary - Well, Sanctuary grew out of a riff that John Berry played one day. He just played this one riff. And we thought: "That's really cool, what was that?" Then he said "that was nothing. That was just a riff." So, we started working on the riff more. And we started developing the song. And it basically grew out of just a very small idea for a song.

Theater Of War - We've been playing Theater Of War live. We've been playing it on the tour. I think we played it at the Wacken Festival too. So, that song's been written for quite some time. When we were in the studio, it was very late, we were very tired. You know, we were exhausted. We were getting goofy. You know, when you get really really tired sometimes you get goofy. And we were sitting with Joe. And he said something about: "Let's do this part here on Theater Of War". And I thought he said 'the otter of war'. I don't know if you guys have otters over there. They are tiny animals that swim around and are real cute (laughs). And I looked at Joe and I said: "The otter of war?". So that what the title was when we were working on it. It was called The Otter Of War.

Traces Of Grace - Some of the lyrics to Traces Of Grace...John Berry, David and myself sat down in my basement. And I like wine. I like good wine. I had a bottle of twenty year old Tawny Port. And I poured myself a glass and was sitting there drinking wine and we were just talking about different things. And we started working on those lyrics together. And it was kind of ironic because David would come up with one line. And then maybe I would come up with the next line. And then John Berry would come up with the next line. And we just kind of sat there and it was almost a going around in a circle the way those lyrics developed to that song. And it was all while we were drinking very fine wine (laughs).

Traces Of Grace is probably my favourite song on the album too. I like that song the most. I like the feel of that song. I like the little off-time interlude we do in the middle. I think the structuring of that song is very good. I think there's a lot of interesting guitar play between the two guitars. I think the synths is just perfect. It augments the song but it's not overbearing. But yet the parts the synths does are interesting and it sounds good. I think I'm happy with Traces Of Grace all the way round.

Wisdom - David is the proud father of a baby son. His son is now about fourteen months old. But his son wasn't around when Wisdom was originally written. So now redoing that song it gave him a completely new perspective. Because for the first time in his life he's a father. And those are the words of wisdom that he would like to instil upon his son. So it gave him a new sense of being, redoing that song. It gave him a new intensity for the lyrics. And he did a really good job on the lyrics of that song. So it has a special meaning for David now.

The Warning - This is actually a song that Jacobs Dream did before they were Jacobs Dream. That's a very very old song. They used to do that one maybe four, five or six years ago when they were the band called Iron Angel. And the song was very very long. It went on and on and on and on and on! (laughs). So, we started goofing around with it and decided that we would kind of rekindle that song. And the first thing we did was chop the lyrics down quite a bit and cut the song down. That song used to be...Oh, man! I don't know how long it was but it went on and on! So we cut it down and restructured it and changed some of the riffs, and basically rewrote the song. And it turned out a lot better now. So I guess I can honestly say that the less you hear of the song the better it is (laughs).

Sarah Williams - Sarah Williams is a fictional character. But it is based on true events. I think the statistics are that around 50,000 people a year get killed in the United States by drunk drivers. And we just kinda thought it was a subject that we should put out there and try to get people to think about. And especially since this song is written from the viewpoint of a man who has done something horrible. He killed someone that he loved and he's going to live with that guilt and pain for the rest of his life. We just thought that it was the appropriate time to put that song out to the general public. So hopefully people will listen to it and think about the subject.

I know somebody personally who listened to that song and it had an effect on them. Because they had lost a loved one to a drunk driver and they were holding a lot of anger and bitterness in their hearts towards that person who had committed the crime. And when they heard those lyrics, they listened to them, and it actually softened them up a little bit. Because for the first time in their lives since that poor boy's accident they realized that this wasn't a monster. This was a human being who had made a terrible mistake. A horrible decision. He did something very wrong. But he was suffering too. And that was a thought they had never had. They had never realized. This person who perpetrated this horrible thing upon them was in fact suffering along as well. So, that's kind of a good thing that came out of Sarah Williams.

De Machine Est Deo - The instrumental. That is Latin, I believe, for 'the machine is God'. Really there is no meaning behind that. That's actually something you need to ask John Berry about. Because he wanted to call it 'the machine is God' but he wanted to call it in some other language. And we were running out of time. We couldn't find us anybody to tell us how to say it and how to spell it. So he just decided to call it that. It's either Latin or Spanish and to be honest with you I don't even know because he said: "Here's what we are going to call this one." And we all just kinda looked at it and went "Oh, okay!" (laughs). That one has a meaning to John Berry that no one else really knows for sure. Actually, the machine is God can be taken two ways. The machine is God, talking about technology and men's dependence upon machines. And how the world pretty much revolves around technology and machinery and labour saving devices. So, it can be taken that way. Or, it can be taken that if you talk about this whole world, this whole universe, the entire creation, that we exist in, that you think of that as the machine. We believe that that was created by God. So there are two different meanings to that. The Machine Is God.

Black Souls - This song is basically an allegory for the history that the Bible sets forth. It revolves around the age old subject of good versus evil. Pretty much the entire theme of the CD is conflict. And that is just another type of conflict. Religion has instilled lots of different kinds of conflicts in the world. And some it's been good and some of it's been bad. Some of it still goes on today. There's all kinds of conflicts when you start talking about religion. So basically all we did was represent the allegory of the biblical point of view of history. And, that's something you can look at and agree with or it is something you can look at and just read it as a history book. That's kind of where that song derives from.

Critical Mass - This is a song about the United States dropping the atomic bomb on Japan. And we're not saying it's a good thing. We're not saying it's a bad thing. All we did was represent the fact that it happened. We're all big history buffs. We love studying history. Because when you forget history, you're more likely to make the same mistakes again. We simply put it out there as a statement of fact. This is what happened. There are so many points of view at the time about "did we do the right thing?" and "did we do the wrong thing?". We didn't want to get involved with whether it was right or wrong. We just don't ever want people to forget the mistakes that mankind has made in the past. So we pretty much figured the ultimate, the epitome of conflict and the horrible results that come from a physical theater of war. And that's why that song ended up being the last one.

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