Re-Releases Part 1: Misery (2000)


The Misery album took just over two years to write and record. I started working on it ideas for it in September of 1998 and finished it in December of 2000. In the early years Dumbass was a pretty aggressive noise rock band. For the next Dumbass album I wanted to push things a lot further in a lot of different directions. I had been reading a lot of comparative mythology at the time and wanted to create a large-scale concept album about the process of change, told through a mythological cycle of death and rebirth. I wanted to use the sort of symbolic story-telling methods that are observed in world mythology to talk about the concept of change in the abstract, to tell a story in archetypes that was actually about something more basic than narrative itself.

page_72-600x600I started by working out the sort of symbols and archetypes I would use, and then the stages of the death and rebirth story. I knew it was going to be a double album that formed a cycle, where the first disc led directly to the second and the second led directly back to the first. I had the idea that someone could put the two cds into a cd changer on repeat and one would flow into the other and back to the first and on and on an on…

I was still a teenager when I started writing this album and I can hear that when I listen to it, but it’s still an album that I’m proud of.

page_14-600x600Here’s what I wrote about it in 2004 or so:

“The making of the Misery album was an intense process. I worked on this album in total isolation, with no creative interaction with other people for a period of two years. I began with a lot of ideas. Musically, I wanted to make an album that would break Dumbass out of the
industrial-noise-rock box. I wanted the album to do everything. I wanted to make an album that explored so much musical ground, that afterwards, anything I wanted to do would make perfect sense. So the album needed industrial-noise-rock, in fact, it needed to push that even further. But it also needed to be mellower than anything I’d ever done. It needed to do all sorts of things that I’d never done. After 2 full years of work I had about 6 hours of completed music… and I don’t even know how much I scrapped.

page_19-600x600I also went into this album with an extremely complicated concept, which made for very strict and difficult working conditions. The album deals with symbols, and specifically (though not limited to) those representing change. At its most basic level, the album is about change, the painful, difficult, cyclical and yet progressive process of change. The album is about death and life, about rebirth and repetition, about evolution, weakness, strength, pain, joy, etc. For maximum effect, play both discs of the album, one after the other, on repeat (the album is designed to flow in a continuous cycle).

Zeke Mason”


page_152-600x600Disc 1:

01 Incipio (in medias res)
02 Cold Fate
03 Burning in my Dreams (Annihilate)
04 When
05 Fall
06 10 Seconds
07 The Way
08 Strength
09 Quiet
10 Wondering how far down
11 Submerge
12 I’d be
13 Belong
14 Grey
15 Surrender
16 The Dying God
17 The Void

If you can, listen to the whole album straight through, on repeat. The last song on the first disc leads directly to the first song on the second disc, and the last song on the second disc leads directly into the first song on the first disc. The album as a whole forms a continuous loop.


Disc 2:

01 In the Belly of the Beast
02 The Return
03 Disillusioned
04 The Chills of Memory
05 Strength from Weakness
06 Nine
07 Ascent
08 Atrophy
09 Blue
10 “The Chimes at Midnight”
11 Green
12 Archetype
13 The Living
14 The Nothing
15 Altered Now
16 Faithless Still
17 Ariel
18 Crash
19 Home is Foreign (The Final Ascent)
20 Fin.

CLICK HERE to head down memory lane and visit the old mini-site for the album. There is more of the album art up there and a couple of little surprises hidden here and there.

page_3-600x600Singles and Further:

At the end of two years or pretty much constant work I had recorded a massive amount of music.

page_52-600x600A lot of ideas were scrapped, but, in total, about 6 or 7 hours of music was completed. I had written songs specifically to go in certain places in the narrative, so when the time came to compile the album, I was picking from batches of songs that were meant to go in specific places on one of the two discs. The final album was about 2 hours and 40 minutes. Then there were three singles, each with a lot of b-sides; and finally there was an alternate, single-disc version of the album called Further, which told the same narrative, but in a compressed form, with totally different songs.

I’ve not uploaded MP3s of the b-sides and Further, because it would just be a massive amount of music. But if anyone is interested you can contact us through our facebook page and we can send them to you.

cold_fate_coverSingle 1: Cold Fate

Cold Fate was meant to be a sort of transitional track. It begins with an industrial-rock sort of vibe in the verse and choruses, but then moves into a more abstract solo section and outro. I wanted it to start somewhere familiar and end by opening up into a bigger landscape. The b-sides on the single were meant to lead the listener further and further away from the familiar.

01 Cold Fate
02 Falling Down
03 Nowhere You
04 Dethroned
05 Hate Beyond Hope
06 Solace

the_way_coverSingle 2: The Way/10 Seconds

The second single was a double a-side and loaded with b-sides. The a-sides are heavy and noisy and the b-sides match. It opened with a shorter radio-edit of The Way for college radio (which was the only place we got airplay, though, to be fair, we never sent cds to any other stations).

01 The Way (Radio Edit)
02 10 Seconds
03 Motion
04 Slight
05 Infinite Disasters
06 Pressure
07 Crucible
08 Dismembered
09 Excess
10 While (Ver. 2)
11 Relentless Punishment
12 Crawl
13 The Way (Album Version)
14 Loop
15 Once
16 Boil
17 Asshole

surrender_coverSingle 3: Surrender

The Surrender single featured more atmospheric and pretty songs. It was also  loaded down with b-sides.

01 Surrender
02 Twitch
03 Mirror
04 Mines
05 All I see
06 Rise
07 Flinch
08 Dawn
09 Dusk
10 Clouds
11 Survive
12 Harm
13 Systems Collapse
14 If
15 Being Watched
16 Slow Waves Rising
17 Surrender (Demo)


Further was an afterthought. Even with both discs of the album and three singles worth of b-sides there was still some completed music that I liked that I hadn’t done anything with. So I came up with the idea to create an alternate version of the album on a single disc. It tells the same narrative as the original 2-disc album, but in a more compressed manner, and with songs that have a pretty different sound to the ones that I selected for the album. I wanted to try to make selections that felt like they used the same archetypes, but in a very different myth.

01 Inception
02 Fall
03 Transgression
04 Alles ist Nacht
05 The Golden Age Before the Inevitable Decline
06 Crumble
07 Unsure
page_153-600x55908 Further
09 Revenio
10 Nox adest
11 Necessary
12 Cauldron
13 Deus Mortalis
14 Myth
15 Reaffirming the Sense of Discontent
16 Melancholy
17 Pale Grey
18 Machine
19 Hung on the World Tree
20 Avalon
21 Squall



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