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The Lost Grimoire

by Headless Relatives

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1.
The Machine 02:10
When I was a young man I dreamt of the day When I would take up the doctor's good trade But when those who come to me are trembling and green The cause it is me and my horrid Machine To tend to the ailing was my one desire But my ministrations are fearful and dire I polish the blade, keep it deadly and clean I'm bound to tradition and to the Machine My father before me was met with contempt No one likes a headsman or a headsman's get But though I swore his work was not made for me I find myself here with this monstrous Machine To tend to the ailing was my one desire But my ministrations are fearful and dire I polish the blade, keep it deadly and clean I'm bound to tradition and to the Machine I studied the body and the nature of life But I had to tend to my children and wife To keep bellies full I gave up my dream And helped to construct this deadly Machine To tend to the ailing was my one desire But my ministrations are fearful and dire I polish the blade, keep it deadly and clean I'm bound to tradition and to the Machine I've watched the demise of rulers and kings Short-lived are the hands that tug on the strings But the face of death, it is ever serene Nothing is certain except the Machine
2.
Catacombs 04:02
I huddle in concrete tunnels I hear footsteps nearby Red paint splattered on the wall A good place to die I feel like a murderer So I am I suppose But nobody needs to fear me This is as far as it goes Start walking Do laps Don't stop Until you collapse I know every inch of these tunnels I know them like my sins The repetition is unnerving When you first begin Up above me people lead their lives In full view of the sun But down here in the catacombs I am the only one Start walking Do laps Don't stop Until you collapse Keep walking Until you cam't feel a thing Don't stop Let your footsteps ring Keep walking Make these catacombs your tomb Don't stop Transfiguration is coming soon
3.
Flee the crowds that mill in the courtyard Find a place where you can be safe Hide yourself where rainbow stalactites brush your head In your wooden cave And when your thoughts become unbearable Make for the racks of books With unreadable symbols running down their spines And take a long, hard look Nothing can preserve you Like staring at a page With characters that silence your mind Nothing can preserve you Like staring at a page With characters that silence your mind Find the ledgers full of names of immigrants Who sailed from Holland long ago See the rows of numbers encoding their lives With information you'll never know See unfinished odes on the blinds Written their by a legion of hands Rearrange the fragments until they disappear Don't try to understand Nothing can preserve you Like staring at a page With characters that silence your mind Nothing can preserve you Like staring at a page With characters that silence your mind When the tumult dies down Return to the world anew The knowledge that you glean from pages you can't read Will be a bulwark for you Nothing can preserve you Like staring at a page With characters that silence your mind Nothing can preserve you Like staring at a page With characters that silence your mind
4.
Dark Vigil 02:51
I stepped outside Into the yard And I could hear the chorus A thousand maws Unleashing hell Sweet cacophony And I know that the black cloaks Are here for me They know that the best meals Are the ones you get for free But I've been sharpening my pencils And drawing up my master plan And I've been sharpening my fingernails To etch it into the palms of my hands So it will be with me everywhere I go In my gloves or in my fists or in the pockets of my coat I watch the tree Through yellow glass And I still hear the chorus Beckoning me out to be A willing sacrifice And I know that the black cloaks Are here for me They know that the best meals Are the ones you get for free But I've been sharpening my pencils And drawing up my master plan And I've been sharpening my fingernails To etch it into the palms of my hands So it will be with me everywhere I go In my gloves or in my fists or in the pockets of my coat We all know how this story ends But still we go through the motions and pretend Patience is a virtue and it will be rewarded The black cloaks will receive the honor they must be accorded
5.
Bodies gather in the rain (the steel razor rain) Try to wash off the decay (adrift and afraid) Hollow eyes and sunken cheeks (dressed in soiled bed sheets) Hope the flood will bring them peace (or numbness at least) Storm clouds though dark Cannot hide the marks Of the leaches we nurtured and fed We open our mouths But water flows out Of the trepanning holes in our heads Fiendish feature pale and drawn (by palsied hands drawn) Burn and blister in the dawn (of the swollen red sun) Fractured voices wail and moan (adrift and alone) Pray the light will lead them home (no more to roam) Sunbeams though bright Cower in fright From our eyes all frenzied and red It's light that we seek But shadows they leak From the trepanning holes in our heads If we hope and persevere (baptized in tears) Maybe things will become clear (a false hope I fear) If we open up our hearts (a forgotten art) We just might escape the dark (we were damned from the start)
6.
There are places around here Ground down to solid rock Where the lichen Is all the life you'll find And you and I and a bottle Used to lay out there on summer nights Just the the two of us and the alcohol And the guilt we couldn't shake And the sun it never really set The sky burned red and gold all night We watched the ravens circling To see if we were alive When the gold gave out There were diamonds And when the diamonds give out I know that I will never see your face again We both speak seven different languages But we couldn't find the words And the endless twilight Was all we ever had When the sun it never really set The sky burned red and gold all night We watched the ravens circling To see if we were alive The sun it never really set The sky burned red and gold all night We watched the ravens circling To see if we were alive
7.
We lit the candles We said the words We lit a fire In the dark We drew the curtains We held our breath Hoping we'd be safe From the sparks We performed all of the rituals But it refused to disappear And I can feel the hour Of reckoning drawing near We never asked to have this monster Make it's way into our lives So we just try to ignore it With our fake smiles and our lies But it's growing ever bigger It's getting harder to ignore And I have never felt So terrified before I see tears Gather in your eyes But I try to keep My face composed This is the part That I've had to play Ever since this monstrosity Arose We performed all of the rituals But it refused to disappear And I can feel the hour Of reckoning drawing near We never asked to have this monster Make it's way into our lives So we just try to ignore it With our fake smiles and our lies But it's growing ever bigger It's getting harder to ignore And I have never felt So terrified before And as the clock strikes midnight I can feel my muscles tense As I struggle to keep up My last lonely defense But I know the time is on us And now the only question left Is will we leave this room together Or will the monster be our death Will the monster be our death
8.
Recite the tired phrases You learned when you were younger Until the sounds all blend into a drone Let familiar phonemes Work their magic There's something lurking just behind the mantras you intone See the people press around Waiting for a breakthrough But don't let their excitement break your trance If you just keep repeating The sacred words they gave you Eventually they'll twist and writhe in a mystic dance And when the dam breaks You'll hear people cheer But they won't understand what really happened here
9.
Demonology 03:16
In the darkness of my room I can keep feeling hands And I keep seeing Baphomet In the ceiling fan My hair has curled itself Into a pair of horns And I don't understand What all these signs are for But clearly something weird is going on around here And I'm starting to think that you should run away my dear I keep sulphur In the bathroom sink I can't seem to quench my thirst No matter how much I drink I've come to love the smell of smoke And I keep staring at the fire I'd have to say the situation Has gotten pretty dire But clearly something weird is going on around here And I'm starting to think that you should run away my dear Yeah clearly something weird is going on around here Yeah and I really think that you should run away You should run away My dear
10.
You huddle in the dark Far from everyone And hope that you never see The rising of the sun But still you can't shake the feeling That eyes are watching it all And the fear is gnawing A hole in your soul Don't look to the hills There's nowhere to run You can't get away from Northeast, rising sun Rising sun You used to love the light You used to worship the day But those days are over Now you've got dues to pay Feel the warmth on your neck As you stare at the floor You know the dawn is coming And it's too bright to ignore Don't look to the hills There's nowhere to run You can't get away from Northeast, rising sun Rising sun Rise, rise, rise, rise, rise, rise, rise Rising sun
11.
We've grown accustomed To navigating in the dark So when they turned the power off There was no difference we could mark And even when the nights got colder We just huddled to stay warm The ground beneath our feet is sacred No one can do us harm And our cups are overflowing With milk and honey And the sickly sweet taste Overwhelms the pain And with the sun beating down On our naked bodies We feel no shame In the daylight hours We just sit outside Lawn chairs and plastic cups Nothing left to hide The neighbors call the cops They really want us gone But all the people of this fair country Can't drive us from our home And our cups are overflowing With milk and honey And the sickly sweet taste Overwhelms the pain And with the sun beating down On our naked bodies We feel no shame And when they finally come We will put up no resistance It wouldn't help anyway And as the neighbors stand and gloat We will hold our heads up high Every snake must have its day
12.
Stop talking to everyone you know Stop saying that things will all work out Stop suppressing the rage The beast that you have caged Stop being hobbled by your fears and your doubts And just give in Start smashing the lamps in all your rooms Start letting the darkness wrap you up Start to bellow with rage Open the door of the cage Drink the hemlock from the proffered cup And just give in Keep breaking the things that bring you down Keep screaming until you break your daze Keep bowing to the rage And don't shove it back in its cage Quick light a match and set this house ablaze And just give in This whole place has to burn Before you can rise from the ashes Remember what you've learned When this rage passes And just give in
13.
On a cold winter's night as I sat all alone One eye on the clock and one eye on the phone I drank 'til the whiskey soaked into my bones And I prayed for divine intervention As into the glass I continued to sink I trusted myself not at all for to think For it is well known that the more a man drinks The less he knows his own intentions I ran a hand over my stubbly Trying to bring to mind your last warm embrace But the loneliness swelled to fill up the space And I found myself utterly smothered I'd spoken to friends who were honest and true But we all knew there was naught they could do For my mind was filled only with anger at you And kind words seemed a forgotten language An so as I sat trying to drown out my tears And reckoning up all my follies and fears A thought it arose both frightening and clear And I swear that the shadows were dancing I locked all the doors and I turned off the lights And let myself embrace the absence of sight And as the wind howled outside I gave into the night And I found my divine intervention
14.
It's a grey day driving The spring trees warm inviting I feel the pressure rising I see visions in my head The metal frame compacting The mindless mob reacting I'll just sit there laughing Baptized in my own blood I've got an impulse for destruction So watch your back I've got a hunger for corruption And I might just crack The sand is gold, it's molten I watch the blue waves rolling The gull's cry is an omen I surrender to the tide When I come back bloated The crowd will be revolted Their sense of peace eroded By this reminder of what's below And I've got an impulse for destruction So watch your back I've got a hunger for corruption And I might just crack I can see the faces all around Watching, just watching Though I'm smiling without a sound Watch me, oh watch me 'Cause I've got an impulse for destruction Oh watch your back I've got a hunger for corruption And I might just crack
15.
Dark Imago 05:12
Waiting for my mask to fall apart Waiting for this glamour to fade I can feel the tremors start Wish I could say that I'm not afraid But my pupa's cracking I can feel something snapping And I become the dark imago It's finally come, the dark imago The shadow thoughts are swelling There's no use rebelling I'll become the dark imago It's finally come, the dark imago Soon the world will see my inner form See the creature trapped inside this skin Very soon I'll be reborn But I don't know where to begin I let the shadows guide me On tattered wings I'll glide free And show the world this dark imago My flag unfurled, the dark imago Feel the fractured silence As I'm reborn in violence The shattered soul, the dark imago My destined role, the dark imago I become the dark imago It's finally come, the dark imago
16.
I was six years old in a big house Death lounging on the porch And I heard my cousin talking about a book About the forces of darkness Arrayed above a town And I could see them everywhere I passed the dark glass of a window Alone on the second floor And I was waiting for red eyes I was waiting for red eyes I was fifteen living in a big house Set back in the woods And I went downstairs to get myself a drink And in the kitchen it was quiet No one else around And the anxiety settled in I passed the dark glass of a window Alone on the ground floor And I was waiting for red eyes I was waiting for red eyes
17.
Last Rites 03:29
I sit listening to music Pushing pins under my skin Just to see it die I watch people walk the street Strong and tall, and I punch the wall Until my knuckles bleed I am self-destructing In this drafty room I've hoarded lots of newspapers To decorate my tomb My tomb I've got a stock of Mason jars Set for storage of my organs When I finally die I've been sleeping in the cupboard It's dark and close And what matters the most is It's already full of filth I am self-destructing In this drafty room I've hoarded lots of newspapers To decorate my tomb My tomb No one in this building will know that I am gone Until the smell is unmistakable And no one here will waste a second on grief My death will surely only bring relief Because everybody knows That I am self-destructing In this drafty room I've hoarded lots of newspapers But I have no one to prepare me And so I will die alone and naked And let this place become my tomb My tomb My tomb My tomb
18.
I watch you huddle by the fire Never quite long enough to thaw But I can't really blame you We've played ourselves to a draw I know that the ice is the only thing Stopping necrosis from setting in And it's just easier to stay with you now Lack of initiative is my savior and my sin We sit side by side and laugh with each other Pretending everything is alright But everybody knows the only reason we're together Is that neither of us can fly or fight We eat our breakfast in the kitchen And the closeness feels alright Our east-facing window lets the sun stream through To bathe your face in golden light And I half expect small children to look in Hands and faces pressed up against the glass 'Cause like an exhibit in some dusty old museum This is just a diorama of the glories of our past We sit side by side and laugh with each other Pretending everything is alright But everybody knows the only reason we're together Is that neither of us can fly We sit side by side and laugh with each other Pretending everything is alright But everybody knows the only reason we're together Is that neither of us can fly or fight
19.
Basil 03:03
The sun has barely started rising When we walk through the door Only empty rooms to greet us We couldn't ask for more We make our preparations Coffee steaming in our cups You push your hair back with a headband And I roll my shirt sleeves up You pull the leaves out from your bag The sweet aroma fills the room Make the mixture in a glass bowl The ritual is starting soon We watch the hardwoods gleaming As we scrub on our knees And as the sun rises higher We watch the shadows flee There was a time when others lived here But that past is washed away This house belongs to you and me now On this fateful day And the leaves permeate these walls now The floors and ceilings too There's nothing left in the glass bowl The ritual is through The ritual is through
20.
Wait until your hands look old In the sparse light of the screen Then pour out all the things you need to say But you don't really mean And never stop Write line after sordid line Just know you're not saying a think And wait for the understanding That such falsehood brings And never stop If you write long enough Maybe the words will start to matter So you think Pour some whiskey if you have to If it makes you feel more real Express all the thoughts That you just can't help but steal And never stop It's the fable of this night That in the end will really matter So don't think And never stop

about

Between the release of We Are Our Own Saviors in 2013, and the release of North America Birdsong in 2018, Headless Relatives continued to write and record songs. The planned follow-up to Saviors was called Demonology. The demos and rough takes included here are the remains of those doomed sessions, warts and all.

credits

released November 23, 2018

All songs written by S .A. Biskind except:

Divine Intervention - music trad., lyrics S. A. Biskind
The Machine - music trad., lyrics S. A. Biskind

All vocals, instruments and recording by S. A. Biskind except:

Sacred Words II - additional vocals by Laura Tweed
The Machine - additional vocals by Laura Tweed

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Headless Relatives Glens Falls, New York

Headless Relatives play songs. These songs feature desperate individuals, bittersweet memories, and ancient Egyptian gods. Some of these songs can be found here.

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