The Lost Grimoire

by Headless Relatives

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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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about

Headless Relatives Raleigh, North Carolina

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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Track Name: The Machine
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
Track Name: Catacombs
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
Track Name: Sacred Words II
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
Track Name: Dark Vigil
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
Track Name: Trepanning Holes
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)
Track Name: The Endless Twilight
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
Track Name: The Failed Exorcism of the Demonic Elephant
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
Track Name: Sacred Words I
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
Track Name: Demonology
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
Track Name: Northeast, Rising Sun
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
Track Name: In the Promised Land
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
Track Name: Directions to Phoenix
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
Track Name: Divine Intervention
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
Track Name: Visions of Ragnarok
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
Track Name: Dark Imago
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
Track Name: Waiting for Phobos
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
Track Name: Last Rites
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
Track Name: Perfectly Preserved
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
Track Name: Basil
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
Track Name: Sacred Words III
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