Singled Out: Inviolate's Broken Cycle


Atlanta heavy rockers Inviolate recently released a video for their track "Broken Cycle", from their album The Insomniac's Dream. To celebrate we asked frontwoman Kadria to tell us about the song. Here is the story:

The first inklings of "Broken Cycle" were, according to the hundreds of .wav samples and scraps in that folder, started on May 29, 2015 and simply titled "riff67". I'd been messing with layering some atmospheric loops and a virtual version of the Middle Eastern instrument called an "oud", which is a traditional stringed instrument from the region much bigger than a ukulele, but smaller than a guitar. That 12-note hook was born that night, then I didn't touch it again for about a month.

Now, guitar is not my primary instrument by a long shot, nor am I a drummer. I tend to write guitar and drums together (using Guitar Pro, as well as Toontrack's EZDrummer series to lay down ideas in MIDI / piano roll) and then weave samples and bass ideas around that. I'd been on a "fast songs" kick for a while and wanted to try something different. Hey, it's all about playing in a sonic playground at this point, right? Then the 2.0 musicians come in, learn their part (quite often with "wtf, Kadria?!" from the guitarists looking at that tab and pitching stuffed Angry Birds at me while I'm attempting to beatbox the crazier "baa-da-ba-DAAAs" and "WOOM!"s alongside them during the process) Then they come up with more intuitive fingerings, the 2.0 bassists properly anchor the low end while 2.0 drummers (in this case, Ernie Topran, who performed drums on the entire album) lock in the basic idea, smooth rhythms out and add certain hits and touches to improve the part as a whole. Broken Cycle was only the third song early in the process that came out with a full structure this way.

We had a full instrumental structure by late July, and then I started the "lyrical core dump" process where I'd loop the thing and then start writing stream-of-consciousness what I was feeling. From the July 22, 2015 core dump: "….be patient with me, I'm still working through a lot of f***ed up sh*t but I have to fight myself in order to trust you because you've shown me time and again you're trustworthy…., but I don't know how to do it and that's one hell of a difficult admission for me, because I've learned to put the shields up so high and do everything by myself. You deserve it. Having you around will help me fight this battle. Opening up. Tangled knots from the past made smooth? Burning away impurities?"

Lyrically this was extremely tough for me to write at times - I don't like admitting vulnerability, even to myself. There is no one "Muse" per se who inspired it - it's directed at a composite of "someone"s who can make me feel safe in being emotionally vulnerable. It was never meant to be specific to a romantic partner, though some could take that interpretation. But friends who I consider my real family are the personal inspiration for the lyrics.

We started performing "Broken Cycle" in late 2015, when we got a lot of great response from our fans up and down the east coast, we knew it had to go on the new album.

I knew at some point on this album I wanted to say "to hell with 'rock/metal video' convention and make a dance music video. Broken Cycle, with that oud and the mid-tempo groove amongst the 190+ beats-per-minute headbanging songs, was a natural choice. Since dancing with the scimitar had become so closely associated with the Inviolate frontwoman, I invited the Sisters of Anarchy troupe to wield the swords for the video and we spent the summer of 2017 choreographing, then learning the dance, which is not just fusion bellydance, but adds modern and traditional metal elements like headbanging and windmilling. The imagery of the dancers with swords, looking like an army platoon while having their friend's back at all times, is a direct and deliberate reflection of the lyrics.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!

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