Fittingly, the first time that I heard Iliad Stone and the Monarchy’s “End Times” I was attempting to purchase a set of cloth masks online while watching Black Lives Matter protesters gather in Boston. Faced with the current climate of uncertainty and turmoil, the title alone was enough to pique my interest. Paired with Stone’s stunningly powerful vocals and the effortless delivery of a deeply dark theme, I was hooked.
Referring to the belief that global events will ultimately lead us to the point of no return, “End Times” tackles the idea of the end of the world. Though a familiar theme that has spanned both genres and decades, this particular song differs from the slew of others in its delivery. It plays with the way death and connection intertwine in an effortlessly unique manner, leaving you feeling strangely comforted despite the material’s unsettling origins.
“Can’t stop it, it’s coming, oh Lord the End of Times/Oh love I won’t fight it as long as you’re by my side”
Effortlessly powerful and fervent, these lines hold a tone of respectful acknowledgment for what cannot be controlled. Each line feels as if it is nonchalantly shrugged off, albeit with a nod of respect for the unknown. Stone’s vocals are raw and sensual, providing a dynamic contrast against the driving beat and gritty drone of the guitar.
“If we must lay in graves/Let us lay together/And if we must leave this place/Let us leave holding one another”
The vulnerability of needing human connection here provides another striking contrast against the arrangement. Stone continuously returns to this line, driving home the idea that connection is what softens the idea of the inevitable end.
“There will come a day when our eyes will close/There will come a day when our hearts will decompose”
Bluntly grappling with the factual, Stone possess the same uncanny ability to address the more unpleasant aspects of our mortality as Hozier or Florence Welch. It is human nature to overthink and become subsequently wrapped up in the more dramatic and unknown aspects of death and dying. We have artists like Stone to thank for giving us a little slap on the cheek, reminding us that death does not discriminate, and that the present should hold our primary focus.
“And oh my love don’t you know that all of us will die alone/So have no fear and wipe your tears to dust we must return”
From the first breath to the last note, the song carries an undeniable intensity. With this final line, Stone again encourages us to accept the inevitability of death and shift our focus to what we can control during our lifetime.
Frankly, this reminder to focus on the present is one that we can be grateful for in such tumultuous times. Although we have managed to survive what has been thrown at us thus far, 2020 has not seemed to lose any steam as it surges forward in apocalyptic waves. So, before you next don a mask and dodge murder hornets in an attempt to buy your oat milk, add “End Times” to your playlist for a relevant reminder.
Hey, Quick Sponsored Thing: PR Service to Get Your Music Featured in Blogs & Spotify Playlists
Our friends at Omari are really good at helping artists get heard and listed in cool indie blogs and playlists. They've worked with big acts (Judah & the Lion) and bedroom artists alike (which is feasible cuz service starts at $77). Anyway, take a look. Disclaimers: it's an affiliate link, and yeah, they're good.
If you're tired of pitching your music yourself, if you finally want to find your audience, or if you just like us, click here to learn more.