The Million Masks of God [Exclusive Black & Teal Swirl]
The album, The Million Masks of God —which takes its title from a poem by the prolific 19th- and early 20th-century author G.K. Chesterton—is undeniably heavy, but despite its grand and tragic subject matter, is not meant to push the listener into one single corner of emotion. In Andy Hull’s words, “It’s not a sad record, it’s not just full of doom; there’s hope in it, and an idea of pressing on in spite of what’s happening; it’s reflective, entrenched in the present, and also looks to the future; and, overall, redemptive.” Hull embraced the experience as a way to manage the emotions he was experiencing in grief and to process the sadness that was surrounding the band, and especially McDowell, and the resulting record ultimately serves as a celebration of a soul’s profound and influential existence.
The Million Masks of God can be seen, in a way, as the band's sophomore album following a rebirth with Black Mile, and Hull’s initial concept for it was a natural extension of the main theme of its predecessor. Its songs explore the loose narrative of a man’s encounter with the angel of death as he's shown various snapshots from his life in a Christmas Carol-style assemblage. Some moments he witnesses are good, some are bad, some difficult, some commendable—in other words, they depict an entirely normal life. Initially based on a fictitious character, the narrative naturally gravitated to a setting more grounded in reality as McDowell’s father entered the toughest part of his fight with cancer, eventually losing the battle in 2019. If Black Mile was this idea of ‘from birth to death,’ this album would really be more about ‘from birth to beyond,’” Hull explains.