BFG Track by Track: “Once We Were” (Part 3 of 12)

Whether you’re Christian or not, the Easter holiday brings with it a spirit of rebirth, a hope for redemption and a faith that our sacrifices in this life are not in vain.  So, too, does the haunting seventh track of Bound for Glory’s 25th-anniversary album, Death and Defiance: Entitled”Once We Were,” the song painfully reflects on the two catastrophic global conflicts of the 20th century that took more than 80 million lives, reshaped borders across Europe, Africa, and the Far East, and ultimately ushered in the regimes, policies, legislation, and popular media that have all but doomed those of European descent to extinction.

As Joel, Bound for Glory’s lead vocalist, sorrowfully asks in the second quartet of the song’s chorus:

Once we were brothers
Side by side, we were family
Why did we ever fight over borders
When none of us are free?

The somber tone of the song is further enhanced by searing guitar leads performed by Drew and Goose, Bound for Glory’s two rhythm guitarists.

The true causes for each conflict are complex.  Regrettably, World War II has been sold to generations as “The Good War,” with what Tom Brokaw described as “The Greatest Generation” leaving their homes in America to venture halfway across the world to vanquish the twin evils of Germany and Japan.  Nevertheless, Americans have been left with countless questions–the answers to which exist, though often too unpleasantly for most to accept:

The questions, indeed, are endless, the answers available–but the outcome of both wars cannot be undone.  Ultimately, the only question that remains is the one asked by William Gayley Simpson as the title of his 758-page masterwork: Which Way, Western Man?  Will we continue to blindly serve our democratic masters, fighting wars that benefit a chosen few?  Or will we learn from the past, find the truth, and unite to ensure something so destructively tragic as World Wars I and II never happen again?

Which way, western man?


Bound for Glory Celebrates 25 Years Producing Iconic Music

Founded in St. Paul in 1989, Bound for Glory continues to define–and redefine–what it means to be a heavy metal outfit.  Indeed, the band’s first release, Warrior’s Glory, was straightforward rock-and-roll, with none of the technical mastery that later became one of the band’s trademarks.  Nevertheless, the album remains immensely enjoyable even 25 years later, as it captures a moment in American history few of today’s so-called “metal-heads” were even alive to experience.

More specifically, the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul during the late ’80s featured economically-stifling policies, which, coupled with a massive influx of non-Minnesotan immigration, made steady work extremely hard to obtain.  Accordingly, Warrior’s Glory features a number of unabashedly pro-American songs such as “Red, White, and Blue” and “Capital Punishment Now.”  The fight for steady employment and family-friendly neighborhoods spilled into the streets of St. Paul, where the four members of Bound for Glory quickly made names for themselves as protectors of the American Dream all too many of us take for granted.

Now, 25 years later, Bound for Glory has released another timely masterpiece, one that focuses not just on the problems plaguing America’s cities but shines light on the global fight for survival people of European descent are waging around the world.  The What You Did Not Learn in School blog will be publishing a review of Bound for Glory’s latest album, complete with track-by-track analysis and explanation of the current events that motivated the creation of each song.  I am currently waiting on feedback from Ed, the lead guitarist and one of the two founding members of the band still actively involved in its musical pursuits.