"When it came time to record the vocals for [the song] 'Reason to Believe' and Michael had presented me with the lyrics, I knew I would need to get in a special mindset to ensure the right emotions would pervade my voice," Arch Enemy vocalist Alissa White-Gluz has said, referring to her bandmate, guitarist Michael Amott. "I thought about the blurry moments in which I had said those exact words to myself: 'Stop hurting yourself,' 'They hate what they don't understand,' 'Always keep on fighting.' I also promptly remembered how futile this self-talk was and how I only really listened when someone else would say it to me. So, I thought that perhaps this song could be that 'someone else' — a best friend we could all secretly share and rely upon."
To go along with the death-metal band's 7-inch release of the song, the group started the #AEReasonToBelieve campaign, asking Arch Enemy diehards to share their stories of how they've found reasons to believe — a call to action that proved rewarding for both fans and White-Gluz herself. "I have read and heard so many stories from people all around the world describing how they've found their own reason to believe through Arch Enemy, and that genuinely inspires me and keeps me going," the singer has said.
For our "Songs for Black Days" series, presented in partnership with Hope for the Day, we asked her to share some of the music that has helped her through dark times. Below is what she offered up.
Chris Cornell - "Preaching the End of the World"
This song, musically, has such a laid back and nonchalant feeling, but the lyrics are purely apocalyptic. The delivery, both instrumentally and vocally, just feels melancholic, but also like a last desperate attempt at making life liveable for the final hours. "Seeking a friend for the end of the world." Very relatable when you feel down and alone.
Aerosmith - "Dream On"
This song is amazingly well-written and stands out as one of the greatest songs ever created, in my opinion. "The past is gone/It went by like dusk to dawn" — evoking imagery that the past was dark and dangerous like nighttime but the sun always rises again. I also love how the song does not resolve — it ends with great tension in the music. Brilliant.
Audioslave - "Like a Stone"
It's pretty clear I am a diehard Chris Cornell fan, so his voice, musicianship and lyrics have touched me across many different projects. The song opens with "On a cobweb afternoon in a room full of emptiness" — that's pretty much what every waking moment feels like when you are in a state of depression. I guess I'm also realizing I love melancholic music. His voice in this song is so depressed — it sounds like he barely bothered opening his mouth. I love that. I love "hearing a person's face" in their music. I've been told by fans that they can tell when I'm smiling or feeling mischievous in my voice — that's a huge compliment. I should also mention that I love this song's album cover.
The Distillers - "The Hunger"
This is a song I can actually recall turning on to "escape" bad moments. I used to put on this whole album [Coral Fang] and just leave my tour van on long jogs. Just wake up, exit the van and start running. I was running away from bad times and towards the good. I would run for hours, get lost in random cities. I guess it was a form of meditation. I have never gotten sick of this album even though I've listened to it hundreds of times.
Arch Enemy - "Taking Back My Soul"
The chorus of this song gives me goosebumps every time we play it. Even just saying "No More!" is so empowering. Putting your foot down and doing what is right for yourself, unapologetically. It's something I think we learn to do with age, and before I knew how to do it for myself, this song helped me build the confidence to do so.
Halestorm - "Familiar Taste of Poison"
Lzzy Hale could sing me the dictionary and I would swoon. She is so amazingly talented and her voice is absolutely delicious. This mournful song is something I find myself singing pretty frequently and I love the music video too, in which Lzzy is basically singing to us as a corpse. "The sweet escape is always laced with the familiar taste of poison." I just love dark visuals and lyrics and sounds.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of resources.