“Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. ” – Karl Marx
Music speaks to my soul; like a hand coming out of the instruments and grabbing hold of my heart. Materializing my hidden understanding of hopes, emotions, fears, dreams, faith, relationships. Music dives head first in to my ears and swirls around in my head with its crescendos, eliciting an indescribable internal elation; like joy, like drug.
In February of 2010, I was introduced to a music I hadn’t yet encountered. I’m still not sure how I could best describe it to you. More like experience than music, the band The Opiate Mass, has created a sound that I’ve yet to hear anywhere else. The music is made to be performed in cathedral and though I’ve heard other groups that have performed in such venues or have a hint of similarity, I feel there is something that comes out of these musicians and arrests the on-listeners hearts; enticing them on a 1.5 hour journey. Sitting in the dark, listening, wondering, reflecting, participating in the work of art delivered through instrument.
I’m a big fan, though I wouldn’t say that the type of music that they play is a genre I follow much. The musicians categorize their style as something enjoyed by fans of ambient, trip-hop, and post rock in the likes of a Moby or Sigur Ros. I’m more of a acoustic guitar, singer/songwriter fan, but The Opiate Mass has captivated me; permeating my mind with their variable harmonies, unexpected time signature changes, electronic nuances, cathedral organ and lyrical poetry that forces you to examine the recesses of your faith.
The Mass musicians leave their entire beings on the stage, vulnerably and excellently bending and weaving you through their spiritual odyssey. I come to engage with this music, because The Opiate Mass bares their souls to the audience in hopes that we might bare our own in return; overcoming the fear of being overwhelmed by the questions of life and belief. Permitting our bodies to breath in the music and let it pierce the uncertain darkness and crush our self-preserving walls. Listening. Breathing. Listening again and feeling the pleasure of spirit and freedom. This is the opiate for the masses.