Analysis of “Spillways” by Ghost.

Hello everyone, and welcome back to my blog! This week we’re moving on to one of my other favorite bands (out of the thousands). We’ll be analyzing the story beneath the lyrics of the song Spillways, which is one of my favorite tracks on the Impera album. I won’t be explaining the band Ghost to you all because that would take up all of my content, but I recommend figuring them out for yourself! Though I will say that they have a lot of religious imagery, but it’s not used in the way you think.

So, in an interview with Genius, Tobias Forge, the creative mind, composer, and lead singer behind Ghost, described the song as “an elegy for the darkness that most people have inside. When you have a dam, spillways are the run-offs so the dam won’t overflow. That darkness inside us needs to find its way out.” So, we’ll take that idea and run deeper with it. Let’s look at the lyrics and you can also click the link below to follow along!

“Through benedictionYou tried to rid your mind of maledictionBut through all this timeYou try to peel it off, and it is such a ride
This stanza begins the song with the words benediction and malediction, which are almost opposites. Benediction is defined as a bestowing of a blessing, and malediction is defined as a curse. So, in this story, the narrator is singing about someone who goes to church or any religious event to try and get clean or get rid of all their internal curses and evil urges.
All your faith, all your rageAll your pain, it ain’t over nowAnd I ain’t talking about forgivenessAll your faith, all your rageAll your pain, it ain’t over now
So, in the chorus here, it talks about rage, pain, and, most important of all, rage. He says that it isn’t over and that forgiveness isn’t even relevant in the conversation. It’s emphasizing the maleducative feelings from before that lead into the next stanza and referencing the forgiveness that is a big part of who god is amongst many religions. 
It is the cruel beast that you feedIt is your burning yearning need to bleedThrough the spillways

The term cruel beast could be speaking about the beast inside the person’s mind, or if we take the religious route, it would be speaking in terms of the devil. Either way, the “burning yearning need to bleed” speaks of the person’s dire need to purge themselves of those evil and negative thoughts that metaphorically feed the beast through the spillways, which are devices used to ensure that dams don’t overflow and cause detrimental damage.
You keep a casket buried deep withinYou try to mask it, but fall back in sinYou want to shake it off, but you are stuck inside
The casket spoken of here is the darkness or sins mentioned prior. It’s an inescapable and unforgivable condition. They bury it deep within and try their best to mask those dark or sinful urges, yet they always go back to those old ways no matter how hard they try.
Through the spillways of your soul

The chorus repeats itself at the end a few times, but I noticed that this line had been added. The spillways of your soul would be the darkness that flows out in small portions to keep the big stuff from overflowing. The spillways of this person’s soul keep them from committing bigger and more evil sins by allowing them to spill out more minor sins despite the guilt that the person feels for “feeding the beast.”
That’s the end folks! Thank you for reading this month, and keep an eye out for next month’s blog. <3

Author: Locklyn Wilchynski

Locklyn Wilchynski (She/Her) is a poet, writer, and musician. She is also a senior literary arts student at Mississippi School of the Arts. Her writing has been published in Co-Lin Refractions Literary & Art Magazine and The Phoenix Literary Journal. She won two gold keys, a silver key, and two honorable mentions in the 2021 Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards. She has also won an honorable mention in the 2021 Ephemera Prize. She is a lover of all things crafted in darkness and finding the beauty within that. She believes that storytelling is one of the most powerful forms of communication to open up new conversations and ideas.