Played in Eb minor, with the guitar tuned down a semitone, this is the key used to accompany the monolithic brutalist art of authoritarian regimes of the twentieth century.
The focus of the song reels to the hill where state-sponsored executions take place: Skull Hill – Golgotha. But today the dying One is innocent, bringing about what some would say is the most significant revolution ever to sweep human – even cosmic – history.
From discordant harmonics played on the guitar to a backing choir singing in Latin, we wanted this song to resonate with something horrific and that yet births hope.
The last verse of this song is taken from an ancient poet – Isaiah – who spoke of a hill where the most evil curse of all would be conquered. So many of the best stories seem to echo with this theme of curse resolving to unexpected liberation and celebration through an intervention “from outside”.
As the great story writer, Tolkein, described,
“…a sudden glimpse of Truth, your whole nature chained in material cause and effect, the chain of death, feels a sudden relief as if a major limb out of joint had suddenly snapped back. It perceives… that this is indeed how things really do work in the Great World for which our nature is made.”
There’s a hill outside a city
– a place for losers, waste and dirt.
It’s a place of execution,
of misery, pain and retribution,
where vengeance is meted out.
There’s a hill now with a cross raised.
A hill where men cry out.
Hear shouts of condemnation,
of agitated satisfaction,
as an anguished figure gasps.
And it’s a hill of bones
Now from the hill, piercing last words.
They ring like, “Father, forgive.”
“It is finished”
cuts gathering darkness
and rocks and tombs begin to shake.
And it’s a hill of bones…
But it’s a hill of broken curses,
it’s a hill of bittersweet.
A hill of liberation –
a hill where grace takes her seat.
And on this hill the Lord Almighty
prepares a banquet feast
– aged wine, rich food of celebration –
‘cause on this hill He destroyed the
shroud that covers every nation.
Yes, on this hill He swallowed up death forever,
And on this hill he’ll wipe each tear stained eye,
‘cause on this hill he removed the disgrace of His people:
He removed the disgrace that’s yours and that’s mine.