Of Sad Demons and Cruel Angels

Comments: 202

In some ways, I can barely remember what life was like before I joined Mute Prophet. Three albums, international radio play, touring – such incredible things have happened in the last six years, it almost feels like a completely different existence.

It’s been like a rebirth. But it hasn’t always been easy – and I feel it’s necessary to do what isn’t usually done, and share these stories with you.

Have you ever heard the Epica song The Phantom Agony? To me, it’s about being so emotionally numb, so unable to feel, that part of you doubts you’re real at all. You feel like a ghost. Your perception of yourself and the world around you is so dulled, you’d swear your day-to-day life is a dream that you won’t be able to remember upon waking. You aren’t you, you’re just a disembodied spirit observing someone who happens to look like you.

That describes something I struggle with on a daily basis, a very rare mental state where depression and PTSD intersect, called Depersonalization. Your brain chemistry gets screwed up and you stop being able to feel your emotions at all.

I’ve written so many songs about this feeling, but I think Pleasures of the Blade sums it up best: “All I need is one, one instant when I know the difference between pleasures of the bed and pleasures of the blade, both seeming equal in their sweetness and seduction.” It’s so damn hard sometimes, to keep fighting when there’s nothing but numbness. But ultimately that numbness is related to something that was truly life-changing for all of us.

See, the Depersonalization was caused by extreme physical trauma. I was beaten half-to-death, raped, and left for dead. And even after recovering physically, the memories haunted me relentlessly.

It left me in a really dark place. I drank heavily, I abused drugs, I cut myself for the endorphin high (cliche, I know, but it worked for a little while), and I fantasized almost hourly about swallowing my entire medicine cabinet.

In the end, singing for Mute Prophet was the only thing that gave me a reason to keep living. Suddenly all I had was our music, and y’know what? That was just fine.

We threw ourselves into making music, including rigging up a horrible makeshift vocal booth in my bedroom. We broke the doors off my closet, stood them up by taping an old microwave to the outside, filled the closet with clothes, and glued heavy blankets to the insides of the doors. Here’s a picture of it, featuring Kevin back when he had skinny arms and short hair!

None of us had the money for a more professional setup at the time (which makes me SO grateful for the pro studio we have now), but I honestly cherish the memory of making due with what we had. We would stop at nothing to make music, least of which would be less than ideal equipment.

The more I sang, the more I could FEEL again. Singing opera actually uses the same part of the voice as crying, and it felt similar enough that I could process my sadness. Learning to scream and growl gave me an outlet for the rage I harbored for my attacker. And learning to belt like Floor Jansen made me feel so powerful!

It’s an amazing thing, a sort of glue that binds Mute Prophet together despite our separate life experiences, this goal of turning tragedy and pain into something triumphant. Ultimately this band is something that literally saved my life, giving me an outlet to transmute things I would otherwise never have been able to overcome, into something amazing.

It’s not just me of course, we’ve all had our struggles – Chris was homeless and lived on the streets, Kevin and Louisa nearly died from autoimmune diseases that got out of control – and all of us credit this band for helping us through our hard times.

And we’ve even been able to find an audience – including YOU. Musicians have no other way to judge their impact on the world, other than how listeners receive their music and their story. You show all of us that we aren’t alone, and after everything that’s happened, I don’t think words can convey how much it means to be able to connect with people like you now.

So please, leave a comment below or email me and let me know how you feel about this post, or even just to say hi. It would mean a lot.

Thank you again for reading, and please do leave a comment below or shoot me an email if you feel like saying hi ❤️

202 Comments

  • Guy Burtzlaff says:

    As a 66 yr old former hippie, I have seen a lot and lived through a lot. Music has always been there for me. I enjoy lots of diverse styles and my collection goes into the 1000s. You’re group is unique and challenging for me to identify. Makes it kinda special. Keep it up.Eyes focused ahead,not on past.

    • Adrienne Odenthal says:

      Thanks Guy! We kinda pride ourselves on being hard to identify sonically. We usually just say “progressive symphonic metal,” that tends to give people a general idea I think. Someone referred to it as “epic melodic djent” once, which I thought was kinda funny 😂

  • Christopher says:

    You and your band are amazing talents and I am glad to have found your music. I deal with depression on a daily basis and I feel like a shell of my former self.I have been trying to get up and just deal with it but as you know it’s not that easy.Your words give me hope that I can overcome this feeling of dread and make something positive from it! Thank you so much for sharing that horrible ordeal you have been through! It makes me realize that my struggles are nothing compared to what you have dealt with in your life.

    • Adrienne Odenthal says:

      Hey Christopher, thank you so much! I know how hard depression is, but I’m so happy to hear I’ve been able to give you some hope ❤️ The best advice I can give is just give yourself credit for every little thing you do. Even getting out of bed today can be worth celebrating when all you want to do is sleep, you know? Build those little wins for yourself and over time you start feeling like you can accomplish things, and that sense of accomplishment really helps things heal.

  • Mitchell Szeszycki says:

    1st I’d like to say Your Music is Like a Tranquil Sea on the verge of an Erupting Volcano! Myself being a Multikeyboardist and Guitarist I indulge myself into various genres of music. I Thank You All For Playing and Sharing! I will be purchasing CD’s in the near Future. You are surrounded by others in the group that had to claw their way back. I give You All Credit. Keep on Burying Yourself in the Music and let the Monters and Demons Go. Look forward to hearing more since I find it calming and aggressive at the same time!

  • Arthur Jordan Jr says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have been going through alot of the same feelings you described in this. I thought I was so alone in my feelings but reading this gives me hope. Thanks again

  • Phillip horcajo says:

    What an amazing story. Quite inspiring the strength you’ve gained from the terrible shit you dealt with. Keep being you and keep kicking those demons asses!! 🤘🏼😡🤘🏼

  • Phillipp Sautter says:

    Great music, keep cranking out those bangers!

  • Charles Hahn says:

    I can’t conceive all that you went through and then channel it through your music. Many great artists have gone through the fire so to speak. I have gone through a lot of trying times myself, but I have used music to help me through it plus also my faith in God. You see I’m a musician also and I have dreams, not of hitting it big so much anymore, but to leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren.
    Have you ever heard Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd?
    Listen to it and see if it doesn’t relate to you.
    Anyway God bless you and don’t give up on your dreams. Charles ‘Little Horse’ Hahn.

    • Adrienne Odenthal says:

      Thank you so much Charles! Those kind words really mean a lot to me ❤️ Yeah, I’m not the biggest fan of Pink Floyd but Comfortably Numb really resonates with me.
      That’s very cool that you’re also a musician – if you ever want some tips on getting your music heard, I like to think we’ve picked up a few tricks 😉

  • Joe lockert says:

    I dont even know what to say other than your a lot stronger than you may think. I’m sorry you had to deal with that situation but keep your head up darlin you rock!

  • Andrew says:

    You and I have so much in common it is hard to believe but here I am at 66 in July still fighting flashbacks and ptsd At one stage I turned to music as a singer which helped greatly but then colleagues and friends let me down and abandoned the possible career I met up with a young lady who had similar problems self harming herself and though we eventually split up the rather frowned on lifestyle she opened my eyes to has left me with some really strong friendships and a lot of life choices I cannot expose unless trusting those I share with. Hopefully you will guess the lifestyle and choices by some classed as perverse and others as knotty lol. But however the past has shaped us with ptsd and other traumatic events the one thing I have found with people like yourself is the richness of strength to express ones self and talent and the strength of the friendships I personally have found in those around me. I enjoy music of all kinds and wish you especially and the group all the best now and in the future and enjoy being yourself and those who criticise you for being who you are in dress, looks and musical choices are unimportant in your life compared to those of us who enjoy and exult in being ourselves and sharing your life and music. Thankyou.

    • Adrienne Odenthal says:

      Hey Andrew! Thank you so much for commenting ❤️ I totally get finding fringe ways of coping with PTSD, no judgement here, whatever works for you! What’s important is that you found something that helps in a healthy way. But it seems like more and more people in my generation are experimenting with BDSM, polyamory etc., I’m sure whatever lifestyle you’re referring to wouldn’t shock me in the least lol.

  • Don says:

    You are an amazingly strong person to go through what you have and stay as strong as you are. I wish you nothing but the best
    and have really enjoyed your music I’ve heard so far, and look forward to hearing more

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