The story, written by Corey Taylor, revolves around a character called the Human, who wakes up in a strange world which is later revealed to be a manifestation of his consciousness and life experiences, and is told by his doppelganger Allen that he must find the House of Gold and Bones before an event called the Conflagration happens, all the while being pursued by Black John and his gang of Numbers.
House of Gold & Bones - Part 1 (2012)
House of Gold & Bones - Part 2 (2013)
House of Gold and Tropes:
- Book-Ends: Part 2 ends in the exact same key signature Part 1 begins. Or more evidently, the fade-in before the guitars enter in "Gone Sovereign" is the last thing we hear on "The House of Gold and Bones".
- The words "I woke up slowly..." are in the opening and closing narration of the comics and story.
- Classical Anti-Hero: The Human, as per "Absolute Zero".
- Coming-of-Age Story: Has shades of this along with Journey to the Center of the Mind.
- Evil Counterpart: Allen comes out of the smoke in The Overture as the Human's Evil Twin. Complete with a mirrored Zero patch on the jumpsuit. Clarified in "My Name Is Allen".Look into that part of you.
I am you without hesitation.
- Freudian Excuse: Part of the reason the Human is in the situation he's in is because of his childhood with an abusive father, later revealed to be Allen. The song "'82" in the second album provides some insight towards this:Once I get away from here
I know it's gonna be my time
I've seen too much to keep me here
I don't want yours, I just want mine!
Before I get away from here
I think I'd better set you straight
I know my place is miles from here
You'll never understand, I'll make my fate!
- MacGuffin Title
- Meaningful Echo: RU486.
- Are you 486?
- Are you for 86?
- Are you 486?
- Mind Screw: Concerning the albums, Part 1 more than Part 2. Also probably Allen himself.
- No Name Given: The Human.
- Pokémon Speak: Black John and the Numbers, whose only lines in the comics consist of "RU486".
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Black John and the Numbers in the comics. Allen in the music video for "Do Me a Favor".* Screw Destiny: Shades of this thrive in both the comic and the albums, particularly the final parts.
- Shout-Out: Peckinpah was named after the director of The Wild Bunch."As in Sam Peckinpah?"
- Visual Pun: You can literally build a house out of the album booklet.
- "Gravesend" is an actual graveyard in the third comic book.
- All There in the Manual: The albums sound a bit like Mind Screw on their own, but the Digipak versions of each one has an album booklet containing two halves of the story written by Corey.
- "A Rumor of Skin" has background vocals reiterating the verse melody of "Gone Sovereign".
- In turn, the chorus from "A Rumor of Skin" has a reprise near the end of "Do Me a Favor".
- "Blue Smoke" has a reprise of the verse melody from "Red City".
- 'I'm on my own' from "The Travelers" gets a reprise at the end of "The Conflagration".
- The chant of "RU486" in the Title Track, which itself has reprises of "Gone Sovereign" and "Absolute Zero" as well.
- Character Signature Song:
- "Gone Sovereign" and "Absolute Zero" dignify The Human, saying that although he's not perfect he'll do whatever is necessary to make it through.
- "My Name Is Allen" and "Do Me A Favor" both represent Allen, the arrogant villain who wants his way or the highway.
- "RU486" represents Black John and the Numbers. In the comic, these characters constantly chant "RU486?!" as a way of intimidating the Human.
- "Peckinpah" and "The Conflagration" dignify Peckinpah, a wise man who helps lead the Human to the answers he's looking for, while encouraging him to do what's right.
- Darker and Edgier: Part 2 than Part 1. Clearer concept, too.
- Death Glare: Allen loves giving these with a big Slasher Smile.
- Design Student's Orgasm: Both albums' cover artwork is this in spades.
- Epic Rocking: "Taciturn" and "Sadist" both exceed five minutes. Most others consistently end just under that mark.
- "I Am Becoming" Song: "The House of Gold and Bones".
- Ignored Epiphany: In "Black John", Allen realizes that villains never win, and that he should at least give The Human a chance. He goes through with this halfway, the next song "Sadist" is Allen trying to convince The Human to quit while he's ahead.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Red City". Notable that it's the only lyrical cold open on either album.
- Quarreling Song: "A Rumor of Skin" is a dialogue between the Human and Allen at the beginning of Part 1.
- Corey revealed to ArtistDirect that there are actually three voices in this song: the Human, Allen, and the third doing the melody line from "Gone Sovereign", noticeable near the final hook.
- Recurring Riff: Quite a few.
- Sequel Song: "The Travelers" in HOGAB 1 has two parts, the second more dramatic than the first. The refrain gets a Call-Back near the end of HOGAB 2.
- Siamese Twin Songs/Fading into the Next Song: Played with. Several of the tracks can easily be split where a new riff begins.
- The Song Before the Storm:
The comics and story:
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Peckinpah in The Answers.
- Beard of Barbarism: Black John.
- Big "NO!": Allen near the end.
- Bittersweet Ending: After the Conflagration destroys the House, the Human wakes up slowly, realizing he's still alive and ready to face the real world once more.Human (narrating): The house of gold and bones was destroyed. But it could be rebuilt. It could be stronger.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Peckinpah.
- Cluster F-Bomb: The Human after Peckinpah leaves him alone to outrun the shadowy Zerg Rush yet again.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: Neither the Human nor Peck have weapons but they still manage to take out several Numbers.
- Creepy Cathedral: Subverted. It looks like one on the outside, but inside the Human manages to find some peace.
- Cyanide Pill: Peckinpah gives the Human a pistol grip full of Paris green before leaving, asking him to swallow it for there's really nowhere to go. The Human takes a drink just as Black John and the Numbers have caught up to him. And unable to get an answer, the Numbers throw him out. Subverted as he doesn't die.
Peck: Listen to methey're going to take you. Black John's whole assignment is to take you to Red City by any means necessary, in one piece or not.Human: What? But we're already going to
- Empty Shell: Near the end of the story written in the first album booklet, Peckinpah gives the Human the Paris green because of the threat of the latter becoming this trope.
- Dateless Grave: Inverted. "September 1982" is engraved but with no name whatsoever.
- Deadpan Snarker: The Human, in spades. Often overlaps with Stepford Snarker. Allen too has his moments.
- Down the Rabbit Hole: Turns out the rabbit hole is actually his own mind.
- Faux Affably Evil: Allen, natch.
- Foil: Allen and Peckinpah are this to each other.
- For Want of a Nail: If it weren't for Rachel being so far out in the water at night...
- Freudian Trio: The Human (ego), Peckinpah (superego), and Allen (id). Not that they like to work together.
- Game Face: A partyful of people around the Human turn into demons who attack him all at once...in a dream.
- Genius Loci: The Reveal in The Answers.Human: This world is...me.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Allen is first introduced as a smoking silhouette who offers the Human a stick.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: Allen, though he's mostly heel given his namesake.
- How We Got Here: The opening to The Answers. The Human was chilling at a beach party when he heard a girl screaming for help out in the waterRachel. Without hesitation he rushed to the water and tried to rescue her but then ended up drowning himself.
- Start of Darkness: Near the end of the same chapter, the Human and Peckinpah reach Gravesend where the former finds a nameless tombstone bearing the date September 1982, further revealed in The Conflagration to be the time he lost his innocence to Allen's bouts of abuse.
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: When the Human first meets Allen, he is referred to by the latter as "it".Allen: There's been a lot of talk about the human returning to change things. Apparently, it is at a loss.
- Last Grasp at Life: The Human, who himself drowns after trying to rescue Rachel.
- Mutilation Conga: Played for Drama. As the Human makes a run for the altar, the injuries from Allen and Peck trying to kill each other become his own.
- One True Sequence: The House of Gold and Bones ultimately becomes the setting for the Conflagration.
- Only Sane Man: Peckinpah. The Human still has issues to sort out.
- Putting on the Reich: Allen's second appearance has him in a black Nazi-esque uniform with lots of smiley faces on it. The Human calls him "Adolf Dipshit".
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Allen (red), Peckinpah (blue). Their eyes follow this trope in The Conflagration.
- Red Sky, Take Warning: The city.
- Rite of Passage: In The Questions, Peckinpah explains the Conflagration as something like this.
- Samus Is a Girl: After getting stuck in a window trying to escape the Numbers, the Human receives a little help...from Allen. (Ellen?)Allen: I felt like roaring.
- Say My Name: The Answers opens with The Human catapulting himself awake and screaming Rachel's name.
- Shape Shifter Showdown: The Conflagration. Averted in the video for "Do Me a Favor".
- Sinister Minister: Allen's penultimate form in the comics, and the form we see of him in "Do Me a Favor".
- Super Smoke: Allen loves this. Peckinpah, too.Human: Another disappearing act?! Oh, that's just GREAT! What the fuck was all that walking for?!
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: Allen. Notable in his first appearance.
- Waking Up Elsewhere: The Human finds himself in the red city in The Answers.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The Numbers and especially Black John are no longer of concern, except for banging at the doors of the House of Gold and Bones.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Allen in The Conflagration.
- Zerg Rush: The Numbers.