We will be your light,
You've asked me for my sacrifice,
And I am winterborn,
Without denying, a faith is come,
That I have never known,
I hear the angels call my name,
And I am winterborn.
The Cruxshadows (stylized as The Crüxshadows) are a Dark Wave band from Jacksonville, Florida. While a Goth band, their lyrics sound more like very peppy motivational speeches than the Straw Nihilist attitude that the goth scene's detractors tend to associate with the movement. In keeping with these themes, The Cruxshadows also keep up an aesthetic that is a combination of Cyber Goth and Perky Goth. Their music revolves around fantastical and mythological themes, and their music videos often use elements of Science Fiction. While not explicitly religious, The Cruxshadows' music explores the concepts of divinity and spirituality. Battle metaphors (often drawn from the Greek and Roman classics) are used frequently as well.
The lead singer Rogue is a trained artist and a huge fan of classical Greek and Egyptian mythology, which are mentioned frequently in The Cruxshadows' work. He is the only constant member of the band, as the other members tend to be Put on a Bus, or suffer from Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. Rogue is mostly known for his spider-like gothic hairstyle and singing in what sounds suspiciously like a British accent.
John Ringo, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Caitlin R. Kiernan are huge fans of the band.
- Rogue Lead vocals
- Mike Perez - Guitar
- Jen "Pyromantic" Jawidzik Keyboards
- Johanna Moresco Violin
- David Russell Wood Violin
- Jessica Lackey E-Drums
- ...Night Crawls In (1993, reissue in 2005)
- Telemetry of a Fallen Angel (original release 1995, anniversary edition 2004)
- The Mystery of the Whisper (1999, reissue in 2006)
- Echoes and Artifacts / Intercontinental Drift (2001)
- Wishfire (2002)
- Ethernaut (2003)
- DreamCypher (2007)
- As the Dark Against My Halo (2012)
- Astromythology (2017)
The band and their music provide examples of the following:
- All Myths Are True: One thing consistently stated by Rogue in interviews is that mythical figures and spiritual concepts from various cultural sources around the world and across history are used in The Cruxshadows' lyrics to emphasize the universal significance of the themes they allude to. As such, Egyptian Mythology, Greek Mythology, Norse Mythology, allusions to the eastern concept of karma, and some very obvious Ambiguously Christian motifs all feature comfortably alongside one another in The Cruxshadows' albums - not to mention the consciously designed Yin-Yang Bomb-themed logo.
- All of the Other Reindeer: As explained by Rogue in an interview from around the release of Wishfire, the band's name alludes to the idea that social outsiders (who stand in "shadows") may be quietly and unknowingly closer to the crux of spiritual truths (represented by the tri-bar cross of the band's logo) than mainstream society.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: "Elissa".
- Author Appeal: Two things that get mentioned a lot by the Cruxshadows? Angels and Classical Mythology.
- Badass Creed: "Sophia."Do not injustice to anotherDefend the weak and innocentLet truth and honor always guide youLet courage find a life withinStand up when no-one else is willingAct not in hatred or in spiteBe to this world as a perfect knightEven if it means your life.
- Big Badass Battle Sequence: "Citadel" recreates the battle of Troy in Homer's Illiad play by play, while "The Seraphs" involves its Miltonian Fallen Angel narrator leading a raging horde of angels into battle.
- Bilingual Bonus: Echoes and Artifacts includes a German version of the song "Deception."
- Blue Blood: Rogue was revealed to be from this kind of background after his real name, Virgil Roger du Pont III, was revealed on Wikipedia and in the media. It is usually not considered good form to mention this around the band or their fans.
- Break-Up Song: "Marilyn, My Bitterness."
- Chess Motifs: "The 8th Square."
- Classical Mythology: This and angels are two of the Cruxshadows' defining motifs.
- Code of Honour: The lyrics of "Sophia".
- Concept Album: Ethernaut tells the story of the fall of Troy from the Trojan point of view. Fittingly, the following album, DreamCypher, references Virgil's The Aeneid, about the journey of refugees from Troy to what would later become Rome.
- Cosmic Motifs: Both Telemetry of a Fallen Angel and Astromythology (especially "Singularities" and "Stargazer") feature outer space as a narrative backdrop, representing a sense of loneliness, fear, and emptiness that their protagonists must confront in order to better themselves and save others.
- Cover Version: Echoes and Artifacts includes covers of popular songs by T. Rex and Eurythmics.
- Dark Is Not Evil: "Leave Me Alone" is an earlier Cruxshadows song about how the Gothic subculture largely represents this trope. (Emphasized in contrast to the Dark Is Evil quotes about the "violent and black" Gothic movement sampled in the Shaft 20/20 remix of the song.) The Cruxshadows themselves certainly count as an example of dark is not evil, as many of Rogue's lyrics are about persevering through hardships and the importance of being a good person.
- Dark Reprise: "Winterborn" gets one of these with "A Stranger Moment" from Ethernaut, which uses the same progression as the former's main riff and verse. The formers' lyrics speak of a hero's Last Stand in a Darkest Hour, while the latter appears to be about the character's Apocalyptic Log or a Message in a Bottle to his loved ones.
- Dark Wave: Their primary form of music.
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": Rogue tends not to be too open about his real name, and bringing up the topic is something of a Berserk Button among fans.
- Dramatic Space Drifting: A large portion of the story concept of Telemetry of a Fallen Angel is about a lost satellite adrift in space. The idea is revisited in Astromythology, which features a narrator (in "Singularities" and "Astromythology") adrift in space, describing their feelings of hope and fear.
- Egyptian Mythology: The songs "Jackal-Head" and "Aten-Ra": also features in some of The Cruxshadows' earlier-career visual presentation.
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- The debut album Night Crawls In is a very stereotypical "gothic" musical jaunt full of gloomy, dissonant violin riffs and despondent lyrics, and noticeably lacks many of the later albums' more hopeful energy or inspirational themes. The various cultural and literary references characteristic of later albums are also entirely absent.
- While Egyptian mythology and the Egyptian pantheon of deities play a fairly big role in the lyrics, song titles, and album art on Telemetry of a Fallen Angel and Mystery of the Whisper, Egyptian motifs are entirely dropped from Wishfire onwards.
- Face Death with Dignity: A recurring theme, featured in such songs as "Winter Born" and "Titan".
- Fallen Angel: "The Seraphs". Also, the titular angel in the Telemetry of a Fallen Angel album.
- Feather Motif: It is on some of the band's merchandise, which makes sense since angels feature in a few of their songs, and variants of Winged Humanoid are a common sight on their album covers and promotional materials.
- Feeling Their Age: The narrator of "My Telescope"
- Filk Song: The song "Matchstick Girl" is based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl.
- Five-Man Band:
- Gentleman and a Scholar: Rogue, who is quite well read in classical literature, as evidenced by The Cruxshadows' lyrics.
- God Is Good: The lyrics to "Halo" include: "God be with me on this day," implying God as a particularly benevolent entity (if unknowable, as the song "Immortal" insists).
- Goth: The Cruxshadows specialize in gothic electronica.
- Guardian Angel: A recurring theme in some of The Cruxshadows' lyrics.
- Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: Present and correct in the full correctly rendering of the bands name "The Crüxshadows".
- Hero of Another Story: The parts of Virgil's Aeneid that retell Homer's account of the fall of Troy from the point of view of the Trojans form a major emphasis in Ethernaut, Fortress in Flames, and Dreamcypher.
- Heroic Sacrifice: "Titan", "Winterborn" and "Valkyrie."
- Hidden Track: Ethernaut has three hidden songs; the first, "Esoterica (Through the Ether)" plays immediately after the last listed track, the second, "Helen," is hidden behind three tracks of silence, and the third, "Live, Love, Be, Believe (Recalling the Dream)" plays after yet another silent track.
- Historical Downgrade: "Eye of the Storm" makes an idealistic plea against the idea:
- And so the heroes of the ages past/Are stripped of honesty and love/To make them seem less noble/And hide what we can become
- Holy Halo: The song "Halo," quite fittingly.
- The Homeward Journey: "Return (Coming Home)", inspired by The Odyssey.
- Hopeless War: "Citadel".
- Hot Wings: Alluded to by the song "Flame."
- Ideal Hero: Earnestly described in the lyrics of "Sophia".
- Inspirational Martyr: The narrator of "Winter Born".
- Karma: The theme of the song "Carnival".
- Knight in Shining Armor: The single "Sophia" references this trope, encouraging listeners to emulate it.
- Lighter and Softer: The Cruxshadows are pretty much this in contrast to the Goth / Industrial scene in general. Their Darker and Edgier first album, ...Night Crawls In, is more stereotypically gloomy, spooky, and generally "gothic" in content. Their next couple of albums followed suit. Over time, their lyrics have been more and more prone to sound like the contents of an uplifting Rousing Speech about hope, courage, and morality in the form of a song.
- Message in a Bottle: One interpretation of "A Stranger Moment" is of a doomed sailor on a sinking ship sending out one of these for his loved ones.
- Myth Arc: The Angel Cycle.
- Norse Mythology: "Valkyrie".
- Not Christian Rock: In an interview, lead singer Rogue (who comes from a Catholic background) stated that the name of the band and the band's logo (which is inspired by the Eastern Orthodox Cross — also infamously appropriated by Industrial musicians and infamous trolls Psychic TV) are inspired by a story about the followers of Christ who stood in the shadow of the cross. However, in spite of several songs that talk about or explicitly mention God, The Cruxshadows' themes are intended to represent universal concepts. (For example, the "shadow of the cross" anecdote is meant as a metaphor for social outsiders in general.)
- Orphean Rescue: "Eurydice" retells the story of the Trope Namer, also referenced in "Orphean Wing".
- Our Angels Are Different: "The Seraphs" and "Flame" strongly invoke this trope.
- Telemetry of a Fallen Angel is a concept album about a fallen angel whose journey parallels that of a falling satellite in space.
- Our Dark Matter Is Mysterious: "Dark Matter", naturally.
- The Paragon: Much of The Cruxshadows' music is based on the idea of an aspirational heroic and moral ideal of a human being (represented by the image of a Knight in Shining Armor) that fans and listeners can aspire to be like.
- Perky Goth: In addition to keeping up this appearance as a huge part of their aesthetic presentation, The Cruxshadows have also produced their fair share of inspiring, uplifting perky goth ballads.
- Platonic Cave: "My Telescope" implies the narrator has come to view the world we know as a theatrical production with acts and a curtain call, and has come to peace with their knowledge.
- Power Ballad: "Walk Away" on Telemetry of a Fallen Angel, "Spectators" and "Go Away" on Wishfire, "A Stranger Moment" on Ethernaut, "Matchstick Girl" on As the Dark Against My Halo, and the acoustic version of "Winterborn."
- Revolving Door Band: Except for lead singer Rogue, no one has been around since the beginning.
- Rogue has gone on record stating that this is his least favorite criticism of the band, pointing out that the current violinist and keyboardist have been with The Cruxshadows since the mid-2000s.
- Rock Me, Amadeus!: "Strange Skies" quotes Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. Ironically, their track "Valkyrie" from the same album is not an example of this trope.
- Rousing Speech: Many of the band's more recent songs are basically this.
- Save Sat: The plot of the story concept in Telemetry of a Fallen Angel, in which it's implied the "save" is in a spiritual/metaphorical as well as literal sense.
- Sequel Song / Spiritual Successor: "Valkyrie" is one of these to their signature song "Winterborn," both songs being about Heroic Sacrifice.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The Cruxshadows' albums all take place in a world that emphasizes the virtues of Knight in Shining Armor style chivalry and heroism (and Heroic Sacrifice to protect and defend others), guided by Guardian Angel figures and just and benevolent incarnations of divinity - thus, they are very far along the idealistic end, even in some of their more tragic ballads.
- Softer and Slower Cover: The acoustic version of "Winterborn."
- Then Let Me Be Evil: The narrator of "The Seraphs".
- The Underworld: The song "Eurydice," like the original Greek myth, is about a journey there.
- War Is Glorious: A natural result of some of the albums being earnest retellings of The Illiad and The Aeneid, stories about epic battles in which gods take human sides, as well as "Titan", which is more generally about the Heroic Sacrifice of a warrior or soldier. However, the tragedy of loss in battle is still explored in The Cruxshadows' songs that allude to this trope.
- Yin-Yang Bomb: Evoked by The Cruxshadows' logo, which resembles the color scheme of yin/yang centered around an Orthodox Cross.
- Yin-Yang Clash: "Wake the White Queen" off of the Where's Neil When You Need Him? album is a direct adaptation of Mirrormask, a Neil Gaiman story based around this theme.