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album analysis > the pariah, the parrot, the delusion

Concept | Liner Notes | Lyrics | Videos | Discuss

Here we take an in-depth look at the album 'The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion' by dredg.  We took clues and hints from the official dredg website left by the band members, used the journal entries from the booklet for the album, and with help from others, looked up related information dealing with the concept of the record.  I want to make one thing clear however, and that is; this is in no way 100% accurate, and there is no perfect answer to all the information below, or all the ideas supplied in 'The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion'....this is simply a collective overview.  Hope you enjoy.

The Concept

The album is presented as a letter; Gavin has said that it is to be seen as a letter to the 7 billionth person in the world (inspired by Salman Rushdie’s essay “Imagine There's No Heaven: A Letter to the 6 Billionth Citizen – read here).  The album tackles modern science, evolution, politics, death, and acceptance.  It has been said that Mark discovered the Rushdie essay in author Christopher Hitchens' The Pocket Atheist.  


Sample of International Letter


Cover Art for Album

“The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion": It illustrates an important stage in the search for “answers", whether in a religious sense, a personal sense, or evolutionary and scientific sense (evolution is prominent on this album, and even the "change" symbol has "evolved". The search appears to one of faith, and understanding of death and morality.  No matter how you look at it, people will always grasp at something, whatever gives them hope and purpose; a will to survive.  This album is also about choices, and how those choices can impact your life and the lives of others around you.  

Album Title

The Pariah

The outcast or the assignment of social class and distinction, one who speaks out of turn.

The Parrot

A person who echoes another words, or follows others blindly.

The Delusion

A persistent falsehood of belief regarding ones self, others, or objects that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary.

Stamps on Cover

If you look at the first stamp, there are 2 ‘change symbols on the left and right sides.  The second stamp has a large reincarnation of the ‘change symbol’, as seen larger on the album.  The third stamp the left and right side of the stamp have the ‘change symbol’.  

Within the album each stamp is somewhat of a block, or beginning/ending cornerstone.  The songs contained within the block are working towards the goal, explaining the stamp.

The quote by Charles Darwin (a theologian and became an agnostic through his scientific discoveries) "Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." from Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man (1871), helps explain the idea of the "Stamps".

Stamp 1:  One Half Empty

Pessimistic a “Stamp of Origin” on album

Stamp 2:  St. Johns Newfoundland – Six-Pence Half Penny

The sister city of St. John's , Newfoundland is Waterford , Ireland .  Tradition declares that the city earned its name when explorer John Cabot became the first European to sail into the harbor, perhaps where the “ocean meets the bay”, a “Stamp of Origin” on the album.

Stamp 3:  Gasp Then Sing

It may be a reach, but if you listen very closely to the beginning of the song, Gavin gives a slight gasp before he starts to sing the lyrics to the track: Stamp of Origin – Take a Look Around.

Stamp 4:  The Most Elegant Idea---a-t-c-g---Reducible

The most elegant idea may refer to the idea described in the lyrics to Stamp of Origin – Horizon. But more importantly the idea of evolution as described by Darwin and how when you really, "really" understand evolution, it IS "The Most Elegant Idea".

ATCG stands for Access to Credible Genetics and also refers to DNA and RNA in the form of adenosine (A), cytidine (C), guanosine (G), thymidine (T) and uridine (U).

This stamp also has what appears to be flagella, which is a tail-like structure that projects from the cell body of certain types of cells.  It propels itself towards its intended destination, as in the case of a sperm cell.  This is one of the biggest arguments “creationists” have against “evolutionists”; they say that the flagella could not have evolved into this state.

Reducible has many meanings, on of which is: to change. However, Irreducible complexity (IC) is an argument made by proponents of intelligent design that certain biological systems are too complex to have evolved from simpler, or "less complete" predecessors, through natural selection acting upon a series of advantageous naturally occurring chance mutations. It is one of two main arguments intended to support intelligent design, the other being specified complexity.

Other Cover Items  

Bird with human hands – Goes against the idea of creationism, aka religion, and shows "evolution".  The album has plenty of themes that deal with the idea of following religion blindly, and accepting that there is a God and a heaven without cause. 

Change symbol has morphed/evolved into a “change of heart” symbol

The Songs


Defined:   an outcast: a person who is rejected (from society or home).  A caste, a hereditary system of occupation, endogamy, social culture, social class, and political power, the assignment of individuals to places in the social hierarchy is determined by social group and cultural heritage. It was first used to describe inherited class status in a society and one who speaks out of turn.

Lyrically it would appear that the narrator is referring to a suicide bomber or someone of the sort.  Delusions of a God or Gods, of religion have clouded the reality that killing people in the name of God is still murder.  Religion is not justification for killing and hatred…while many people will try to blame others, priests, preachers, religious pushers and backers; at the end of the day you make your own choices.


About challenging oneself to question the things they were taught, from parents, teachers, friends, and the world around them.  It’s never easy to walk away and leave the surroundings you’ve been born into, whether it’s a town, a religion, a house, or a group of friends.  In the case of religion, it’s one of those questions like; “why are you catholic?”  and the answer turns out to be, “my whole family is catholic.”  Well so you’re that religion based on birth and what someone has told you to be, you have never gone out and challenged yourself and tired to look into other religions…instead you just go with the teachings that have been instilled you…’you are comfortable right here”.

Stamp of Origin – Pessimistic


The “you” in this song can be whatever the listener wants it to be; religion, a parent, a child, a husband, a wife, a God.  The song reeks of ideas of religious brainwashing and even imprisonment, not necessarily physically, but more mentally.  By the end whatever ‘it’ is, won’t be let in, ever. Perhaps it's "doubt", or "non-belief in himself or the 'YOU' from earlier in the song."

This song also helps shape the idea that we as humans, as a people cling to that which gives us hope, a purpose, and a sense of belonging…again, human, non-human, religious or not.

Gathering Pebbles

Gathering pebbles is a childhood metaphor and can be associated with idea that no matter what we are doing we should realize we are only gathering the pebbles of it all; the small pieces that make up a bigger picture and landscape. 

I happened to take a chance, now there’s no turning back
Return to childhood dreams, they’re rusted figurines

Whether it is religious beliefs, life in general, or something else, we always have something else to learn if we take a chance.  Those who tend to try to lift boulders, never trying to see the steps or pieces involved, can be crushed by them.  

Part of the lyrics in this song seem to cut paths towards the idea of the pilgrimage of Muslims.  They set out to gather pebbles for the stoning and riding of Satan, and drink from the well of Zamzam.  


This song was originally titled “Waterbourne”, a take off the movie which dredg did the score to, the movie was about a terrorist attack…which fits with this song as that is also the premise here. 

The verses appear to be sung from the perspective of “God” or, “The One” as it is said.  Gavin mentioned his prayers in the bridge of the song, but alludes to prayer earlier in the song with “so shed your pain while I sit in silence”, which is what prayer feels like to many.  It’s a way to ask for forgiveness, for oneself, for others, and afterwards there is nothing but silence….never answers.

The entire interlude/bridge tells the story of this song, and even Mark mentioned in an interview that within the song the person the narrator is speaking of “blows himself up”.

He woke up next to her, his head against her head
His hand upon her breast, he knew today meant death
He kissed her on the cheek, and then on her lips
Thought to himself "it's the last time I'll do this"

Put on a suit, pressed and clean
Brushed his hair, grabbed his keys
Then he headed out to the morning air
With an anticipation no man could bear

The air was heavy, he could feel it in his lungs
With every step he took, a prayer rolled off his tongue
They were prayers of forgiveness, and prayers of praise
And his actions a gift for a god without a name

The section is explaining the details leading up to this man leaving home and committing a terrible act, simply for a “God without a name.”  He is a suicide bomber, “he kissed her on the cheek….it’s the last time he will do this.”

Stamp of Origin – Ocean Meets Bay


It’s been stated that this song is sort of a tribute to a fallen friend of the band (thought to be Mark Achilli).  Lyrically it’s pretty obvious that the narrator is talking about how we all want retribution against those who have done wrong, especially against ones we care for.  Unfortunately sometimes we all want that revenge and it can take hold of your life, ruin you, those around you, and end up costing more than was bargained for.   

I Don’t Know

In my opinion this is one of the biggest “staples” of this album.  A song the dictates the entire theme, along with Pariah, it really just encompasses the entire being.  The idea that “he” doesn’t know, isn’t that the whole point of many parts of this album.  We don’t know, you don’t know, I don’t know, nobody ‘knows’.  Religion, Life, Love, God, Belief is a tough and unproven thing, and nobody really “KNOWS”.

I don't know, if I'll go somewhere special when I die”

The song hints and carries fragments from Salman Rushdie’s essay “Imagine There's No Heaven: A Letter to the 6 Billionth Citizen.

Mourning this Morning  

About mortality and death.

Stamp of Origin – Take a Look Around

Cartoon Showroom

The idea of loss and regret stream through this song, but they are sprinkled with acceptance and choice as well....The roof being referred to could be that of life, or even "heaven" or afterlife, and this is like looking back at humanity and how it like watching the "animated world" below.  

The wormhole in the lyrics beams with the idea of being able to backtrack or relive past experiences and choices.  

The "Open Door" is that of choice, of opportunity, perhaps to accept things, perhaps to turn it all around.  The implications of that choice or choices is something discussed earlier on in the record, and we are seeing how that has impacted life and the soul.

Accepting your fate, your life and death, and finding a way to let go ("Quotes") of the pain, the fear, to forget that we don't know ("I Don't Know") the answers and fade slow ("Quotes") into the unknown, prepare for the end ("Horizon").

There is only so much we can, only so much can be shown to you
The rest is your choice…it’s your choice…it’s your choice

Again, as it has been stated many times on this album, the choice to change is ultimately up to the individual.  People can show you, help, guide you, and open the door for you, but in the end, it’s up to the individual, they must “keep moving onward, and run through the open door”.


This song is a metaphor for life, and what it feels like to die without knowing the answers. The sobriety is your life, untouched, unaltered, "unreal".  The drug is escapism, and abandoning the sobriety of life, the boredom that fear and regret of mistakes can have.  As we experience, we gain knowledge, as we learn we gain perspective, and we grow.  This is a way to squash all these fears...just let go, let go of the regret, the fear, the hate, the anger, let go...there is a way out.

While your delusions dictate your next move
You’re bound by deception and a misled direction

The delusions and deception are that of teachings, most likely religious teachings in the context of the record, and they are dictating all moves, and to break free you must “just let go.”   However, letting go is not just of these beliefs, but of the hold they have, the hold mistakes and regret have on a person.

Stamp of Origin - Horizon

Preparing oneself for fate of death.  Realizing  that all is coming to an end and accepting your choices from the past, accepting what your life has meant, the good, the bad, the ugly...let go, let go and fade into the horizon, whatever it might be...

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