The theme of isolation weighed heavily upon Larissa’s mind as she was writing the lyrics for Erebos. This distinguishing feature of lockdown, and one of its most distressing elements, inevitably led her to think about how isolation is used for more nefarious means across the world, specifically within the prison system. The psychological distress of being cut off from other humans, going against our own nature as social beings, was felt the world over, intensifying the loneliness that was endemic before COVID-19 even entered existence.
That distress is the tip of the iceberg of what a person placed in solitary confinement experiences, which Larissa explores in the pulsing, devastating Castigated In Steel And Concrete. “It can really damage you,” she explains with the measured eloquence of someone who has done their research. “It can completely ruin you. Because you’re stuck on your own all the time, your mind just wanders off. There’s lots of different psychological issues that can arise that [prisoners] never recover from. A lot of people who have been released from prison, and have been in solitary confinement, end up committing suicide because they just can’t function in the real world anymore. It’s really fucking awful.”
At the same time, a wave of Black Lives Matter protests were unfolding on a global scale, pushing people throughout the world to start thinking about racial injustice and the societal structures that facilitate it in ways they might have never done before. Larissa took it upon herself to use her free time to educate herself on systemic racism, finding that the issues stemming from it were inevitably entangled with issues within the justice system. This inspired Erebos’ pummelling lead single, Judges Of The Underworld, a snarling indictment of the violent cycle of incarceration that particularly people of colour and those born into poverty are mercilessly thrown into, with no hope of escape.
“We live in a society that disadvantages people in poverty by making it impossible for them to break through the cycles of violence,” Larissa asserts. “Children [born into poverty] grow up in circles where they may be forced into doing illegal things like selling drugs or stealing because they don’t have the money or opportunities to make money in a legal way. These people are victims, offenders and often witnesses at the same time. You can’t see them as one thing – they’re everything at once. Once they go through the route of being incarcerated, being imprisoned, they’re released into the same environment without being offered any help or support. There’s often just no way for them other than to go back into the same cycle and just continue it endlessly.”