The Strain begins where Another Life left off. Marianna sings of confusion and disillusionment. There is great fear and the theme started with prisons in Another Life and moves to being “caged in” here. However, the tables are turned as all the hate has built up and will now be turned on the other pulling the strings. The song has a clever breakdown, where Marianna brings the truth and sings that “It’s too late to back down.” The song then kicks in to finish with soaring vocals, driving drums and nice guitar licks.
Respirator begins a little differently with some synth noise and keyboards before the guitars kick in. This one definitely feels like the most radio friendly of the bunch even if the lyrics are bleak and border on desperation as the previous two tracks have done. Again, Respirator continues the theme of being caged, and in this case lingering between life and death.
The real shining moment here is the break down, but this time in more aggressive tones. Marianna breathlessly sings/whispers over a heavy guitar breakdown,
“I cannot eat
I cannot sleep
I cannot breathe
And I can hardly take it”
This small moment intensifies the lyrics and the mood, reflecting perfectly the title of the song. Respirator is easily a top three song on this album, but Project Renegade actually improved upon in a “Quarantine” version where they strip away much of the music and let the song exist on its own merit of lyric and groove. Check out the video: