Progress is a myth
If not for he who suffered and gave himself away
At the hands of fools and lesser men
False idols and kings
Who came to rule through circumstance
Work him like a dog
With a ball and chain and thanklessness

The dice have been cast
No turning back
Eyes on the ground
Where he will die
Feet nailed to the floor
Reason to be
Shoulder to the Plow

Facing down the wind
He'll see the way they'll never change
Watch his slow decay
As bottles drain and days go by
Forging his demise
Through poison vice to sap the mind
Iron was a will
Now passions wane and spirits die

The weight on his chest
Aches in his flesh
Dreams of a day that never comes
Ax pressed to the wheel
Bones ground to dust
Shoulder to the Plow

Ground down into dust for a taste of their good life
Left their screams, left their souls behind

Work him dead
Let him rot


Lyrics submitted by M4ND1BL3

Shoulder to the Plow song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • 0
    My InterpretationAmazing song. Definitely one of Breaking Wheel's best.

    I believe that this song is about a concentration camp prisoner. The "False idols" and "kings" could be referring to the Nazis who took power during a time when Germany was in financial ruin ("Who came to rule through circumstance") and soon after they forced many people into concentration camps where they were forced to work to death. As time goes on, the prisoner begins to lose hope and wants to die.
    ant423on January 15, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAgreed.
    M4ND1BL3on February 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI discovered this song on rock band 2. Its sick nasty (in a good way) I love it.

    My take on the song is that it is talking in general about the deterioration of humanity as humans become tools to serve a higher purpose. What comes to my mind is the fuedalism system.
    Irazehlon May 11, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSounds to me like it's about a man working himself to death so that his family can have better life.
    nubon May 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the Communism bit is spot on.
    M4ND1BL3on June 12, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My OpinionTo me this has always just seemed like your typical metal-aggro song. I think communism is a little too deep-- I think they just wanted to write an aggressive, violent song. Of course, I could be wrong.
    VideoFreakon November 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy theory is that this is discussing the disgruntled "working class" that exists in pretty much any capitalist society. There's always an upper crust living the good life on the backs of the working class, who get only a tiny piece of the pie as a result. It's saying that eventually these working class will reach their breaking point and start a revolution, and when that happens it will be the ones who had their "shoulder to the plow" who will reign supreme.

    EBR261on November 27, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationIt definitely speaks overtly about Jesus's life. He gave his life for the Nazarenes, all who could be considered lesser men and fools because of their seemingly barbaric ways as written in the bible. H suffered on the cross for these people, and the false idols and kings, presumably the democratic roman empire, had him worked by carrying his cross as well as the several beating he took. Feet nailed to the floor is an allusion to the actual crucifixion. The second verse capitalizes on this notion even more.
    SoaringEagleon December 03, 2016   Link

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