My life suffocates
Planting seeds of hate
I’ve loved, turned to hate
Trapped far beyond my fate

I give, you take
This life that I forsake
Been cheated of my youth
You turned this lie to truth

You’ll suffer unto me

Harvester of sorrow
Language of the mad
Harvester of sorrow

Pure black, looking clear
My work is done soon here
Try getting back to me
Get back which used to be

Drink up
Shoot in
Let the beatings begin
Distributor of pain
Your loss becomes my gain

You’ll suffer unto me

Harvester of sorrow
Language of the mad
Harvester of sorrow

All have said their prayers
Invade their nightmares
To see into my eyes
You’ll find where murder lies


Harvester of sorrow
Language of the mad
Harvester of sorrow
Language of the mad
Harvester of sorrow

Lyrics submitted by fennsk, edited by RyanWolfeh, Ashram

Harvester Of Sorrow song meanings
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  • +7
    My InterpretationThis song is definitely about a parent who tries to escape their misery through drugs and alcohol and eventually takes it out on his family by beating and killing them. Here is my interpretation of the lyrics for each of the 3 verses in the song:

    Verse 1:
    My Life Suffocates
    Planting Seeds of Hate
    I've Loved, Turned to Hate
    Trapped Far Beyond My Fate

    I Give
    You Take
    This Life That I Forsake
    Been Cheated of My Youth
    You Turned this Lie to Truth

    -- This is giving a historical view of the Harvester of Sorrows' life. It explains how he became the Harvester of Sorrow. It's pretty straight forward, no need to go into detail here.

    2nd Verse:
    Pure Black Looking Clear
    My Work Is Done Soon Here
    Try Getting Back to Me
    Get Back Which Used to Be

    Drink up
    Shoot in
    Let the Beatings Begin
    Distributor of Pain
    Your Loss Becomes My Gain

    -- This verse explains how he thinks about himself and how the Harvester of Sorrow deals with it. He attempts to "get back which used to be" by abusing drugs and alcohol. Which results in him becoming violent. At this point it does not indicate that he is violent towards his family. The Harvester of Sorrow could just be getting in fights at bars or places he gets drunk and high at (like when people get drunk at bars and start fights ... get it?). Essentially, he gets drunk/high and takes his anger out on others.

    3rd Verse:
    All Have Said Their Prayers
    Invade Their Nightmares
    See into My Eyes
    You'll Find Where Murder Lies


    -- This is the verse that indicates that the Harvester of Sorrow has finally snapped and beats and murders his children (indicated by infanticide ... which has nothing to do with abortion BTW). He has finally become the Harvester of Sorrow.
    MasterOfLyricson June 22, 2009   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI've always inferred that this song was about someone who's suffered horribly and perceives themselves as being wronged and even persecuted on all sides. As a result, they become bitter, unable to feel compassion for other humans, and lash out angrily and even violently. This resembles certain schizophrenia-type mental disorders (note: scizophrenia =/= multiple personality disorder), where the sufferer becomes paranoid and perceives themselves as being persecuted on all sides. The song's lyrics and its emphasis on violence, alienation, and emotional blunting best matches the development of clinical psychopathy.
    katryna669on July 22, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI'm thinking this is either a generalized Grim Reaper/Final Judgement song like Metallica is so fond of, or a bloody-justice teenage revenge anthem. I'm leaning towards the latter. Why you ask? I'll explain.

    The song clearly indicates a strong feeling of victimhood and unjustified abuse. A person of formerly pure intentions ("Planting Seeds of Hate, I've Loved, Turned to Hate, Trapped Far Beyond My Fate") has been driven into vengeful bloodlust by a lifetime of mistreatment ("I Give, You Take, This Life That I Forsake, Been Cheated of My Youth, You Turned this Lie to Truth).

    The person in question is now motivated only by pure rage and pain ("Anger, Misery, You will Suffer unto Me", Distributor of Pain, Your Loss becomes my gain" etc.) and he proceeds to exact bloody payment ("All Have Said Their Prayers, Invade Their Nightmares, See into My Eyes, You'll Find Where Murder Lies) on those who planted the seeds of hate in his heart, pushed him beyond his normal limits of morality, took from him when he did nothing but give to them, and robbed him of his innocence.

    He has become the Harvester of Sorrow.

    So basically, take your average school shooter's life story and make a song out of it, and this is what you get.
    Bullzeyeon June 21, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Commentjust listen in sorrow and awe to the skill of the drummer in the first 1.17 minutes.. this song is really a chellenge for any respectable drummer and Lars seems to to give the best of himself here... It is a song dominated by anger, frustration and sorrow. The heavy guitar riff and the Bass drum rolls confirm this... i believe that if you take away the lyrics from this piece, the song will loose none of its prowess, and will still express the true pain and feeeling put in the treated subject.... Lars rules, and though technically he may not be at the skill of such drummers as Mike Portnoy, or Danny Carey, he is still my favorite drummer cause he has the ability of transmitting all his wrath and passion through his pounding... He knows music is expression of feeling and soul...
    Thanks for reading my humble opinion
    UnforgivenIIon January 20, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Commentthis song is about me
    my life suffocates
    pieroyinon October 08, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYou know what? I think this song is about drugs. Think about it. It mentions shoot in! That's an obvious reference to heroin! And as for the rest, well, I'm not high yet so I can't reach for anything yet. Sorry all, but I just had to post something about drugs because it's the only song I've seen on this site thus far that isn't about them. *Scoff* Please.
    BlackMageon July 03, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me... I think this song is about a kid who had a very abusive father. In the long run, his child hood memories are mainly of him being beaten. In the long run, it makes him mentally unstable, ruining the rest of his life...but thats what I think.
    vagabond1987on April 05, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI've always thought it was about alcohol itself, and the effect James maybe felt it had on him and others.
    So, essentially James is writing the song as if Alcohol was a person/entity itself, and James takes on the perspective of Alcohol.

    "Pure Black looking clear" - Alcohol is often clear, but can have a "dark" effect.

    "You'll Suffer unto Me" - Alcohol has now become your master. Much like Drugs in "Master of Puppets".

    "Let the Beatings Begin" - Not necessarily beating someone else up, but pschologically beating yourself up because you've fallen off the wagon, or you hate how you are after drinking and therefore beat yourself up over it.

    "Your Loss Becomes My Gain" - Often Alcoholics will continue to drink because it numbs whatever their pain they're going through.

    "Harvester of Sorrow
    Language of the Mad" - This is saying that alcohol will only make you depressed, and that it'll make you mad, as often alcoholic end up.

    Interestingly, when you view this in context of the time, James was reportedly going through his partying/drinking phase, which would culiminate in his checking into rehab many years later, during "St. Anger".

    So, as quite often the case, maybe this song was a form of subconscious therapy for James at the time.
    Chris_Geezon June 30, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmost of the theories offered so far are possibilities, but this song is definitely about the law of sowing and reaping. that is why the title talks about a "harvester" or someone who is reaping something. There is a verse in the Bible, the first part of which says, " he who soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption". The song is talking about the actions or "vices" of a person having direct consequences. His life suffocates as a direct result of the seeds of hate he has planted. Ive loved, turned to hate- thats talking about a vice, habit, or action of some sort that the person
    "loved" , but has only returned "hate" or misery, as a direct consequence.
    I give, you take, this life that I forsake. Again, giving his time and passion to his vice, the vice ending up figuratively, or even literally, taking his life. ( been cheated of my youth)
    You turned the lie to truth- The lie that the vice would bring satisfaction, but turning into the truth that his life has been destroyed
    Anger, misery, youll suffer unto me- The "vice" is talking, saying that anger and misery are the result of the action or vice that the person engaged in.
    Pure black, looking clear - The vice or action is pure evil (black), but on the outside , it looks pure and harmless ( clear) before he gets sucked into its consequences.
    Try getting back to me, get back what used to be- The person wants to get back to the beginning when the vice was fun and appeared to be harmless, but the consequences of his actions has caused damage and pain that he cannot get out of.
    I could continue , but the rest of the lines of the song obviously follow the same theme- that sowing corrupt or evil actions causes reaping of sorrow and misery. Could be any vice like drugs,alcohol, domestic abuse, gambling, sex, etc.
    thunderstruck961on June 27, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think this song is about a child growing up in a dysfunctional, abusive family. Particularly, I think a parent is on heroin and an alcoholic ("Drink up / shoot in"). The child acts like a normal, sweet child, but the parents neglect him and leave him to basically survive on his own ("I give / you take").
    lan56on May 27, 2009   Link

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