“Six monarchs and their cursed servants waited for a child born on the day of an eclipse. Eventually the monarchs won the war and protected the child. But, as the monarchs tried to cut the neck of the last marquis (a noble), “when the red moon comes again, I will come back for the child.” Then… the night sky turned red.”

Originally released for the finale of Road to Kingdom last month, Oneus released a surprise MV for “Come Back Home,” complete with terrifying monsters, a child in distress, six well-dressed “monarchs,” and an abandoned moonlight forest. On its own, the MV is a horror-esque monster story of intrigue and danger — but when paired with the narration in Road to Kingdom, it becomes even more apocalyptic in scope.

There are honestly a dizzying number of layers and theories that could be deduced from the short four minutes and sixteen seconds of the song, but the story all seems to center around the six monarchs getting tainted as the sky turns red, struggling to protect a young boy. It starts with them as noble monarchs fighting off terrifying creatures with long finger nails, gnarled faces, and frighteningly pale, lifeless eyes under the dark of night. However, in the fight to protect the fated child, the monarchs are defiled and transformed, turned into something not quite human or monster.

Interestingly, it does not seem to be immediately clear if Oneus are the protagonists or the antagonists of this tale. The story is told as if the monarchs are protecting a child from a dark force, but throughout the video it is not made clear when the sky turns red if the monarchs are still protecting the boy or holding him captive. The cursed servants are waiting for the child and the nobleman (or marquis as they are called) are the ones being beheaded rather than the cursed servants. Regardless, the imagery is full of different characters, monster or otherwise.

Imagery throughout is closely tied to standard monster tropes and lunar folklore. The moon is often present in rituals, superstitions, and environmental phenomenon in a wide range of cultures, religions, and literature. It may be interesting to note as well that the video was released on the same date as a first quarter moon, with a full moon quickly approaching on August 4th. Typically, new moons are viewed as gateways between other worlds and supernatural events. Any public-school teacher could likely tell you the old superstition that their students are always extra rowdy on the day of a full moon.

Though the story is closely tied to moon lore, longstanding creature tales the likes of vampires, zombies, lycanthrope, and the like all manage to be present in this video as well, shown through scenery, choreography, and costuming. Beast or claw-like movements, not to mention the “transforming under the light of the moon” elements, evoke a number of werewolf or lycanthrope images. The strong, dressed all in stunning white, pale prince costuming in the theatre scenes make the members seem ethereal and vampire-like. Shockingly, the choreography at the beginning and at 1:28 make it look like they are drinking the blood from the neck of one of their backup dancers, making them submit to their will. The whole undead, thirst for flesh, and stocky movements of their limbs could also be suggestive of zombie characteristics.

The choreography and evocative imagery in the video are somewhat the stars, especially since the music was already performed on Road to Kingdom. However, there are a number of characteristics to the music itself that makes it sound angsty, like it just came out of a horror movie. The texture for much of the song is thick, with loud overdubbed guitar, 8vb vocal doubling, and rock instrumentation. Generic rock sounds are combined seamlessly with EDM sound sampling and used most frequently to signal harmonic transitions and reinforce dance breaks. The genre of the sounds does not seem to necessarily hold meaning other than to create a greater diversity of sounds and timbres within the music itself.

It actually took me a little while to also figure out why the introduction to the song made it sound so much like a horror movie or wailing requiem. Eventually I realized that it reminds me of notorious pieces like the Dies Irae from Mozart’s “Requiem”, “O Fortuna” by Carl Off, or the strident violin opening to Saint Saens’s “Danse Macabre.” While all of these pieces do share a similar introduction, they all also have similar ties to death, destruction, and fate. While the music is vaguely similar, the elicitations with death are no coincidence. These pieces are famous magnates in their own right, whether one can identify them by name or not. Such subtle nods are often enough to create thematic ties with the original source material.

The lyrics on the other hand are fairly repetitive overall. Some verses stick out, especially “soon the white sky turns black, even the blue moon can’t shine on me” and “you still haunt me.” It is unclear who the intended subject of the song is, but in this context, it seems that an unrequited love story is a metaphor for a rejection of the dark corruption that is overtaking them. Despair and rejection can bring people to extremely dark places, just as apparently protecting a fated, eclipse-born child from monsters one could imagine would.  

This MV reminds me of an M. C. Escher painting, especially those like “House of Stairs” or “Relativity:” endless layers to decipher, always leaving you feeling almost more confused and acutely aware of what you do not know rather than what you do. The imagery is intentionally vague while still managing to give nods to iconic monster lore, celestial superstitions, as well as a full story complete with narration. The music is angsty with ties to death-related classical music, and the lyrics suck you in to a blackened heart and a blacker night. And at the end, we are left on a cliffhanger.

Teasing the mind and the senses, Oneus have made it clear that this is only the beginning of a perilous tale of deceit, danger, and death. With a full moon quickly approaching and just enough time to simmer on such an intricate MV, it will be interesting to see what chapter comes next in the story. If superstitions of blood moons are any indication, we are in for a wild ride.

(YouTube: [1] [2], MC Escher: [1] [2]. Images via RBW)