Hey-o fellow Banditos! (fka the Skeleton Clique)

I don't know about you all, but I am totally STOKED about the music on Twenty One Pilots' new concept album, Trench. Can't stop listening!

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aren't they so precious?

Because the tunes are so great, I couldn't help but look further into the concept, or story behind the music.

I ended up compiling a list of the terms used in the world of Trench, so if you're interested, I'm sharing it here for you, too.

Hope you enjoy! Stay Alive! ||-//


1s and 0s:/ referenced in the song "Morph," this contextually-mysterious phrase, often used in computer terminology, probably here indicates that things are "black and white," that a person feels backed against the wall or trapped without any good options (ie, "I'm surrounded and I'm hounded")

Assemblage of the Glorified:/ see Convocation. Not much is known about this event except that it takes place at Convocation. It seems to involve worship of the dead lights (see Vialism) or a ritual to manipulate the minds of the population of Dema

Banditos:/ Those who have escaped Dema (and, possibly, those who have also made it through Trench); the rebellion, those who take the risk to live their lives on the outskirts
Their typical uniform is of dark gray or green with strips and patches of yellow. For protection of identity and safety purposes, they like to wear hoods and bandannas.

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Bishops:/ The 9 appointed leaders of Dema meant to keep the people under control and stifle curiosities. They act out a “fatherly” role claiming to uphold and protect the people, but their main purpose is conformity, and they are crafty enough to keep people under their oppression through their false kindness. They are generally clothed in scarlet robes and veils, refusing to reveal their faces.
For enforcement of the law, they seem to posses weapons of some kind of low flame, bright red in color

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Breach:/ the hidden gap in the walls of Dema through which previous Banditos have escaped to Trench. Citizens hoping to find a way out of the city pray for guidance and help from the Banditos on the outside, the other side of the breach
Banditos light torches to lead the way out of Dema for escaping citizens

Clancy:/ The young bandito who is writing the top-secret letters released by TOP; a new escape from Dema but a rebel at heart. Cautious, but extremely hopeful. A dreamer with a deep hunger for freedom and truth. Apparently he lived and worked in Dema for at least nine years, and since childhood.

One day he looked past the horizon and noticed the top of the wall of Dema for the first time. He realized he was physically enclosed. Ever since that day he had wanted to escape.

Speculation: On the day of his escape, he met other Banditos in the courtyard of Dema by torch light and they made it through the breach through an underground tunnel

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Citizens:/ The citizens of Dema are slaves who may have originally been captured by the Bishops from the outside world and are constantly forced to work in the tower of Dema during the never-ending night

Certain groups of citizens are established according to the region of Dema in which they dwell. Each of the nine regions has an appointed Bishop to whom citizens devote their labor specifically

Citizens are seemingly allowed very humble dwellings with poor light and little furnishing

They are required to dress in black or gray. Children wear plain gray clothing.

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The Compass:/ referred to briefly in the classified documents of Clancy, under the caption “severed ties” : “gEt out. the compAss lies. they don't control you. get out. the compaSs lies. They don't control you. get out. the compass lIeS. they don't control yoU.get out. the comPass lies. they don't control you.”

It may be a group of people, like the Bishops, or a tool Bishops use to convince citizens of lies

Convocation:/ The annual formal assembly in which the citizens of Dema are gathered. Appears to be a religious ceremony involving a “service”

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Dema:/ The major city in which the people of this world find themselves trapped by the system under jurisdiction of the Bishops. Dimly lit, it is a tall dome built mainly from concrete, and barring the outside world with massive walls and locked gates. It has been suggested by some that it was originally built as a tower to house corpses until the birds fed on the remains of their flesh. This may have to do with the fact that it is sometimes referred to as a “tomb” in Clancy’s letters.
Side note: it seems to work like a factory

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Dema Council:/ according to our best hints, the police a level beneath the Bishops, who run their business throughout all of Dema. They are noted to “identify a failed perimeter escape” in Clancy’s classified documents

East Is Up:/ a mysterious phrase, but could signify that the breach in Dema, the way up and out to Trench, is located in the east side of the city

Keons:/ A bishop described by Clancy as “warm and kind.” Apparently Clancy knew him back in Dema; perhaps he was an overseer of Clancy’s specific district of the city. He is also described as “unwavering and forthright,” able to stay focused and sharp. And, as calm and more gentle in comparison to other “harsher” Bishops.

Light/Neon:/ although “light” generally refers to positive thing, Dema is lit up with nasty, white colored, artificial light from the chemical neon. It is a cold, pale light that feels haunting. It is used while the workers labor every night (and mostly all the time, since Dema is so dark)

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Nico (and the niners):/ Nico (playfully referred to as Nicolas Bourbaki) is the head Bishop and main leader of Dema. From what we know about him he is ruthless and unrelenting. The niners are the rest of the bishops who come under his power

Red:/ The Bishops' favorite color; it represents power, rage and strength to them. In general, it represents both anger and suffering. It is regularly used as a symbol of and a reference to Dema, as well as danger/warning and all that is negative in the world of Trench.

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This refers to a Bishop’s marking the neck of a rebellious citizen with prints of both his hands. It is considered a disgrace and normally results in a sort of stupor on the part of the victim. This encourages the victim to blindly submit to the power of the Bishop.

We do not know if the stupor is caused by some sort of toxin, or a magical power of the Bishop, or some type of cultural norm. however, we have been given a hint that smearing might involve some overwhelming truth, as it tends to “light up” its victims eyes. Apparently it costs some form of excruciating pain (whether emotional or physical or mental) and is meant to bring on repentance and/or weariness, leading the victim back to submission.

This is what Banditos fear the most and strive to avoid. It generally results in (temporary) failure through resubmission to Dema. It is a public symbol of failure and disgrace; a sign of disobedience.

It also seems to be a sort of memory wipe, as hinted in the song Leave The City: “it’s only time before they show me why no one ever comes back with details from beyond”

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Trench:/ The canyon beyond the outskirts of Dema; a largely unmonitored wilderness where few citizens dare to venture for fear of the risk of punishment. It’s very tall and long and deep, and covered in ancient green lichens. However, it appears that Banditios are able to scale its ridges and end up on the top of it, looking down. This is where they like to camp out.

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The Watchers:/ Those who guard the gates of Dema to make sure that nobody tries to escape its walls

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Vialism:/ The government-mandated religion of Dema, enforced by the Bishops. Not only is it a religion but it is also a philosophy, an ideology. It seems to involve worship of the dead white lights, the only thing that light the dark city.

Vultures:/ In the world of Trench, vultures appear to be a symbol.
However, it is possible that Bishops send a main Vulture to spy on the Banditos who have escaped Dema

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Yellow:/ a color that blinds Bishops. It is used as a secret signal between Banditos and a symbol of hope

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Thank you guys so much for reading! If you liked this article, stay tuned for some of my story snippets in honor of the album, as well - coming soon. We are Twenty One Pilots. <3