Path To Perdition started life as Ultradoom, another one of those super-creative working titles (not). It was the track we struggled the most with in terms of arrangement; I think I sent 6 or 7 different iterations of it to Anders and Conny before we settled on the final version. In the back of my mind I always had the idea that this should be the track to close out the album and therefore I wanted a big dramatic ending.I initially got the idea for the church organ from Hans Zimmer and his brilliant soundtrack to one of my favourite movies of all time, Interstellar. It just happened to tie in nicely with the overall “church theme” of the lyrics and album cover.
Always a sucker for conceptual continuity (thank you Frank Zappa!) I often try to re-use and build on ideas that I’ve previously employed, and place them somewhere else on the album and see if anyone notices. In this case I used the same three notes for the outro organ part as I’d used for the outro on Age Of The Damned. Another example is the bridge and the chords underneath the guitar solos in the intro. They’re exactly the same. Some might call it lazy writing, I call it “maximizing the potential and employment of good ideas”!
In closing I’d just like to say that personally I’ve never been one to thrive under pressure. I like to take my time with things; they are finished when they are finished. Especially when it comes to music. So for us to give ourselves just a year to write and record an album like this is, from my perspective, a bit of a gamble and quite ballsy. It could have turned out really lame. You’re never sure if you have any good songs left in you but I’m happy to say that I think we did, and that we managed to follow up The Crowning Of The Fire King, which I love, with something equally powerful and consistent. I’m incredibly proud of everybody involved; Jeroen, Ronnie, Dusan, Jani, everybody at MB and of course my awesome bandmates, and I know we gave it the absolute best we had. You can’t beat that feeling.
Writing Condemned started with the vers. My idea was to have the vocals in the space between the guitar chords, but Anders and Conny thought the vocals should follow the guitar, which turned out great. They also came up with the bells and choir in the beginning.
The chorus changes key in a nice way I think. I personally like when there is some unexpected chord changes in a song, but I know Anders sometimes find it hard to come up with good melodies that goes with the chords. I think he succeeds most of the time though:)
Age Of The Damned was my first, real, total contribution to the band. Working title for this one was fairly generic. I called it “Saturday Doom”.
I wrote it on a Saturday. I began noodling on the verse riff whilest in Würzburg, after Hammer of Doom. I remember the trip from Oberhausen to Würzburg was quite long. I had been listening to a bunch of Pantera and White Zombie. The verse riff popped into my mind because I really wanted a heavy, chuggy riff where the bass cuts through, like on so many of those hard rock and metal albums from the early 90s.
Kristian reworked it and added some great background guitars. He also reworked the chorus, lets face it, Kristian can write a killer chorus. There are lots of influences in this tune. Pantera, Whitezombie as well as Black Sabbath. It was just my way of tipping my hat to bands I love and doing my own thing with their influence. The lyrics, of course, I wanted to be as brutal as possible. So, this track is based on the torture and despair of the Witch trials.
All the things people convicted of Witchcraft went through.Finally, Anders’ vocal performance on this track is amazing. He knocks it out of the park and everytime I hear the final note, it sends a surge of chills up my spine. Brilliant.
The main riff and idea for Where Spirits Die initially came from Johnny and when he sent it to me the working title was Tung Acke (Heavy Acoustic). I think I only added the chorus to it and maybe one other part.
The arrangement is unusual for us in that it ends with a guitar solo. I don’t think we’ve done that before, usually we end with a chorus or the main riff. This is probably the slowest song we’ve ever written and it’s the quintessential “doom ballad” if you will.
It’s certainly got melancholy in spades. It is my favourite track on the album, mainly because of the godlike vocal performance Anders pulls off here. He’s simply the best singer in doom metal right now, bar none. He’s the complete package.
Coupled with the awesome lyrics that Justin wrote and Ricky’s restrained, ultra-heavy drum work this song just slays. For the outro Peter came up with this beautiful harmonized guitar melody and it closes the song perfectly.
I remember Justin playing the main riff for me and Peter while we were on tour in The Netherlands, in Eindhoven to be exact. We were in our hotel room relaxing before the show and he had a recording of it on his phone. As soon as we heard the riff we knew it had to be on the new album.
He didn’t have any more parts for the song if I remember correctly so I took it upon myself to flesh it out and add the rest of the parts. His riff was so good it really inspired me so the song came together very quickly. You get lucky like that sometimes.
The heavy middle part before the solos took the most work to get right, especially in mixing. There are so many parts in there: besides guitars, bass and drums there are lead vocals, choirs, synths and a whole slew of FX guitars in there. We wanted it to be this chaotic, heavy, churning part that led into the solos, and when they come it’s like a revelation.
Another funny thing about this song is the verse. Every time the verse comes in the guitars start on the upbeat. I just felt it was a nice little twist, no biggie but it drove Anders up the wall for a bit there. I dunno if he´s gotten used to it, I hope so…
This is one of the first songs Kristian had submitted to be on the third album. A slow, melodic, doom song. The working title was “Doom 13” nothing glorious but hey… it was a working title.
The song really spoke for itself and really took on a life of its own. Lamenting Of The Innocent was the final song Justin and Anders wrote lyrics for. It is actually the more “deeper” song of the ones Justin had helped pen.
It is a culmination of the sorrow and despair from that time period, also some personal references and experiences as well. Anders sings this song beautifully and all in all, instrumentally, We felt it was one the strongest of the lot. This song in particular catches and showcase the band’s natural progression and development. Mixing various styles, while still keeping things epic and doomy. A real fun song.