When I began to write this album, almost four years ago, I pretty soon knew that this track was going to be the album opener. I think it was the 2nd or 3rd song that was finished for the album. You kind of know intuitively if you have an album opener in your hands, and with this particular song it was so obvious. The rather understated way the song begins builds nice tension with the main riff where the whole band kicks in. Lyrically, I knew quite early on too, that I wanted the lyrics to represent this "back in business" kind of mindset, as this album was going to mark our return to action after four years hiatus. Hence, the vocals begins with the line "Now, we have returned...". Not very original, I know, but it gets more interesting when you realize that the song is not about the band but about unconscious forces waking up after you thought they were gone for good, but they weren't!
2. Flat Circle:
The title is taken from the TV series "True Detective", in which the character Rustin gives this little theory of relativity lesson and equates time to a 'flat circle', in which our consciousness goes in eternal circles and is destined to repeat itself perpetually. I like that metaphor, even though it was a bit depressing, and used it as a title for the song lyrics that deal with the inability or unwillingness of people in general to accept changes in their lives - me myself included. If we can't embrace the change and accept the fact the everything is temporary, like Buddhists say, then we're doomed to repeat our mistakes on this 'flat circle'.
Well, it's the title track of the album. Lyrically, it sums up the theme of the album - obviously. As our last album, "3 Eyes of Time", dealt with sort of spiritual awakening in the sense of self-discovery, "Denial/Survival" takes the process of self-discovery further. While on the path of understanding who you are and what kind of life you have lived, there's a strong possibility that you might come across things that you're not very proud of, for example. In those situations, it's either to deny those parts of your self or to accept them, work with them and survive as a complete person.
4. Der Sadist:
I like albums to have little breathing moments to phase the album to different sections. While working on Denial/Survival, it became apparent rather soon, that the first three tracks formed thematically cohesive unit. Der Sadist is a nice piece of instrumental ambient music to prepare the listener for the next part of the album.
This is probably my favorite track of the album, both musically and lyrics-wise. Some parts of this song came together very easily, but other parts took quite a lot of effort to get right. It starts pretty straight forward, as grooving metal piece, but in the chorus it turns into this surging epic. And there's some progressive parts too. So it's anything but simple verse-chorus-verse-chorus song. Lyrics, on the other hand, were written very effortlessly. I got the basic idea while I was having my morning walk with my dogs in the nearby woods. The dogs found a scent of some forest animal and start to follow its tracks. I kind of put myself in the dogs' head in that situation and wrote lyrics once I got back home.
6. True Anarchist:
This track carries on the main theme of Denial/Survival. Sometimes, the most significant change that needs to be made is the change of perspective in how you view the world and view yourself. It's so easy to fall into established patterns of thought and make the opinions of others' your own.
7. Mindlessness Meditation:
This one is not a typical Antipope song at all. Well, it has some elements to it that are familiar from few of our older songs. Maybe most notably it has some similarities with "Waratah" from the album House of Harlot, but even then it's very dissimilar to anything we have done before. "Mindlessness Meditation" also serves as an introduction to the next phase of the album, as you find very different musical styles mixed in this song. It starts with this heavy, out-of-sync, counter-intuitive riff, which then dissolves to kind of gothic-melodic, downtuned vocal part. I don't have a clear recollection about what was the original idea for this song, but kind of got built pretty independently around the tensions between different parts.
8. An Unconditional Ritual to Summon the Prince of Darkness:
Well, this one is the "Ritual" of Denial/Survival. If you are familiar with our discography, there's "a ritual" song on each of our albums, and that song has a sort of special significance, maybe because it's little bit different musically, thematically, lyrically, and so on from the rest of the album. That said, this one is a 1970s Hammer Horror piece built around rather simple idea of a satanic sect gathering in the woods to summon their master in a fevered stated of mind.
9. Tragic Vision:
Following the dark underworld piece of the Ritual, Tragic Vision opens a whole new direction for the end of the album. It has this strong, 80s heavy metal wibe to it, very optimistic on the surface, even though lyrics deal with something more sinister.
When I wrote this song, I knew instantly that this one is going to be the final song of the album. The "flamenco" part in the beginning of the song is based on an idea that I was developing some time in 2001-2002 with a very different project. As I wanted this album to be an ultimate Antipope album so that there would be exactly as different songs and elements and moods as I wanted with no regards to whether listener could follow all those changes on the first try, I felt that it was time to do something little bit different and introduce even more unconventional themes to Antipope's music. So this track has pretty much everything combined. The outro part of the song was actually a last minute addition while I was mixing the album in September 2017. I felt like there was something missing at the end of the album, as I prefer albums that guide you back home from the trip that you have been on. So I wrote this little solo section there. I wanted it to have different sonic feeling from the rest of the, so I took my oldest electric guitar, an Ibanex RG505 with DiMarzio Evolution pickups. I hadn't touched that guitar in years and instantly those passive pickups with the basswood/maple construct gave me this subtle melody which I then recorded to be the guide back to the outside world.