Track By Tracks: Osmium Guillotine - A Million To One (2018)

1. A Million To One:

The concept for this track was primarily inspired by The War of the Worlds by HG Wells. In particular it was after going to see Jeff Wayne's musical version live that gave me the idea of trying to condense the main elements of the story into one heavy metal song. I'd been wanting to write a longer, more 'epic' song for a while and this seemed like the perfect material to do that with. The final recording of the song clocks in at nearly 11 minutes, making it our longest song to date. It's a fun one to play live as it has several changes in style and tempo, with each part of the song reflecting what's happening in the story. It has a slow doomy intro, speeding up when the aliens begin their invasion, before going a bit mad and then a more sombre mid-section after the Earth has been left in ruin (Including a spoken word part by yours truly!). I was very happy with how the song ended up.

2. He Played Rock 'n' Roll:

This track is quite simply a homage to the legendary Lemmy Kilminster of Motörhead. For years they've been one of my favourite bands and a primary inspiration to me both in terms of the band's music and their overall attitude. I was genuinely gutted when I heard Lemmy had died as it always seemed like he'd be around forever, I wrote the lyrics to this track within a week or so after he'd died, brought them along to rehearsal and the band collectively wrote and smashed out the music in the space of a couple of hours and the song has basically remained unchanged ever since, which I think is very much in keeping with the spirit of Lemmy!

3. Through The Black Mirror:

This song is all about how today's society is obsessed with social media and the internet. We spend all day looking at a screen, a mobile phone, a computer, a tablet, a TV. People go to big concerts and spend half their time watching it through the viewfinder of their phone. Spending hours arguing about stuff that doesn't matter, being offended by people you'll never meet, believing news that was made up by a stranger on photoshop. It's all gone a bit mad, so I wrote a song about it! Musically it has a very NWOBHM-style sound and a really catchy chorus. Definitely one of our favourites to play live. 

4. Slay The Guillotar:

This song and the title, are a direct reference to the game 'Brutal Legend' (Which features Jack Black, Lemmy, Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Halford, etc). The game is set in a heavy metal world and there's a creature called a Guillotar which has guillotines for legs. I loved the concept and the whole art style of that game, so I wrote a song based around it.

5. Paradox:

This one is a little different, as unlike most of our songs, a lot of the music was written for this before the lyrics, rather than the other way around. I believe Lance came up with the main riff for the song and we started jamming something out between us, I grabbed a pen and paper and wrote out some lyrics about time travel to go with it and that's how it came together, it's about going back in time to alter the future. It's quite a thrashy one and another that's good fun to play live. 

6. Metal Man:

This track is quite a departure from our usual style. It all came about as I'd been jamming with my friend Aaliyah Wood, her playing acoustic and myself on the bongos. I brought the bongos along to rehearsal and suggested to the band the idea of writing something with a more mellow, spacey sound with cleaner guitars and everyone was up for it. The only issue I found was my style of lyrics didn't really suit that type of song, so I turned to my friend Aaliyah and asked if she'd be interested in collaborating....

Aaliyah Wood: "James contacted me during the writing process for their new album with an idea for a track that he was struggling with a little lyrically. He was influenced by Black Sabbaths "planet caravan" and wanted lyrics to create an ethereal world to the listener. I listened to planet caravan and began writing down ideas as I was, using the concept of Gil O'Tine becoming a sort space age character aka "the metal man". I dug out old lyrics for a character I had created who was also space themed but sadly never used, and extracted certain things such as "Cosmic champagne" from it so the two tie together, so perhaps in the future, you'll hear my characters side of the story.

I am always influenced heavily by anything cosmos related, spell casting and other worldly. The peace and love moment of the 60s and glam rock of the 70s echo in the lyrics too.

Overall, I wanted to create a story that fitted well with osmiums theme, but stood out enough to the listener to take notice and be enticed into this patchouli scented, star gazing world where the limit of the imagination is an array of endless possibilities.

It was a real pleasure to write for osmium, and I hope we collaborate again in the future. The band are some of my dearest friends, so it's always moves me to hear them perform this song. I'm very proud to have my name attached to this track."

7. The Demon Within:

I won't go into too much detail with this one, but it's probably the most personal song I've ever written! Let's just say it's loosely about being in a relationship with someone and feeling like everything's great, and then that person suddenly turns on you, starts acting mental and basically treats you like crap. Hence unleashing the 'demon within'! After writing the lyrics I thought they sounded like they'd suit an old blues rock song, so the song does have a hint of a heavy bluesy sound to it.

8. Only Famous (When You're Dead):

There seems to be a trend, particularly in recent years, where we as a society are obsessed with the dead. When a musician dies for example, their album sales go up, petitions are started to get them to number one, people start to discover and appreciate them more and as a result they start appearing much higher on those 'Best guitarist (or whatever) of all time' lists, their band's T-shirts start being worn by people who've never heard their music. All of which isn't necessarily a bad thing, and I'm sure we're all guilty of some of it, but I couldn't help but notice this as a reoccurring thing and can't help but wonder if we should spend more time appreciating and taking the time to find out more by those who are still alive! It's quite a tongue in cheek song really, but the sentiment stands! 

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