Track By Tracks: Ernia - Ernia (2018)

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01 & 02. Dionea Muscipula/The Limits of Purity:

Working title “Cattle D”. From what I recall, the main riff in Limits was something Daniel E. came to a rehearsal with, but slower and with a different feel to it. I thought it would be cool to play it faster because it felt more driving, and off of that we wrote the part right after it. Then Gabi came up with the melodic chord section at the tail-end of that (which we slowed down to serve as the intro track) and the more “blackened” part with the guitar melody and we tied it all together with the slow, almost sludge part that Daniel E. thought up. I think that it’s a nice pace-setter for the album as a whole.  

Lyrically it’s about a recurring nightmare that Omar used to have, about a giant, man-eating Venus Flytrap.     

03. Forest Pt. 1 (Blind Willow/Sleeping Woman): 

Working title “Cortes” (The one with the stops). I came up with the initial stop-start riff that morphs into the part with the thrash feel; I was aiming for a simple, catchy, punky thrash riff with diminished chords. Daniel E. came to a rehearsal with the clean sliding guitar part, which he then built up to lead to the higher-up-in-the-fretboard diminished chord changes. If I’m not mistaken, he also penned both following parts, the last two almost pedal note riffs with the big ringy chords. The final extended drum break over droning guitars was entirely Gabi’s doing, one of the two sections on the album you might call a drum solo.  

Omar wrote the lyrics based on the Haruki Murakami story “Blind Willow/Sleeping Woman”, imagining the details of a poem discussed briefly in the narrative.     

04. Sabbath for the Zionist:

Working title “Disney”. This one I remember distinctly as one of the very first songs we wrote for the album, based on an idea Artyom had kicking around which became the intro riff. After that comes the section that’s the combination of the straight-chords riff Daniel E. came up with and a riff I wrote to go with them, that I forever referred to as “the chicken dance riff”; this part is followed by a straight up classic hardcore punk bit (spiked with harmonized tremolo picking at the end) which I’m pretty sure Gabi wrote. Then the pre-breakdown tremolo part and the breakdown (which is basically a chord-centered variation of the tremolo bit in the punk section) which I think me and Daniel E. both kind of figured out together, and finally it circles back to the chicken dance part and the intro riff. Time is a flat chicken.  

The lyrics were written about the Israel/Palestine conflict from the viewpoint of a religious extremist, someone closeminded and lacking accurate information.     

05. Free of Avidya:  

Working title “Tucutú”. All but one riff in this song was conceived by Gabi. First the intro riff and rhythmic idea, then the fast skank beat riff with open minor chords that comes after it, and after that the tempo switch to the riff he originally called “dirty clown”; the Arabic-sounding phrase over blasts. The groove riff right after was the one riff someone not-Gabi (Daniel E.) contributed to add even more interesting quasi-melodic and almost-dissonant sounds to the mix. And since the fast part wasn’t fast enough, Gabi wanted to go back to it but even faster. And after building all of that up, a nice plodding breakdown followed immediately by blasting at the very end.  

The lyrics deal with Omar’s experiences with forced religious conversion at a young age, which are unfortunately quite common.     

06. Lunatic Lovers:

Working title “Última” (The last one). I wrote the intro riff when I was in the mood for a direct, no-frills drop tuning hardcore-ish riff with almost a swing beat to it, and it was Gabi’s idea to play it with a d-beat the second time through which gives it a really fun, forward moving feel. Other than that I had what I guess you could call the chorus riff, which is a variation on that succession of drop fifths, and Artyom came up with the “verse” part with the blast beats before it to complement it. Daniel E. brought the let’s call it “breakdown fight riff” and the final slow repetitive riff with the arpeggio at the end. And again, a lot of the final details are usually cemented when we’re playing the songs in a room together.  

The lyrics are extracted from the manga “Lunatic Lovers” by Suehiro Maruo, which deals with a story involving abstract hallucinations and visions of the dead.     

07. Forest Pt. 2 (The Seventh Man):

Working title “Corta” (The short one). This was a case of having three fast riffs that worked well together and then just not really knowing where to go from there. We decided not to ruin something that sounded good as it was and just kept it as a 25 second song (usually  even shorter when we play it live!!). Daniel E. wrote the intro riff, I added the single-note bendy riff the goes over blasts and then Daniel E. added the straight fifths-over-cymbals riff after that. The intro riff is a good example of Gabi coming up with fast, fill-heavy drum parts that mirror and mimic the guitar riff being played, which I think is something he’s very good at.  

Lyrically it’s connected to Track 3 on the album and based on a different Murakami short story; “The Seventh Man”, about a man dealing with his demons after a natural disaster.     

08. Random Discordant Actions:

Gabi wrote this one as another drum solo/interlude, basically because he felt like it, and we found a cool way to segue it into “Heroes”.    

09. Heroes of Withdrawal:

Working title “Converge”. It’s the longest track on the album, so it covers a lot of different ground. It starts with the song’s main motif (written by Artyom), which builds up through a series of starts and stops to the ascending/descending, hammer-on/pull-off riff Daniel E. wrote. From there it switches to the long chord drum/bass punk part (strongly inspired by “Almas por el Infierno” by Noisear!) and into the descending chord bit Daniel E. also came up with. Then it goes back to the stops and the hammer-on/pull-off section, from where it slows down and pivots to two heavier riffs (also Daniel E.’s); a palm muted fifth-chord pattern and a blackened chord progression with more emphasis on tensions. From there the song goes into a few drum breaks, back to the intro riff, and scene.  

Daniel E. wrote the lyrics about the Spanish Transition to Democracy, based on the Javier Cercas book “The Anatomy of a Moment”.     

10. Time to Find the Broken Days (Stand By):

Working title ”Art Hueveau”. I forget who wrote the intro riff to this track (I think it was most probably Artyom), but it always reminds me of Napalm Death’s “Next of Kin to Chaos” (in a very good way!). It’s a tremolo pattern that goes into an odd-metered off-kilter chord section and back again. Then there’s a break followed by a Gabi-penned melodic alternate picked line and a Daniel E. ninth-infused chord variation of the intro tremolo riff. Then it leads into a drum break over big fourth chords and ends with a reprise of the off-kilter part. The structures work for us!  

The lyrics are inspired by poet John Keats, as well as by the Alan Martin comic “Tank Girl”.     

11. The Flowers on Our Backs:

Working title “Cinco” (Five). I wanted to bring in a song in a non-traditional time signature to try to annoy everyone else in the band, and it worked at first but they ended up liking it. It’s a pattern in 5/4 that alternates fifths, open strings and dissonant slides. I followed that with a diminished slide-y down-beat accented riff that we decided to cut off to let a bass line Artyom penned shine through on its own. Daniel E. adapted it to guitar adding some dissonance, and then I decided to add a part in 7/4 to annoy everyone even more, and it ended up sounding like a jazz-ish break where Daniel E. does a solo. To tie everything together I re-purposed the intro riff but in 4/4 instead of 5/4 (I like doing this type of reference a lot when I write) and I think it was Gabi’s idea to do the “elevator music” break right before the end.  

In the lyrics, Omar uses floral imagery to talk about feelings of pain and guilt that weigh down on your back.     

12. Burn the Tail of a Dead Rat:  

Working title “Mazacote” (I really don’t know how to translate this one. Something like “sticky mass” maybe). One of the shorter songs on the record (and I think the last one to be written), it’s based around a galloping pattern that Gabi had in his head that Daniel E. added a dissonant figure to. Then go the space-y drums and open arpeggio section, also entirely a Gabi product, and the “Slam Morbid Angel” part that Daniel E. conjured to go with it, which after a drum fill goes back to the initial riff. Simple structure, but a very fun song to play live.  Omar wrote the lyrics about his experience as a young kid living through the tribulations of paternal divorce. 

A lot of the lyrics are about pretty serious and personal topics, and I guess they do contrast with the enjoyment we get from performing the songs live. It’s all cathartic in its own way.     

13. The Confirmation of the Absurd:  

Working title “Sludge”. Daniel E. came in with the intro riff and the idea to start a song off slower than usual, and then Artyom helped build and vary it until the end of the intro section. I came up with the following two sections: the sped-up version of the slow riff and then the “diminished blast-waltz” part. Daniel E. wrote the 4/4-3/4 groove riff over which I solo, and to round things off I added the final riff, which is a bit of an open drop chord mish-mosh of the main chords in some of the previous riffs, but faster (and muddier!). Gabi had the idea of stopping the song short and then doing a fast stick-count and finishing suddenly a second time, which I think is a cool way to close the album.   

Daniel E. wrote the lyrics inspired by Miguel de Unamuno and Julio Cortázar, Spanish philosopher and writer respectively, about feelings of existential angst revolving around life in a small city.

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