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Track By Tracks: PYTHIA - The Solace Of Ancient Earth (2019)


1. An Earthen: 

Lament Ross (Guitarist): Music wise, this song built from an intro piece that our keyboardist Marcus wrote for our live shows. It was a fairly short intro for us to come onstage too, which we had used a few times over the past couple of years. I really liked the melody on it and wanted to try and turn it into a full song, so that’s what I did. His piece became the intro and chorus for the song, and I came up with a verse, pre-chorus, and midsection riffs, etc. I still wasn’t entirely sure if it was going to all work until our drummer Marc wrote and demoed the drum parts. That’s when it really came together as a song. Sophie’s lyrical theme for it was really interesting and the album artwork and title all came from that. It’s one of my favorite tracks we have ever done. 

Sophie (Singer): This is one of the more narrative songs on the album - the lyrics are loosely based on an Old English poem called “The Wife’s Lament” although I took some liberties and made it into a slightly more dramatic/fantastical story. It’s basically about a political marriage gone wrong that results in the woman at the center of the story being buried alive! 

2. Spirits Of The Trees:

Ross: I had wanted to write a mid-paced chuggy type track like this for ages but the necessary inspiration had never quite struck until now. Musically it came together very quickly and smoothly. We knew right away that this would probably be the first track we put out and made a video for. It’s quite an instant and ‘easy to get into’ track and we all dig those chuggy metal riffs.

Sophie: Lyrically this was based on the idea of finding peace within nature, and longing for that peace at times when you don’t have it. If I had to pick a song that generally summed up the lyrical themes of the album it would be this one – it’s about the beauty of the world and overcoming adversity. 

3. Ancient Soul:

Ross: A pretty straightforward power metal type song, musically. The main/verse riff is something I accidentally came up with while tuning my guitar in rehearsal a while back and is a really fun riff to play. It’s pretty metal throughout and has good energy. We played this life a few times while still writing the album and it always went down well with the crowd. 

Sophie: I based the lyrics for this one off a poem that I wrote years ago but that I still found resonated with me. The general theme of the song is about how the people who care about you help you through dark times and act as the light at the end of the tunnel. 

4. Black Wings:

Ross: This was the first song we completed while writing the album. That sort of heavy ‘marching’ groove is something that we have used in parts on other songs in the past but this is us really utilizing it throughout a song. The drums were quite a driving force on this track as well and the keyboards and lyrics give it quite a dark, eerie atmosphere. 

Sophie: This song is based on a scene from “Deadhouse Gates” by Steven Erikson, in which a character is condemned to a rather slow and painful death until someone ultimately puts him out of his misery. In the meantime, his soul is transferred into a flock of crows who then carry it away so that he can be resurrected in the future. I’ve always liked any imagery to do with birds so I found that this part of the book got me inspired. 

5. Your Dark Reign:

Ross: These ¾ meter ‘sea shanty’ type tracks always seem to come out cool for us. The idea with this one was to ramp up the heaviness a touch and make it a pretty full on a metal track, compared to our past tracks in this vein. I think we definitely achieved that. This is the song on the album that came out even better than I expected. One of my favorites.

Sophie: This is the album’s resident angry song! It has themes of rising up against those who have done you wrong and finding solace in those who support you. This turned out to be one of my favorites as well. 

6. Dawn Will Come: 

Ross: Another ‘Sea Shanty’ track, but quite different from Your Dark Reign. The plan with this one was to utilize dynamics and melody. Acoustic guitars, tribal drumming, flutes, pipes, etc make it quite a unique track for Pythia and probably the closest we have come to a ballad ;-) The initial demo was quite basic and sparse but once Marcus added the keyboards and Jamie added the lead guitar parts it really blossomed into this cool, atmospheric, mini-epic. Sophie’s lyric theme really adds to the imagery and atmosphere as well. 

Sophie: This is another narrative one that’s based on the biblical Book of Judith, although it’s more closely aligned with the Old English poem based on it. Judith, hoping to save her people, infiltrates the camp of the people who are attacking them, gets the general drunk and pretends to seduce him and then murders him. There are numerous depictions of this in art and literature and I wanted to put my own spin on it! 

7. Hold Of Winter:

Ross: Hold onto your hats! This is the most full-on, extreme track that Pythia has written. We have always been a bit more ‘metal’ than most other bands in the genre (probably to our detriment and this track confirms that notion. Both myself and Marc (drummer) come from a more extreme metal background and I had made a death/grind album recently with a side project of mine, plus with Sophie joining the band (she is a fan of black metal) I felt it was time to unleash a bit of that extreme metal world into the Pythia landscape. Really happy with how this turned out. 

Sophie: I was very excited when Ross sent me this song! This is definitely the bleakest, darkest song on the album lyrically and it’s generally about attempting to fight off inner demons – the listener can substitute whatever they want for what these are. 

8. Ghost In The Woods:

Ross: This track, musically, was actually influenced by us playing some shows with The Birthday Massacre at the end of 2017. Really cool band and I felt that it would be cool to do a song that had that sort of pounding, almost industrial, groove and quiet/loud dynamics that they use a lot, mixed in with our own heavy metal influences of course. I think this song came out really great and I think our fans will like it a lot. Very atmospheric. 

Sophie: This song is about someone from your past – who wasn’t what you thought them to be – returning and how you deal with that. I deliberately left the narrator of the song’s decision ambiguous as I don’t think there’s necessarily a right or wrong answer to the dilemma

9. Crumble To Dust:

Ross: This was the very first track, musically, that I wrote for the album and (as tends to be the way) it was a bit of an explosion of creativity. There is a lot going on musically and dynamically plus the lyrics are really dark. It’s a pretty full-on roller-coaster of a song. 

Sophie: I was playing with apocalyptic ideas for these lyrics, but it also has some more positive themes of holding all that’s dear to you close no matter what awful things might be going on in the outside world. It’s quite a bittersweet song. 

10. Soul To The Sea:

Ross: One of the last tracks we wrote for the album. When an album is nearing completion (writing wise) I like to sit back, listen to what we have so far and see what it feels like the album is yearning for, in terms of completing the journey. In this instance, I felt the album required an epic, heavy, juggernaut track to end it, so that’s what this song is. The initial basic demo sounded cool but then as everyone wrote and added their parts it really grew into this behemoth of a song. Our drummer Marc feels this is the best song we have ever written. I can’t really judge that myself, not yet anyway, but I am certainly proud of this track and it really feels a fitting climax to the album. 

Sophie: This song definitely lent itself to the dramatic, so I ended up coming up with a story about the final thoughts of someone who is sacrificing themselves to the ocean so that their lover, who is on some sort of voyage, will be safe on their journey. It has a “love conquers death” sort of theme to it.

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