Track By Tracks: North Of South - The Dogma & The Outsider (2019)

1. Ember Remains:

It has been fantastic to work with Orphaned Land's Kobi Farhi. I've been a true fan since the early days of his band in the mid 90's, so having him singing in a North of South's tune is a personal and artistic milestone.

His oriental style of singing absolutely fits with North of South's Latin, Hispanic and Flamenco influences and cultural heritage, so it's a very natural mix. 

Lyrically, it's the story of a loss, but with a kind of positive approach. I dedicate this song to a loved one, to someone very special for me. But lyrics are not focused on crying for that absence, but just the opposite: it's focused on celebrating the fortunate good times that we spent together.

Musically, in some ways, "Ember Remains" represents in "The Dogma and The Outsider" what "The Human Equation" meant in the debut album, "New Latitudes". It's a kind of summary of North of South's music: metal, latin influences, Prog, Flamenco, clean vocals, growling, heaviness, melody, lots of dynamics and changes...

Although the most part of the tune is sung in English by Kobi, the final part contains some Spanish verses (by me), which is another distinguishing mark of this music project.

2. Spanish Momento: 

This is my personal way to go deep into the Spanish Flamenco heritage and to mix it with Metal.

I'm a northern guy, but my blood is half Andalusian, because it's where my father comes from.

I like instrumental tracks a lot and here it is another proof. It was very funny to record the Flamenco clapping part with Zoilo Unreal, the co-producer of the Ep. I love composing this kind of stuff.

3. We Refused to Hear Them (It's Our Song):

Although this tune also contains some additional influences, it's one of the most metal tracks ever written by North of South. Direct, heavy, fast, to the point., even the presence of the piano in some parts emphasizes some kind of Prog vibe.

I'm also very pleased with the guest appearance of Anna Murphy, from Cellar Darling. I've really loved her vocals since the very first time i listened to Eluveitie with their "Slania" album. She is brilliant in her parts.

The track is very varied: some heavy metal, a Killswitch Engage inspired fast riff, some growls and harsh screams, clean vocals in the vein of Emocore bands like Underoath mid-period, a final black metal riff,... Well... a lot of ups and downs.

The lyrics hold an ecological message. It's been curious because at the same time this track was released as a single (end of September) there were these massive protests of young people inspired by Greta Thunberg all around the planet. And I felt that this song would be a nice soundtrack for that movement. As the bridge before the chorus says: "They said that this battle was over/but we refused to hear them".

Definitely, it's a song of rebellion with a message about how changing things is possible, no matter how complex it could be.

4. Thicker than progress water:

It's a bit funny and odd... Because North of South is not very much into political stuff. I am socially commited. But North of South is more focused on Literature, Philosophy, etc. But the previous track had a very political message. And "Thicker than Progress Water", too.

When I wrote this song I was thinking of all this young people from my country who left Spain because of the economic crisis. They emigrated looking for a better future for them. So this song describes this terrible situation: "Economic weapons of mass destruction/a battlefield empty of blood/ but full of broken hopes".

Some of them failed and didn't found a better present. Others did, but, even for them, "blood is thicker than progress water". In other words, to lose our roots and be far from our loved people is one of the most painful things in life. 

Musically, the song starts with some ethnic percusion but soon it's channeled to a more Metal mood: heavy riffs, mix of clean vocals and growls, a little hardcore choruses,... Not very usual for North of South, the track finishes with a short 80's classic metal inspired arrangements and solo.

5. Against Oblivion:

This is the second track of the EP in which I combine English and Spanish languages. And musically it handles the same idea: some hard and heavy riffs with some Latin elements.

The lyrics deal with the concept of how we're connected with the memory of our people when they have passed away. And also how they can be still alive if we do not forget them.

6. On Unexpected Shores:

There are some distinctive characteristics in North of South's music and here it is another one. I love to end the listening of the album (in this case, an Ep) with a jazzy, ultramelodic and relaxed instrumental track. So this follows the same pattern as "New Latitudes", the first album.

We're at the end of our musical journey, which has transported us far from the starting point. That's the meaning of the dreamy and atmospheric "On Unexpected Shores".

7. Hyperballad:

I love covers and transforming one song into something different.

High-quality Pop is a main influence and inspiration for North of South, so this time I picked one of the best: the one and only Björk. I love her constantly innovate attitude, which is something in common with North of South.

Finally, this is a very energetic and intense reinterpretation of this excellent song. I took the liberty of including some guitar and synth solos that doesn't appear in the original track.

8. An Englishman in New York:

I'm a real The Police and Sting fan, so this was a very natural election. I was barely 8 years old when this song was released and I love it since then. I've tried to be respectful with the elegant and jazzy vibe of the original song.

This time Zuberoa Aznárez (Diabulus in Musica) assumes vocal duties and she does a brilliant work, full of nice harmonies.

As usual, I've taken some liberty in some parts, like the one in the middle, with a very very heavy riff played with a 7 strings guitar tuned in A. You'll also find a free reinterpretation of the clarinet solo and the later progress section towards the final part.

Absolutely, Sting rules 100%!

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