Track By Tracks: Twitch Of The Death Nerve - A Resting Place For The Wrathful (2020)


1. A Resting Place for the Wrathful:

The title track from the album was the first written after the band became active again. This was the first time we’d had a line-up with a permanent drummer and this track was intended as a gut punch to show that we were back on the scene. I was keen to write some new material as soon as we started rehearsing and as far as I remember I wrote this single-handed whilst we were learning the old material together, in contrast to the rest of the album which was much more collaborative. I was always expecting this to be an opening track and the focus was on delivering an all out Brutal Death Metal assault with minimal breathing space. Lyrically the track draws inspiration from Dante’s Inferno and describes the punishments of the wrathful in hell. The album as a whole is a contemptuous response to the frailties of mankind, and this track in particular is a reaction to the undertones of hostility and spite that seem to be growing in volume throughout modern society.

2. Ochlocratic Prostration:

The first three tracks on the album were written in order, and Ochlocratic Prostration marked the start of the three of us collaborating on the songwriting together. As our song structures are always fairly complex, we tend not to improvise too much in the rehearsal room, as more time is needed to construct things properly. However all of us bring parts to the table and I then tend to take them away and fit them together. Our aim for Twitch of the Death Nerve was always for the music to be rooted in Brutal Death Metal, in the vein of the early Unique Leader bands like Disgorge, Deeds of Flesh, Gorgasm, etc, but trying to include more interesting elements in each track outside of the normal BDM framework. Ochlocratic had some Old School Death Metal sections and a thrashy part that Mauro brought to one of the early rehearsals. The lyrics are inspired by the rise of populism in politics - “Both puppets and masters in a theatre of pride and artifice”. I try to make the themes apply to human nature in general rather than be rooted in a particular period or event, but this obviously has a couple of contemporary origins that loom large in the background.

3. Apotropaic Scarification:

We chose this to be the “single” to promote the album as it was one of our favourite tracks and represented a lot of the different musical elements we were trying to combine in the band. The song writing was also pretty much split exactly three ways for this track. Working with Mauro on drums has been really interesting as he brings lots of ideas for riffs as well as just drum patterns. We’ll sometimes get a voice message from him humming riffs that he’s thought of on the way to work that later become key sections of songs, as was the case here. The last part of this track is also probably one of my favourites to play live as it sounds crushing. The lyrics are a fictional story about someone suffering from extreme psychosis seeking help from a shamanic healer. This leads them down a path of self harm as they carve symbols into their own flesh to ward off imagined evil spirits, eventually resulting in death. It’s meant as an allegory, attacking pseudoscience and bogus alternative medicine.

4. This Sickening Frailty:

The album was originally planned to be a mcd but we wanted to try some improvised drum parts in the studio to potentially create additional tracks. Tom C and I had previously done this with our old band, Beef Conspiracy, and wanted to give it another go. We asked Mauro to improvise around 20 mins of drum parts, with some direction from us in the control room. The best parts were then stitched together with us writing new music to fit. The results were really interesting and This Sickening Frailty is one of a couple of tracks created with this approach. I really like this way of writing music as the constraints of using an existing drum track can actually stop you getting stuck in a rut and force you to write something away from your usual style. There are lots of cool old school parts in this track that I don’t think we would have come up with otherwise. After the track was recorded we then learnt it as a full band and have added it into our live set.

5. A Witness to Ruination:

The intro to this track serves as the midpoint to the album and allows a little breathing space for the listener. I wanted to create an ambient intro centred around a repeating pattern on the toms. We enlisted my brother who had just bought a weird instrument called a Yaybahar, which has a stringed upright neck, attached by springs to a pair of resonant drums. He recorded the amazing string parts and strangled discordant sounds that run through the intro. I also added in some waterphone recordings I made years ago and some clean guitar parts that were inspired by old Swedish Death Metal bands like Entombed and Hypocrisy. I was originally worried whether this would sound too far away from our normal style but this ended up being one of my favourite parts on the album. It took us a while to figure out how to recreate this live as a 3 piece, particularly as we don’t play to a click track. We eventually arranged the yaybahar parts into a backing track that didn’t need to sync up 100% to the live instruments and transferred the clean guitar over to bass. The sample in the intro was taken from one of the original Planet Of The Apes films, which I’ve used in several projects and was edited slightly to fit the theme of the lyrics, which detail the breakdown of society following a cataclysmic event like abrupt climate change.

6. The Locard Principle:

This track featured on our debut album and was the first track that we started rehearsing when Mauro joined the band. The original version was recorded by Lille Gruber of Defeated Sanity, and as a session drummer he had to record to a click track with all the tempo changes already programmed by us. Although he delivered a flawless performance, you can never recreate the feel of a band that has worked on songs and built up a chemistry together. We felt like this track had gained a lot of new energy along with some small changes, so we decided to make a new recording.

7. Immured in Dissociation:

This was another track that was created after the original recording session using the improvised drum parts. Again, it resulted in a different feel to the style we normally play and has some of the more melodic parts on the album (comparatively speaking!). The song is about someone willfully drifting into a solipsistic catatonic state to escape human interaction which sounds pretty blissful to me.

8. Promulgation of Infected Innards:

The final track on the album was a re-recording of one of our oldest songs from our 2005 demo. The original version had a drum machine and some idiosyncratic recording techniques, and sounds pretty terrible to me now. We used to cover this with our old band Infected Disarray, but we wanted to re-record it properly with the new Twitch line-up. The original lyrics for this were lost so I rewrote new lyrics along a similar theme, describing a fictional ebola type virus overwhelming humankind, inspired by the film Outbreak. By the time the album was released there was a bizarre synchronicity as it coincided with the outbreak of Covid 19.

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