Track By Tracks: Black Sites - Untrue (2021)

1. Sword Of Orion: 

It might not be apparent, but this track was strongly influenced by Van Halen. I had been revisiting their music a lot over the last few years, and even more so since Eddie died. Our drummer Garry Naples does some very tasty stuff in this song, particularly towards the end.

The title and lyrics are a reference to an old comic book called Grendel, in which an emperor had gotten all the nations of the world to agree to world peace, except Japan. His solution? He developed a weapon (called “Orion’s Sword”) that would sink the entire continent of Japan. It’s an interesting moral predicament, to take lives in order to save countless more lives. I think about this a lot when I look at current events.

2. Call It By Its Name:

This song is about, for lack of a better term, euphemistic bullshit. Phrases like “family values,” or “back the blue,” or “job creators.” Anyone even slightly capable of critical thought can see through these terms and the people using them.

Anyways, this track began as two or three separate songs that I was having trouble finishing, so I just smashed them into one bigger song. This song has a ridiculously great solo from our guitarist Ryan Bruchert, as well as his first appearance on backing vocals. For better or worse, the acoustic outro is the only part of the album where any band members actually recorded together.

3. Lost Tribes:

Very few of the friends I grew up with are in my life today. Many of them got involved in some very bad shit, and several of them died. Most of them simply turned into the same horrible people their parents were. My current goal is simply to avoid all of those outcomes for myself. This was, I think, the first song we wrote for this record. Musically, it’s pretty straightforward, although there is a little easter egg in the bassline that no one has noticed yet.

4. Echo Of A Lie:

This one’s our “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It’s really long, and there’s a million different parts that are all hard to play. Not to mention the choral section in the middle. And Ryan’s solo is a whole composition in itself. This one took a while to put together, but it was worth the effort in the end.

5. The Worst Of Us:

This album’s prerequisite Voivod homage, although I think some of that influence has seeped into everything we do by now. Without getting too detailed, the song’s general point is that some people need to take a long look at themselves before judging others, or calling them out publicly. I played the solo at the very end, and it’s easily the best one I’ve ever done.

6. Nocturne/Everything Went Black:

Even more, Voivod, mixed with a large helping of Dio-era Black Sabbath. The world has been a pretty bleak place in the last few years, and I’ve seen an increasing number of people simply decide not to be here anymore. I can’t say I blame them, but it’s terrible to see, especially when it’s people close to you.

7. They Eat Their Young:

A little bit of Judas Priest’s “Dissident Aggressor,” a little bit of Pink Floyd’s “Sheep.” The samples at the end are from a movie called “Society,” which I highly recommend. I guess some of the lyrics could be considered “political,” and some metal fans may not like that, but tough shit. Reality is far grimmer than any Manowar lyric could ever hope to be.

8. White Ashes:

This track originated during the “Exile” era and went through a LOT of different arrangements before we had the final version. It didn’t seem to work if it was too long or complex, so I chopped it down to the essentials. The lyrics here are probably one of the better ones we’ve done. It’s a pretty dark ending to the album, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

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