Track By Tracks: Noisecult - Seraphic Wizard (2022)

1. Psycho Cerebral Manipulation:

When writing this song I had envisioned a big drum open to kick it into high gear right off the top. I had a good main riff but needed a way to punch it in. Patrick wrote the drum part to make it fairly chaotic. The middle breakdown is an inverted series of chords that I had really liked but for years couldn’t fit into a song...we wrote the entire song up to the middle and when I tried that old riff the whole part just fell together. And Patrick is the monster drummer he is , we just have to find spots for this dude to go off. His breakdown after the solo is one of my favorite things on ‘Seraphic Wizard”

Lyrically It was inspired by two things..our bass player Sean kay was showing me some old 1950’s subliminal messaging on YouTube...who knows if it is real or not but it made a cool story and also it fits in with one of my favorite Sci-Fi movies “They Live” it is more or less about mind-controlling a population.

2. Forever Nevermore:

I came up with the main riff and showed it to Sean and Patrick and it sort of just took shape. It isn’t an overly complicated song with tons of parts but it didn’t need to be. I always joke with the guys that the song will dictate to us how many parts it needs as we piece it together. I loved the main riff as it has a “circular” feel to it and for sure a heavy sabbath groove.

Lyrically it is a simple theme of what happens when you die. Many theories and beliefs but you will never really know what lies in the void until you pass over and enter it.

3. Seraphic Wizard: 

A “Seraph” is a celestial being who hovers over God’s throne and is a caretaker of sorts...I took that caretaker of the world idea and coupled it with one of my favorite movies “Excalibur” where Merlin the Wizard/magician is the guardian of the earth...and thought what if it is the wizard who is one with all and is the caretaker of the universe. It also has my favorite sing-along chorus on the entire album. Most of our songs aren’t sing along but in this, I found a way to create one...I credit the wizard for his divine intervention... Musically the main riff was born out of a jam. The second riff I came up with and we thought Patrick and some massive drums fills would be a good way to bridge the two halves of the song. The second half is a really driving riff and having Sean start it was the first option as his heavy groove and feel sets the tone for the entire chorus, solo, and end...

4. Season of the Dark Witch:

A weird mixture of riff styles makes up this song. I was trying to play some odd picking and stumbled upon the opening riff. Patrick picked up on it and the main two riffs just fell together. As I started the lyrics the cadence of the chorus dictated the way chords and the way we played the chorus. The middle section was meant to be another song but it seemed to fit so interestingly enough that we made it work. Since it is a dark theme in the King Diamond mode I thought I’d create a solo section that captured that Mercyful Fate solo vibe. Sherman and Denner are two of my favorite lead players and I was just trying to channel some of their approaches to solos. Not comparing myself to those two greats, but in my own small way, I think I hit upon what I wanted to hear and it is one of my favorite solos on the album.

Lyrically it is a simple theme centered around Halloween and the death of summer into fall and winter. Of course, told with a heavy metal doom and end of world Motif.

5. War Eternal:

By far the fastest and most brutal song on “Seraphic Wizard”. This song I have had almost done for what seems like a decade. However, up until Patrick joined us on drums nobody could really pull off what I heard in my head. The moment I showed him the opening riff and verse he had parts. After the first chorus, there was supposed to be a short guitar solo to connect the second verse. I thought it would be way more powerful to have a short drum solo as a turnaround and Patrick killed it. The part is perfect. The entire middle section Patrick and me re-wrote from my original idea. I wasn’t happy with the music but wanted to keep the lyrics. Took a couple days but he and I came up with something completely different and yet it still fits the original lyrics. I wanted to solos to be short and chaotic and we decided to make it seem like two separate solos. When we do it live we sometimes have a second guitar player and when we do we dual the solo.

Lyrically Mike and Me made it is about mankind and our ridiculous desire and craving for war and military power to the point that we will eventually just destroy ourselves. If you listen the riff isn’t that difficult but it is effective as the focal point is the tricky cadence of the lyrics/vocals and the Drums.

6. Feth Fiada:

A rare full-band instrumental. Sean has done some bass solo or bass and drums solo work as a short track on previous albums but this is a first-time full band. Started as a jam and over a week or so we molded it into something we felt was unique. Just didn’t feel the need for vocals so we broke the news to Mike that he wouldn’t get to sing over these cool riffs...luckily he really digs the song and doesn’t hold it against us. Sean named it from some old Gaelic phrase or saying...not sure where it is from to what it means but it sounded cool so we told him it was great to let’s keep it.

7. Lords of Eden:

This is the oldest song on the album. Besides this and War Eternal all the others were newly created specifically for this record. Lords I had written the music and my friend Pete Kremer wrote some the lyrics and created the storyline. That project never came to be but when Noisecult decide to create a new album I showed the guys this song to jumpstart us writing. I wanted it to be a slower groove song and have a sort of sing-along chorus, something we don’t have much of. Since there aren’t that many lyric parts to it we decided to double the solo section as we felt this song needed more of a guitar jam.

Lyrically I kept Pete’s first verse and chorus with a few rhyming changes and then created and finished the story in verse two and chorus two. It is just a story of rebellion and the poor and downtrodden rising up against their oppressors.

8. Running Wild Running Free:

This is a fun song to me and one where we actually wanted to capture the feeling of another band. We don’t really sit down and say I want this song to sound like so and so wrote it, but this one we sort of did. More of a tribute to two of our favorite metal legends Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. The main riff came from a picking style both those bands used on a similar-sounding song. I just loved playing that and wanted to have one of my own without ripping them off. The rest of the riffs came together from us all just jamming ideas and seeing how the lyrics would fit and over what structure. I approached the solos in a Maiden / Priest way in that I wanted two completely different sounding solos so you’d think it was two different players. Using a Fender Strat on the first solo and a Les Paul on the second and changing up my rig from my normal mesa head / Orange cab to a Marshall setup really did help me accomplish that feel. The Marshall is on the first solo.

Starting with that first riff and reason for it, I decided to make the lyrics in that 80’s vein of running free from authority and living on the streets. The title is a nod and tribute to both Priest’s Running Wild and Maiden’s Running Free.

9. Nachthexen:

Musically this was created almost solely by our bassist Sean. He came into practice with the entire structure laid out. It isn’t really an easy song to play right away and took a bit to figure out what he was doing. But that is Sean, he writes the more time complex and offbeat challenging songs. Mainly to test my brain power...Solos-wise I tried for a more similar approach to Running Wild Running Free, in that it is less Tony Iommi and Matt Pike style (which is where my brain normally falls) and more like soaring and floating freeform approaches like Dave Murray or Jimi Hendrix. The harmonies at the end felt like they created that sense of flying and fit the general feel Also the second song I was able to find an excuse to put down some Hammond B3 organ lines. Seraphic Wizard is the other one.

Once we had it down musically structured and recorded, I thought it had either an aerial or nautical vibe to it. I mentioned that to Mike and we came up with a weird storyline based on some world war 2 stories. There was a flight squadron of women from Russia that had to help the war effort to repel the German army as they advanced into Russia. They had to use old wooden planes, like crop dusters as that was all the women were allowed. Because they flew old wooden planes that had to be low to the ground and could be heard gliding low above the treetops at night in the dark and the pilots were all women the germans soldiers dubbed them the Nachthexen or Night Witches. Fascinating story. There was our aerial story we need to fit Sean's riffs. Mike and I went to work and basically pieced together the story as factual as we could.

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