Track By Tracks: GRAVESHADOW – The Uncertain Hour (2022)

1. Soldier of 34:

Walker: This was the first song that Aaron and I wrote for the record, and the first one we truly collaborated on. We wanted to create a song that we felt represented what the band had been through up until this point, really putting our all into it. We came up with these mournful melodies on top of these aggressive rhythms, and it all started to click. Lyrically we chose a story about losing those closest to you, and we felt it fit given the lineup change that’s happened in the band. While we are still on good terms and friends with most of the previous members, the transition was difficult, but it’s come together better than I ever could have hoped for.

Robitsch: There was a lot of time that was put into this song, Will and I wanted to show that Graveshadow was back, and wanted to showcase it with a song that gave it our all, and that song was Soldier of 34. This was also the first song where we decided to make use of the back and forth vocals between Rachl and me. I have done harsh vocals in other bands in the past, but this is the song that truly helped me find my voice.

2. Gwynnbleidd:

Walker: This one was a lot of fun. Rachl and I were super into The Witcher when it debuted, but we were fans of the games and books before the show. Aaron showed us this high-energy song and Rachl thought it worked perfectly to tell Ciri’s story. I love the harmonies and the high- energy riffs, this is going to be one I think we’re going to have a lot of fun playing live.

3. Sea of Apparitions:

Walker: This one is actually from the last of the writing sessions for our second record, ‘Ambition’s Price’. It wasn’t completely finished which was why it didn’t make it on the record. I wrote the guitar and I wanted something that was driving, constantly moving forward. I love what Aaron did with the orchestrations and Rachl’s voice really brought it to life. The lyrics ‘Decide to live or decide to die’ give me chills every time I listen to it. I think it’s gonna hit like a ton of bricks when we play it live.

4. The Swordsman:

Robitsh: This song started out with a riff that Will was messing around with, and I knew I wanted to use it in a song. While we are evolving from our gothic metal sound we were known for on our first two records, this is probably the song that showcases it the most on the album.

We got my friend Chelsea Murphy from the band Dawn of Ouroborus to provide guest vocals on the song, and her growls give me chills every time I hear them.

Quinn: Aaron and I are fans of Rurouni Kenshin, and he had asked multiple times to write a song about the classic anime series. I thought attacking it lyrically would be very easy, but I was dead wrong. There is a lot of complexity within that show and a lot of depth, that if I didn’t take my time and do my research would not have been conveyed. The song itself is structurally one of the most complex on the record as well, and writing a melody around that form was difficult but rewarding.

5. Vengeance of Envy:

Walker: This is another one that we’ve had for a few years, and its first incarnation was written in between the ‘Nocturnal Resurrection’ and ‘Ambition’s Price’ writing sessions. At the time it kind of got shelved but when we started to put ‘The Uncertain Hour’ together, Aaron reworked a couple of parts and it sounded killer! The clean guitar overlaid with that gritty verse riff gets me every time. We had our friend Raymond Anthony Sanchez from Thrown Into Exile guest on the song and I love what he did for the solo, it’s so tasty!

Quinn: This is hands down my favorite song on the record. “Vengeance of Envy” has all of the fun of a commercial rock song in a metal context. I wrote this one about FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Lyrically the song talks about losing yourself in revenge, and the bond between man and woman. I’m really excited about this one.

6. A Beautiful End:

Robitsch: This was probably the last “new” song I remember jamming out with the old lineup in between the last couple of tours we had done together. We had about half of the song down, but never got around to finishing it. I wrote this song with an Amon Amarth meets Moonsorrow feel in mind, and I feel that the riffs accomplish that. Lyrically, the idea came between Rachl and I to make it about the character Kurama from the Japanese Anime “Yu Yu Hakusho”, as he is a mutual favorite of ours.

Quinn: We have two Yu Yu Hakusho songs on this record, and I’m not complaining about it. “A Beautiful End” is the duality between two sides of the same character. I had a lot of fun recording this one with Justin Aufdemkampe (Miss May I). He just kept saying, “Push this one a little harder” or “Imagine singing that in Europe”. The overall recording experience was a blast. The 

7. Betrayer:

Walker: This is one of my favorites on the record, all of the harmony and the triumphant orchestrations I think came together so well. I don’t think it’s a secret that we’re all kind of big nerds, and I ended up writing the lyrics about a character from the Warcraft universe, Maeiv Shadowsong. Her story resonated with me, this desire for not just vengeance but justice for her people. The bouncy harmonies and visceral verse I felt kind of drove the story forward as it opens up on the bridge. This is another one I really can’t wait to get on stage and tear up.

8. Shadow Battles:

Robitsch: This song is one of my favorites on the album, compositionally. Originally it was meant to be a longer song, but I am glad it got trimmed down to what it became, and it lead to me coming up with a very catchy bell interlude reminiscent of Nightwish. Rachl however is the one that really brings the song to life with that super catchy melody she put together over the chorus.

Quinn: When we first sent the raw vocal tracks over to Will of this song, he was ecstatic. This was the first song that while recording I really felt confident about. Nobody likes to talk about how you can lose yourself in the studio, and how important these wins are. Lyrically the song is about Castlevania, because if you hadn’t caught on by now, we love animation.

9. The Two Lived:

Robitsch: This is another song that started out with a riff that Will was messing around with from time to time that I was really enjoying. The very driving riff ended up as the climax of the song, and everything else was a bit around it. This one means a lot to me as I love the mournful guitar leads over my harsh vocals, almost giving the song an Insomnium like feel. This song also has some of our most bombastic orchestrations.

Quinn: This is a song where I take a backseat, but that doesn’t mean my role isn’t pivotal. It’s important to understand what you add to the song as a singer, and this is a great case of that. We wrote the song about Howl’s Moving Castle, specifically the relationship between Howl and Calcifer. Aaron’s growls are superb, and I got to take a backseat, craft some complimentary melodies, and fall back into the melancholic sway of it all.

10. Damsel’s Finesse:

Robitsch: This was probably the first song I wrote for the album, and it is probably my favorite! I remember being on tour with Sirenia back in 2018 on our way to Seattle, and I started drafting the intro on my iPad. The tremolo-picked, “Wasted Years”-like riff was something we had not done yet in any of our songs. At the same time though, it seemed appropriate for the more power metal sound Will wanted us to experiment with. Little did I know then that this would also turn out to be our longest song to date.

Quinn: Before I got to writing this song, Aaron said to me, “Just go crazy with this one”. I’m lucky to have that kind of artistic freedom when it comes to writing melodies and lyrics. This song is about Yennefer from The Witcher. I’ve always idolized her but also understood her deep sense of strength and loneliness. We went all out with the melodies on this one. It took so long to record, but I’m really satisfied with the end result.

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