Track By Tracks: Lord Of Horns - Few Ever Survive The Night... (2022)

1. Nightmare Castle:

I came up with the main riff years ago by resequencing the notes in a scale I invented while implementing tremolo picking. The chord progressions during the verses are based on the main riff. For the chorus, I looked to Darkthrone for inspiration on the chord progression. I actually wrote the bass solo first and then came up with a backing progression that would work with it. The song came together rather naturally and quickly.

The lyrics, however, were more difficult to come up with. I liked the name, "Nightmare Castle" which was a Barbara Steele movie back in the '50s, however, the plot wasn't very inspiring. I came up with numerous iterations of lyrics with different subjects and plots. At one point, I combined the plot points of the movie and another Barbara Steele movie about a haunted castle, but the lyrics just didn't serve the music justice. Some of my other lyrics have been inspired by folklore, so for the final version, I researched the origin of nightmares, which were believed to be demonic elves who haunt people's dreams. So I came up with the idea of these elves living in an abandoned castle where unwitting travelers would rest overnight and have their life force stolen from them.

2. Ritual Hunt:

Before I came up with the music, I knew I wanted to write a song about a cannibalistic tribe loosely inspired by movies like Cannibal Holocaust and Green Inferno. I wanted a tom drum theme throughout the song to set the mood and paint the imagery in the listener's mind. I came up with the drumline as a noticeable riff as opposed to a guitar riff. I wrote the guitar rhythm while experimentally switching from power and bar chords while working on the progression. I followed it up with tremolo picking progressions to build the tension. Then I developed a thrashier version of a riff I wrote while in Dark Reverence. Lastly, on guitar, I transposed the main progression to a higher key and shortened it. All I needed was some transitions that I would figure out with keyboards and drums. But when I got to the keyboards, I hit a creative spell and came up with some thrashy keyboard riffs. When all was done, I had so many riffs and transitions, I didn't know how I would arrange the song. I'm still amazed it came together as well as it did.

In terms of the lyrical content, I had no intention of having a pirate theme. After recording the keyboards and listening to a rough mix, however, I got this imagery of sailing on the high seas. Considering the length of the song, I realized I could fit in a story about pirates who were kidnapped by a native tribe whose warriors hunt them to prove their worth and celebrate by feasting on their flash. The name of the demo comes from a line from a previous version of "Nightmare Castle" that I didn't want to lose. When I was writing the guitar part, I was mindlessly chanting, "Few ever survive the ritual hunt" and then I realized I could easily transition to "Few ever survive the night." I only included the song on the demo simply because it had the title in the lyrics. I wasn't really sure how an audience would receive it. To my delight, I have received a lot of positive feedback so far pertaining to this track from those deep in the black metal community and outside of it.

3. Screams of the Oskorei:

I wrote the main riff of this song years and years ago when I was just out of high school during the early Acryptylyse days. I was focused on creating creepy and horrifying black metal and I was listening to a lot of Emperor back then. I'm not exactly sure how I came up with it, but I started it in one key and then I transposed it in others to make a progression. For the fourth measure, I went to the root note of the overall scale I was working on, but I wanted to do something totally different to throw the listener off and not sound homogenized. The riff was creepy and my bandmates liked it, but we never worked on it any further. Around the same time, Dimmu Borgir also just released their rerecording of Stormblast. One of my favorite songs on that album had this cool chord progression, but it didn't go anywhere and it left me wanting something more. So I took that progression and added a signature ending to it that added dynamics and most of all, completion. So that's how the first two parts of the song were written.

At some later point in time, I wrote out the remainder of the song complete with lyrics but lost it all to a computer crash. All I could remember was the first two parts, so I had to rewrite the rest of the song. I am honestly happy I did because I really liked the way it came out. I wanted to capture the spirit and atmosphere of the music I was listening to when I wrote it, so I knew I wanted dark ethereal keys that paint a picture of a majestic night sky. I wanted single note tremolo picking parts, like in "Nightmare Castle" and "Ritual Hunt" and I wanted a slower, somber part to allow the listener to take in the atmosphere.

When I closed my eyes and listened to a rough mix, I saw Odin leading Valkyrie down from a starry abyss and capturing lone travelers. I would consider myself a soft practitioner of Norse paganism and I am familiar with the "Oskorei" which is a Norse word that translates into the wild or noisy hunt. From my understanding, it's a very old origin of Halloween when the realms of life and death were overlapping and Odin would lead his warrior women into Midgard to capture anyone who was alone in the forest. I took inspiration from this to write the lyrics. For the slower part, I bring the audience to a mountain top where the narrator is conducting a ritual calling for the god to continue his nightly hunts, thereby creating a villain in the story. I knew I wanted this part to be spoken word, however, I wanted it to be more pronounced than Emperor usually does it. I rather enjoy Maniac's spoken Tyranids so I took that approach instead.

Overall, lyrically, I try to write in various forms of old English poetry to give a pronounced rhythm to the vocals that counter the speed of the music. I focus pretty heavily on the arrangement of each line and how the syllables naturally flow.

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