Track By Tracks: IMPERIUM - When Kings Meet (2023)

1. Iron Thunder:

Ben Porter: Our writing process normally looks a little like this… lead guitarist Hardip comes to the studio with a new riff and we spend time building on it together as we go, but this time, Iron Thunder was his. He walked in and had a whole plan for the guitars from start to finish. It was the last song to be created by us before we got to the studio and out of all of them, we never got the chance to play it live first, so as you can imagine, small instrumental tweaks had to be right! We usually play a song live for a while before it goes to the master!

But yeah after James our drummer created the epic drumming on the track, Scott his bits, and Rapha not only brought the bass up a level but also created some beautiful bass lead… I could start on lyrics… I never start a song before I can feel its energy and this track screamed a huge melody at me for the chorus. I felt it instantly when I heard it and built upon that nicely. The verse got me though! I just couldn’t get a fix on it… so after practicing and working on it for hours, I changed it again before we stepped into to the studio… and what you can hear on the recording is the first time I’d sang those lyrics and melody. Hats off to Oz at Hidden Tracks for getting it all out of me.

With this tune, it’s the only music video for this EP so far and James our drummer put an epic video together for us. It captures the feel of the song, a proper close-quarters sea battle, where the men could be the last on earth for all they knew, nothing but constant assault and attack. Driven by the will to survive but the sorrow of an endless war creeping in on them from the dark. It’s truly harrowing But please go check the video out and enjoy.

2. Capable Of Murder:

Scott: With this one, it was very similar to Iron Thunder - Hardip had all these great riffs - but as opposed to ...Thunder, it wasn’t a full song. We had ideas for choruses, verses, and the embryo of a solo, but no solid structure. James and Scott came up with the big chord intro and that then got the energy and ball rolling! Hardip’s ‘triplet assault’ becomes the verse, then the sing-along chorus just naturally falls into place.

The version you hear now is a culmination of choosing different breakdowns, different tempos and even changing riffs right up to the night before recording! Changing loads to the song that we were playing as part of our live show, but we’re super happy with the final polished product! We think it’s supersonic as Fuck!

Ben: When we started this tune, I, for some reason, was having a bit of a punk phase in my music listening and loved how raw the vocals were. As a band we have no gimmicks, they piss us off, to be honest… so having not long been a vocalist, I’m constantly learning and pushing myself to actually find my voice. The first EP, looking back, is an example of that. I’m not unhappy with it but I’m not over the moon. I can do better… so writing Capable... really did me some learning! I had the verse and chorus melody and couldn’t escape this punk sound I had in my head… I incorporated it and 'became' it a little - and this being one of the first songs of the EP that we created together, it really helped me find my ‘voice’! I fucking love it too! It’s clear, angry, and very obviously has a London accent! The song's a showcase of humanity, a bombardment of aggressive back and forth, not knowing what’s good or bad for it, hating itself and loving itself in the same second, but always under no illusions about how dangerous it is. We’re all capable of murder…

3. Desperate Screams:

Scott: There’s a theme to this EP - Hardip having the vast bulk of ideas and sections for the songs! He was on a roll and Desperate Screams was a perfect example of that. The song initially started with the main hook playing to some big chords from Scott and crashes from James, but we always felt it was too similar to Capable Of Murder. So much so that we’d often play them at opposite ends of the setlist live. The new intro was decided a couple of weeks before we sat down to record. We all sat there and molded Hardip’s new riff and came up with this idea of an ascending chug to draw people in! The verse was always 5 bars of the same riff, but that was revamped into the alternating riff you hear now, with the ascending riff at the end leading into the chorus developed pretty much the week before recording! The chorus is a nice melodic guitar duel between Hardip and Scott and that’s been the staple since Desperate’s inception. The song didn’t have a solo live as the rhythm played behind it on the recording was always energetic enough, or so we felt. But the idea was always to change it and Hardip created that masterpiece leading up to the studio session, with Scott deciding to chug the chords rather than pick the notes. The outro was something we incorporated live as it enables us to slide into other songs, so we decided that’s definitely got to be on the recording too!

Ben: When I first heard this I remember instantly hearing the melody for the chorus! It was as plain as day! For some reason I came up with the words “needs to be desired” right on the spot, so went with that and created a song about an orphan dog called Timothy…. The original lyrics were like this, “Timothy, he needs to be desired, needs to be loved by ya…." Haha! I had Black Sabbaths Juniors Eyes in mind when writing this song but the lads didn’t get it…and to be fair it made me bring the whole song up a level when changing Timothy to Desperate Screams and it worked a treat! But yeah, still about old dogs in Battersea Dogs home in my head!

4. When Kings Meet:

Scott: And finally, When Kings Meet! The title track! Originally called ‘stop start’ due to this idea Hardip had of the stop/start intro and then we just kept adding stops to parts of the song! It just felt right! And we all felt it showed off our timing… played live it seemed to absolutely captivate people when they heard it too. In between Hardip's initial riffs and playing it live, I thrashed up the verse, playing it faster, and then developed the chunky chorus that we have now, having previously jammed something different live. The pre-solo, solo rhythm, and outro came about through some fun but intense practice sessions, and as always, Hardip has excelled with his solo and Ben has created some hooky melodies and captivating lyrics. We love the way this song keeps giving the impression it’s about to let up and then it sucker-punches you with another fast-paced change of direction. We love all our songs but this one PUNCHES and that’s why it’s the title track!

Ben: In all fairness, this song didn’t speak to me at first… the stop-start wasn’t my bag. I worked with it though! After a few tweaks, the boys made something instrumental that I genuinely absolutely love now. I had a weird vibe with the game of chess; I wondered what it would be like if the two king pieces could talk…what would they say? And then I wondered if they ever even met? What would have to happen for two kings to meet on a chessboard?! Everything would be dead? I don't know, I’ve only played it like 6 times… but that was enough for me to create something cool and it flowed! I loved working on this one live, we've finished on this song a fair few times, as you’ll hear on the live version on the CD… that little pause to thank everyone at the end and then crushing back into the next riff to finish…. Goosebumps!

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