Track By Tracks: Lord Of Shadows - Echoes Of Yore (2023)

Lyricist, Shadows speaks about the creation of the lyrics and imagery of the album Echoes Of Yore; an introduction and then a Track By Track exploration of the story behind the songs…

"And there hath come the time to tell the tale of long forsaken shadows..." the very moment, where everything started to unfold as a plangent chronicle of yours truly...

Therefore, each song, blossomed by itself, as a pillar of memories and woe...
In truthfulness, lyrically speaking, "Echoes of Yore..." not only portrays my own experience through life but has a rather seldom genesis...

For the past twenty or so years, I have experienced the same five recurring dreams, which ultimately, became the foundation of the album's lyrics. Soon after the ghastly moment when her life was taken, the dreams grew stronger, appearing more often, and all that was left, were pure grief and the tormenting echoes of yore...she was but an echo of yore...

The graphic memory of burning trees and blood, and ultimately, the abstract pilgrimage to her mausoleum, served as the main inspiration for the album's cover as well. Exquisitely executed by Heike Langhans, the cover is a journey within itself. The Lord of Shadows is lost on his unknown path, where silence dwells under the crimson-bleeding skies. Trapped within an eternal momentum, between the ethereal and corporeal...

Consequently, I knew that the time has come to bring to life each verse deep written within my soul, for such a long time. And I knew that it will never be possible without Mike and his songwriting genius, and Heike's ethereal voice. Not only two of my favorite musicians of all time but also my dearest artists and friends, they've joined me in this beautiful journey and helped me build what Lord of Shadows means today. Later on, Aaron and Emilio made me the honor to perform on this album as well. Five artists, five souls working together. Echoes of Yore is not only an album for me but a cosmic eulogy of sempiternal love and sorrow, knowingly casting itself outside the conventional norms of doom metal. Honestly, I cannot express how grateful I am for their help and friendship.

And now, about the lyrics of each song. As I've previously stated, each song amounts to a different specific dream, where the first and last installments are but the pillars of a metaphysical sepulcher.

1. Her lips were poetry and doom...:

In the opening act of the album, speaking to my inner, younger self, I was recollecting forgotten memories; at that point, I was feeling more and more humanity's decay, and feeling that my own death was rapidly approaching, my last wish was to renown the once forgotten oaths...oaths I serve with piety even now, when the memory of her lips only reminds me of ashes...

2. Faith of thy beloved...:

The second installment of this album, I wrote it about a year ago, within a moment of painful realization that humanity has completely lost its higher perception, and while calling out their mortal nature, my art became the staple of my own life, as a tribute for their sinful acts...The faith of an artist that lost a loved one, burns stronger at the bottom of society's pillars...

3. At the end of our eclipse...:

In the third installment of the album, her ether becomes more and more present, guiding his words, assuring him that even in death, she will always be by his side...still stricken by her loss, he sees himself wandering trapped within the laminal, seeking his way back to his beloved.

4. She was but an echo of yore...:

The fourth act of the album, tells the story of a timeless yet doomed romance while searching for one last embrace under the cosmic veil of death and misfortune. Almost driven mad by recurring dreams and the shadow of memories, their ether, now fully entwined within the laminal, as an ultimate request to the underworld gods, their seemingly last casted spell is to evanesce as one...

5. Through memories, I gave her life...:

In the fifth installment, as an eternal requiem, he( I) remember the moments prior to her death, as well as the fact that, by ripping the flowers of catatonic enlightenment, prior to their alchemical transmutation, therefore trapped within their ambiguous nature, they call upon the earth' spirits, in order to turn back the hourglass of time, to the very moment that led to her all fairness, this one has been written as a metaphysical "will be continued...", as, although the truth of their separation has been known for a long time, a mind in ruins can only rebuild the visuals of one's departure through inner sacrifice...therefore, she was alive, as long as he would be able to break out of his carnal cage...

6. If the tears are forgotten...:

In the sixth chapter, the lyrics were written on a completely different land, making it obvious that both have died at the very same moment. Yet time, as a human concept, it’s nothing more but a limitless paradox of logical chaos. The title itself, explains humans, paragons of quantic tears, to grieve, is by its own nature, a sin...a sin that he has already been punished for. Although...his death not only feeds the gallows' curse, but her personal recollection of forgotten dreams becomes their perdurable lullaby of woe...her ether, frozen in a timeless sphere of cosmic dust, accursed to search for her twin-flame under the flag of ocean's bleeding eyes...

7. Your blood weighs heavy...:

In the seventh and last chapter of the album, marking the seventh and last suicide attempt...following Mike and Heike's advice, I enclosed the story within its own beginning. As previously said, we are nothing but tears birthed by the ocean itself...and what are tears, if not the cleansed blood of grieving echoes...of yore. 

Multi-instrumentalist Mike Lamb speaks about the writing of the music for each song on Echoes Of Yore, Track By Track…

My name is Mike Lamb, and I wrote and recorded all of the songs on the Lord of Shadows album 'Echoes of Yore'. My primary bands are Sojourner, Remina, and Light Field Reverie (the latter two with my partner and vocalist, Heike Langhans, who features on tracks 2-5). When I'm not writing and recording for those bands, I am an audio engineer at my studio (Ghost Bird Studios) and a video game publishing producer.

I'll delve into the songs on 'Echoes of Yore' and some of the history behind them, and I’d like to thank Valentin for having me on for this project as well as Aaron, Heike, and Emilio for such amazing and emotionally powerful performances. Also thank you to Jakob for bringing the demos to life when tracking the drums.

1. Her Lips Were Poetry and Doom:

Both this and Your Blood Weighs Heavy are based around the core musical theme that I felt encapsulated the particular kind of melancholy that I loved so much about the 90s Gothic Doom bands, with a bit of a nod to Akira Yamaoka. The main musical themes were something that I first wrote for my old doom band, Lysithea, back in 2012 before they found their final form here.

2. Faith of Thy Beloved:

After Valentin approached me to continue the band and write new music after his previous bandmate very tragically passed away, this was the first song that I composed for it. I wanted to tap into some of that classic Gothic Doom sound that I loved from bands such as My Dying Bride, Tristania, Theatre of Tragedy, Paradise Lost, Draconian, etc. while bringing my own touch to it as well. I left the arrangements quite sparse to let the amazing vocal pairing of Heike and Aaron shine because this was an absolute dream team to work with vocally, so I tried to keep any excessive lead lines or additional instrumentation from cramping the sonic space they had to work with. For the overall feel of the album, I consciously avoided too much polish or too many modern elements in the mix, to capture something that felt more raw and “classic”.

3. At the End of Our Eclipse:

This track is a favorite of mine from the album, which began life back in 2007 when I first wrote a very early version of it for a Doom project that never eventuated. I worked on it over the years here and there, but I never found a home for it in any of my projects, so I shelved it for a long time. In 2014 I dusted it off again and gave it to Emilio (the vocalist featured here, and the singer of my other band Sojourner) as the very first Sojourner song. We morphed Sojourner away from Doom into a fully Atmospheric Black Metal band quite quickly after that, so this song was once again relegated to the archives and left to sit for another few years. It made sense to revive this track once again in 2023, bring Emilio on board for it, and see the song finally brought to life. This has some of my favorite vocal lines of Heike's on the album, and hearing Emilio and Heike sing over this feels like a glimpse of what an alternate-reality Sojourner might have sounded like.

4. She Was but an Echo of Yore:

This was another track I wrote at the beginning when Valentin asked me to help continue the project, alongside Faith of Thy Beloved. Those two tracks go hand-in-hand as the blueprint for the initial vision I had of the album, a gloomy rain-soaked revival of the 90s Gothic Metal/Gothic Doom sound we loved so much. In a similar way to Faith of Thy Beloved, I kept the arrangements sparse and uncluttered to allow Heike and Aaron to really dominate the song.

5. Through Memories, I Gave Her Life:

This track began life as a track for my old band Lysithea, and it was always one of the songs I was happiest with songwriting- wise but regretted because of the original recording quality. So I revived it for Lord of Shadows and gave it the life I always wished it had back when I first wrote it. Of course, Aaron and Heike added their magic to it and did a phenomenal job, and we also wanted to bring in Mike Wilson from Lysithea for additional vocals but didn’t have time before release. This was the last track added to the album as it was originally going to be shorter, but we felt that this was the missing element that it needed to bring everything together and feel complete.

6. If the Tears are Forgotten:

This might be my personal favorite track on the album. It's definitely the odd one out, but despite the ethereal weirdness of it I feel like there's an underlying sadness that sits nicely among the more traditional Gothic Doom tracks on here. I wanted to write a song that was imbued with oceanic melancholy and beauty. Something that felt like a siren's song from a lighthouse at the end of time. I think we managed to capture that once Heike and Aaron's phenomenal performances were added to the mix, and it also has some of Valentin’s best lyrics in my opinion.

7. Your Blood Weighs Heavy:

For Your Blood Weighs Heavy I wanted the album to come full circle and feel like a broken ghost of itself. I created a much spectral, haunted version of the theme on piano and then took Aaron’s spoken word from the first track and re-recorded it through a tape machine in an empty attic room of an apartment building. While this was probably overkill for something I could have done digitally (and I did apply some post-processing of course), it felt like a nice final touch.

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