Track By Tracks: The Crown Remnant - Rise Of The Wicked King (2023)

1. Light the Flame:

The opening track sets the stage for the theme of the record. Conceptually, the album is split into two parts following the rise, fall, and resurrection of the titular "Wicked King". The "light" half of the album begins with "Light the Flame" and covers the beginnings of what makes a man become a tyrant - the battle of light and dark from within. This song symbolizes that battle, represented by clean and screamed vocals that interplay around the lyrics. The song is called "Light the Flame" because with every flame you get two things - a light and an absence of light. The flame can be a burning desire within ourselves, but that desire also casts its own shadow.

2. The Execution:

"The Execution" refers to the part of yourself that you kill to achieve your goals. There's always a give and take to things, and in the eyes of this song, the question of sacrifice and if "the ends justify the means" is contemplated through a currently unknown personal viewpoint. This is the beginning of the "Wicked King", a dive into what turns a man from good to evil and how desperation, and to some extent greed, influence how far people will go. The pre-chorus declares "There's no turning back for all you regret, for better or worse in the end" and as you make your choice to put your humanity on the executioner's block, you'll echo that sentiment. The song has classic metalcore vibes and the beautiful orchestration hits an underlying somber tone that appears throughout the album.

3. Inauguration Day:

The story continues through the lens of our character while tackling real-world issues and double-entendre themes. This song is the coronation of the new king, who justified obtaining his position through the death of his former self in the last song. The double meaning is exposed in the song with the line "We become our kings, or waste away" which implies the greater motif that it's our choices that define us - we make our own path or just ebb into eternity with everyone else. So in essence, this song is about self-discovery with a bit of a nihilist twist that everything is a game and we're all going to die anyway. Listen to the heavy riff-based themes and colorful chord changes.

4. Haunted:

Sticking with the theme of "light" in the first half of the record with a bright and catchy chorus, "Haunted" sticks out as a turning point in the album, and the story. Narratively, years have passed from the perspective of the new king and ultimately has made him cruel. The verses are separated by different musical themes, getting darker to reflect a dark ascension. Ultimately with this entire album, the main idea was to explore tyranny and despotism. Historically such men are only stopped by death (Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Mussolini). So how horrifying would it be - and what monster would a person become - if they became immortal and untethered by death? In this song, the Wicked King searches for immortality, once again driven by his own goals and greed to whatever cost. There are some themes of human experimentation, and I tried to evoke that imagery with references to the "Ludovico Technique" used in the novel "A Clockwork Orange".

5. From Damnation to Deliverance (The Journey):

This song exists as a moment of tragic clarity for our character. The last spark of humanity left as he expresses some regret, with a classic villain gambler's fallacy where they believe there's no redemption or ability to turn back after what they've done. One of my personal favorite songs on the album, it's subtitled "The Journey" (which was at some point discussed as the original title) not only because of the unique musical structure it takes you on, but also because this is the end of the journey for the first part of this album, and the living half of this character. There's some tie-ins to other works of mine, referencing a 2023 album "REBIRTH" in the last chorus, and the events that follow in "The End of Days" (2021) which is the sequel narratively to this record. The final step "from damnation to deliverance" is a twisted resolution of that phrase - by "realizing" there's no turning back, there's a deliverance in the evil you've become. You no longer feel cursed, you are set free.

6. Burn the Throne:

The final track on the first half of the album and outside of "Light the Flame", the first song that is written from a different perspective than the concept character. This is meant to be from the perspective of the people. It's important to look at both sides of things to understand and find meaning, and in the obvious tragic nature of this story, the subjects of cruel rulers are often the ones who suffer the most. It's fitting that the song mostly carries a bright note, as it's set after the final "death" of a dictator. The promise to prevent this from happening ever again, and the turn to religiosity as a means to find some divine meaning beyond the suffering. It ends with a classical guitar solo in a somber note, with underlying of a warning that this might not be the beautiful ending to the story you might hope.

7. Into the Depths:

A purely instrumental track inspired by Mike Patton, and Danny Elfman - this is an experimental song that represents the transition to the dark half of the record that explores hell, resurrection, legacy, and the rise of the wicked king. The odd time signatures that change throughout the song reflect the disorientation of a dark place, while the strings carry on the theme from "Light the Flame" to tie the album together. The track ends abruptly, giving you no rest as you tumble down into the depths with the laughter of the insane and the fear of what's to come.

8. The End:

A prophecy of the end, and ultimately fulfilled in the sequel album "The End of Days" (2021), "The End" explores the apocalypse. I have many thoughts about the morality and immorality of humanity and this was inspired by the common political and historical themes of our species. Outside of natural disasters, the true end of the world comes from our division, greed, and inability to coexist. The song evokes images of nuclear warfare with lines like "silhouettes of dust will blow away" in the gruesome image of the instant vaporization of atomic bombs. There's a depiction reminiscent of the "Ozymandias" poem by Percy Shelley in which a pompous king from the past is reduced to a simple statue in a desert with the line in this song "a cold barren desert is all that remains of every great nation that never learns shame".

9. Legacy:

An epic track discussing death and the legacy that we leave behind. This song is a self-insert of my own fears. While death is scary on its own, the fear of being forgotten has always been difficult for me although inevitable. Most of us want our time on this earth to count and want to be able to leave something behind that somehow captures who you were, and what life you lived. This song is musically a step away from the more scream-oriented tracks throughout the album, with entirely clean vocals. There are powerful harmonized leads in a classic/power metal style and a crazy solo in a track that begs to be single. I tried to flex my riff and groove muscles as well as my melodic strengths and hopefully pulled off a strong track with a catchy chorus.

10. Inferno:

Based on the book "Inferno" by Dante Aligheri, this is a description of the nine circles of hell with painstaking accuracy to the classic novel. The idea conceptually is that after the death of the Wicked King, he was sent to the inner circle of hell reserved for the worst souls. Musically and lyrically, this was a fun place for me to deviate from the other tracks on the album. Most of the themes on this album are multi-topic discussions, or double entendres that serve the concept as well as act as a song on their own. This was a moment for me to reflect on other writers and imagery with the "Inferno" inspiration and to very clearly just make a song about hell. It's fast-paced, aggressive, and as demonic as you would expect.

11. The Eternal Facade:

You can't have an album without a ballad - but I can't do a ballad without adding some craziness and so we arrive at another personal favorite song of mine. This is where the true nihilist themes of this album come to the center as our sad song discusses the meaning of life. This song contains some of the more beautiful melodies, acoustic guitars, and lyrics of the album and is a respite in an otherwise aggressive sound. This song reflects the themes of light and dark in its chorus with "we burn the flame to feel the light, but the shadows shifted" carrying the consequence of lighting a flame and introducing shadow. There's a yearning for it to be over that hasn't presented itself in other songs - in an almost suicidal admission that things might be better if we wipe it all out and let life start again. The song ends with a layered section proclaiming "The end is coming and time will fade away, wash away the dust so it can all begin again".

12. As Faith Fades:

As a final burst of energy before the title track, "As Faith Fades" follows my rule of hiding a "banger" behind the final track of the album. I feel like the penultimate song has a chance to be a sleeper hit, as it's often overlooked by what people believe is the biggest track on the album, often at the end. In this song, I really got to flex my cinematic muscles with a full-string orchestra that carries the track into its dark metalcore/almost horror vibe. The lyrics take a sinister outlook on humanity that compliments other tracks like "The End" looking at the desperation and vulture-like nature of predators that prey on the weak. The faith that is "fading" in this song is the faith in humanity, in an extremely pessimistic but also crazy musical piece. Listen to the snazziest solo on the album, along with a powerful bridge layered with choirs, strings, acoustics, electrics, and more.

13. The Wicked King:

The title track is an epic finale to a creative record. I'm a fan of making the final track on an album significant, so I went all out for this one. Huge sweeping guitar harmonies with multiple guitar solos, big vocals, and driving hooks carry this album home. The song is all about the titular character and really focuses on the concept and narrative of the record as a whole, with less innuendo and interpretation. As a result, this track has the most fantasy-style lyrics compared to some of the more grounded lyrics of other tracks. There's an art to making an 8-minute song that somehow keeps your attention and this song has a great way of making you feel like it earns its track time. For an epic light and dark-themed album, this is an energetic and impressive sendoff which I expect to be a favorite among fans and live shows for years to come.

No hay comentarios

Imágenes del tema: Aguru. Con la tecnología de Blogger.