Track By Tracks: Tragic Forms - Arms 'Round The Armistice (2023)

1. Indicatrix:

This was the last track we recorded, as sort of like an intro track. The title is a term in crystallography, about light shining through the axes of a crystal. It's just about reinventing yourself and not worrying about things that are outside of your control and focusing that light on what you need to do here while you are alive. Like the opposite of existential dread, which is a big theme in this record. Trying to break out of that.

2. Prayer Of Indifference:

The lyrics are about the Allen Outlet Mall shootings that happened here where we live. Just about how it's always "thoughts and prayers" and then everyone moves on and the money keeps rolling to the lobbyists/politicians and the answer is just hoped it doesn't happen to you or your family". Musically it's maybe the best thing we've ever done, melodic, thrashy, shreddy, groovy. Has the whole enchilada of the Forms experience. I know that's what Balls would say, we called this one "Masks" as the working title and he wanted to do the Hellyeah thing, you know ARTIST NAME: MASKS ALBUM NAME: MASKS SONG NAME: MASKS TOUR NAME: MASKS RECORD LABEL: MASKS (laughing)

3. Decay Inside:

We called this one "Swag" as the working title. Just wanted something really swampy and groovy and the vocal melody in the verses is among my favorites we've ever done. Really leaning into that Pantera type 12/8 groove. Then it has this big spacey jam section in the middle. Really heavy, really groovy and still a catchy chorus.

4. Ever Ethereal:

This was a little bit more of that Mastodon/Sevendust influence, more bouncy breakdown parts with a stoner-type verse and chorus but it has the Swedish melodeath riffs in the pre-chorus too. The guitar solo probably turned out to be my favorite, it just has a really cool vibe to it. The lyrics are all existential stuff, "why are we here?", "what does it matter?". The older I get, the more I struggle with that so it comes out in the lyrics.

5. Chasing The Ghost:

Kind of your typical addiction lyrics, about losing that time that you were chasing that dopamine and realizing you don't get it back. So one day you wake up and like 10 years have gone by or whatever so now what (laughs). I was listening to a song called "Gardenias" by Protest The Hero a lot when we were writing and recording this. To me, that's a perfect song, so I'm sure it bled through a little bit. Musically, it's a pretty straightforward example of what we do, a little thrashy, a little poppy, a little punky, and some skull-rattling half-time chunky stuff.

6. When Flame Is Quickest:

More of that nu-metal vibe with this jam. I wanted to write a really tight and concise pop-metal-type song but as usual, we stretched it out to 5 minutes. The chorus riff to me is a real Disturbed-type riff and I'm not sure that's really who we are but the Believe record is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine!

7. Scrape:

This is a real highlight of the record for me. We re-recorded it a bunch and I think it turned out really special. It's really unique sounding and the chorus starts out really sparse and then each time builds and gets bigger with thicker guitars and stuff. The first verse is very punky and the second verse is kind of 90's groove metal. The bridge is a couple pieces jammed together as well, one real stompy/screamy thing and another more sing-along type thrashier section.

8. A Sort Of Serenity:

Essentially an improvement on a song we had on our first record called "Stagger Before You Crawl". That uptempo bluesy 12/8 feel. The bridge section is really riffy and one of my favorites, there are a bunch of Great Value Lamb Of God riffs here. We had to redo the vocals a bunch because the melody just wasn't happening which was really frustrating but that's the only way you will ever learn and grow. Stepping outside of the comfort zone.

9. The Great Imperator:

This was the first track we wrote and recorded for this record and really set the tone for where we were heading. More technical, more thrash, more groove, more varied vocals. It's still a favorite of mine even though you can hear that the production wasn't as great early on. Originally we were doing it in standard E tuning trying to get that 80's/90's feel since it was so thrashy but ended up dropping it a half step and that's kind of how the rest of the record got recorded, slacked down a little.

10. Death Rules:

I had reread this book called When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. It was a NY Times bestseller and all of that. Written by a neurosurgeon who died of lung cancer in his 30s and is just a really devastating read. He accomplished so much in a short time but didn't really ever get to slow down and enjoy the fruits of his labor. So the lyrics kind of reflects that, how we are all just here ticking and toiling, and in the end, death rules, death wins. I think nearly everyone has a cancer story or has been affected by it in some way or known someone who has, so it should be something almost everyone can relate to. It's cliche, but just to appreciate the gift that we have to experience things together and not let it slip by. A very difficult thing to do.

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