Track By Tracks: Coral The MerKnight - vs. The Beasts Of Burdentown (A Post​-​Deathrock Opera) (2024)

1. Overture:

I tend to start my albums off with dark and ominous short intros. This album is no different. In this instance it is an instrumental. Given the Deathrock Opera concept of the album, naming it Overture seemed like a no-brainer to kick off the proceedings (especially with the church organs)! None of the themes are repeated in the other songs but it gives you a good sense of what to expect later on in the album (musically at least).

2. MINDF!@#%:

This is the fastest song on the album so it carves out its own identity from the other songs in that regard. It's also the first time you hear Cris on vocals and the first of three guest guitar solos from Nik Nocturnal. For me, the highlight of the song is the extended outro section. Tons of cool layers going on there. I dare you not to hang bang during it.

Lyrically, this song introduces the antagonists of the album: The Beasts of Burdentown. They are drawn to and gain power from the negative emotions of their prey. Sheer strength and battle prowess alone are not enough to defeat them. One must be able to keep their mind clear and emotions in check in order to come out on top.

The song title was initially MINDFIGHT but I thought it would be fun to scramble the last few letters given the trippy nature of the song, and if you accidentally think it means something else... well maybe that was intentional!

3. for-closure:

This one was a lot of fun to work on. Many different things going on here musically. Really cool three-part harmonies in the chorus, surprise blast beats! Nik also killed the guitar solo here.

This is the introduction of the hero (Coral) into the story. Following his victory against SEARANTULA (the big bad from the last album), he has decided to remain on land to experience our ways of life instead of returning to his underwater kingdom but he begins to feel guilt for this decision. These negative emotions draw out the Beasts and they subsequently begin to circle and evaluate their newfound mark. They realize that by killing his newly established family they can weaken Coral further and become even stronger in the process from the extreme grief generated by these actions.

The title was a play on the dual themes of trying to find closure related to Coral's decision to stay and not return to his former society and the Beasts ruining his new home by taking away his family.

4. Lions in Disguise:

This is the ballad of the album. I love the dark moods here, also the chorus is fantastic!

This song was very important in the overall evolution of the album. Originally the whole thing was going to be instrumental. I had worked with Cris before and thought it would be a fun experiment to ask him to write lyrics to this one. I loved what he did so much that it inspired me to try to work with him and bring lyrics to the rest of the songs which necessitated the creation of the overall concept.

The lyrics are about the powerlessness one feels following a loss (whatever that loss may be - the death of a loved one, failure of a pivotal relationship, etc.) Luckily even though the lyrics were written before the overall concept was crafted, they still fit into the overarching story like a glove.

The title came from the lyrics of the song. I loved the imagery they evoked and had no choice but to name it after them.

5. My Day to Bleed:

This one originally had a bass-only introduction but after Travis laid down his epic drums for the first section it was clear that the preceding bass part didn't match the level of awesomeness needed. I struggled with this for a while but then remembered a collaboration I did a while back with Drawn in Isolation (who had remixed one of the songs from my first album). I asked him to come up with an epic intro and he hit it out of the park! He was also able to sprinkle in a lot of other cool moments throughout the song as well.

Lyrically, this song is about Coral's emotions turning from grief to rage and anger. He confronts the Beasts and is severely outmatched due to his lack of understanding of the nature of their strength.

The title is an inversion of the lyric "Your Day to Bleed". This line is Coral threatening the beasts, but unbeknownst to him, he is the one who will be bleeding that day.

6. The Door:

My favorite moment in this song is the extended 16-bar drum solo followed by the reverse Tenet-style drum solo! This originally only had two choruses but Cris astutely suggested adding a third chorus and he came up with a really cool way to transition out of it into the end of the song, but I struggled for a while on how to transition into it. I tried a bunch of ideas that just didn't work but finally tried out reversing the drum solo and it completely made the song in my opinion. I can't imagine the song without it.

Lyrically, Coral realizes he can't win and flees the fight. While being pursued, he begins to put together that his strong negative emotions are putting him at a disadvantage and that he will need to somehow overcome them.

Based on the vocal emphasis of the words "The Key" in the chorus, that was the obvious choice to name this song. Obviously, that is why I went with "The Door" instead haha. I also find doors to be more ominous than keys.

7. Intermission

Keeping with the Deathrock Opera Concept, all operas and plays need intermissions!

This is instrumental so no lyrics here, but the breather is not only for the audience. Coral needs time to clear his mind as well.

8. Suture Self:

This song is almost like a play within a play given the structure of the song. At one point it had the parenthetical: (Acts I, II, and III). I enjoyed the challenge of tying together three distinct sections but still trying to maintain some level of overall cohesion. Did I succeed??

Lyrically, this is Coral's healing journey. He commences the process of letting go of all of his guilt, grief, and rage to achieve spiritual calmness of the mind. He needs to kill his inner demons in order to kill The Beasts of Burdentown.

The title is a combination of Suit Yourself and Medical Sutures. I had this in my back pocket as a potential future band name but I discovered that it was already taken by like 100 other bands so that was out. When the themes and lyrics of this song started to come together I had flashbacks and knew what had to be done.

9. Exsanguinate!:

Lots of really great dynamics happening in this one. I especially love the extended middle section which starts as just bass and keeps building in intensity culminating in Nik's final guitar solo.

Lyrically, this begins the final climactic battle of the album. The Beasts begin to realize they no longer have the upper hand and victory is not a certainty. This is concerning.

This is the one song in which I contributed to the lyrics i.e. a single word: Exsanguinate. I loved the line about the Beast's faces becoming white (due to the blood draining from them) so I endeavored to find the medical term for this occurrence. While Exsanguinate isn't technically correct for this situation, it sounded more metal to me than the actual term! So clearly that won out.

10. The War Drums Sound (On a Moonlit Clearing):

The building section of drums that Travis does right before the chorus was very different from what I did in the scratch drums I gave him. The build was so epic and then my guitar riff following just didn't seem to live up to what Travis was introducing. Similar to the 5th track, I asked Drawn in Isolation to help out again and his contribution was exactly what was needed; the icing on the cake. I love that chorus now!

Lyrically, this concludes the battle and Coral achieves defeat of the Beasts now that he has been able to vanquish his inner demons and control his state of mind.
The song title is a combination of some of the lyrics from the first verse with an allusion to the drum solo towards the end.

11. Epilogue:

Tapping is quite common in guitar solos but I feel it is pretty underutilized in rhythm sections. This was my attempt to right those wrongs!

Lyrically, with the Beasts defeated, Coral needs to now decide whether he should keep on his current chosen path or return home to his kingdom. What will he do? Maybe we'll find out in the next album!

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