Track By Tracks: Ba'al - Soft Eyes (2024)


Joe's lyrics on this track are about growing up on the autism spectrum and the isolation of being misunderstood and excluded as a child. The constant balance of over-stimulus and calming techniques is something that many struggle with, and when this starts in childhood it can really play into how you deal with things as an adult.

Musically, this song started with the opening few riffs that our bassist Richard penned during lockdown (including some really awkward chord shapes) and the groovy ones later that guitarist Chris came up with. The atmospheric section that links them and builds up was something that we jammed out in the room based on a chord progression our other guitarist Nick came up with on the fly, so it really was a collaborative effort that was pieced together quite organically. Based on ideas from Joe, Chris also added the opening, nostalgic samples of birdsong, and a tape player before the heaviness kicks in.

Once Joe had the lyrical concept, we felt that the transitions between styles and sections fitted nicely with the idea of feeling like a misfit, and we added the intense, noisy climax to really hammer home the uncomfortable side. The gothic keyboards were also a late addition penned by Richard but really fleshed out by guest musician Graham McElearney, upping the drama. The closing moments of clean guitar and vocals plus Richard's distant viola are something of a soothing balm before the noise piece (penned entirely by Chris) leads into the next track.


This track is about an insistence on finding one's own path in a society that seemingly doesn't respect artistic and sensitive people. It's about finding self-worth in a world that sometimes tries to convince us we are worthless because we don't fit a particular mold.

The bulk of the song is made up of post-metal riffs from Chris and Richard, with Nick working his lead guitar magic over the top, but the chugging, Mastodon-inspired breakdown was a key addition from Nick that is equal parts satisfying and confusing to play every time. Luke's insatiable love of prog also leads to him experimenting with cymbal accents in groups of 5 or 3 over the breakdown riff in 9/8 to add a little extra flavor. Luke's general approach for the drums across all our songs is to accentuate the guitars while trying to avoid having too many grooves that feel the same; it's very easy to just play the first thing that comes to mind, which is often a tried and true beat, but playing around with varying that can often and a little extra spice and uniqueness.

The final, drawn-out chord progression that loops over the end of the track was one written by Richard, but we all spent a lot of time making the different repetitions each having their own character. Nick added in different layers of both rhythm and lead guitar, Richard and Luke varied the feel with the intensity of the bass and drum lines, and Richard also penned the transition from synth pads (again backed by Graham) to a full string quartet arrangement, featuring guest cellist Alex Marshall alongside Richard on viola and violin.


Hatred and prejudice poison the vessel in which it is contained. Having such beliefs harms the person who holds them and if they can let go of that they will be opened up to a much better life. When writing the lyrics to this track, Joe didn't want to do a patronizing "racism is bad" song (we'd like to think we're already all on the same page there!), but rather wanted to offer an actual solution, in that abandoning such prejudice is beneficial for everyone, while retaining them is harmful to all in some fashion. The name and some of the references in the lyrics come from the Battle of Bamber Bridge, which Joe used as a set piece to illustrate these ideas.

Many of the riffs in this song were ideas that Nick wrote during lockdown, from the delay-soaked guitar motifs at the beginning to the atmospheric black metal riffs that follow, to the churning, sludgy beatdowns in the middle of the track. Chris' underlying rhythmic guitar part in the opening section actually uses a synth guitar patch on his Kemper, and then there's an actual lead synth part that Chris also wrote, whilst the bubbling synths that sit in the background again come from guest synth master Graham. The string quartet was again arranged by Richard and he performed it alongside guest cellist Alex.

The riffs in the back half of the song also originate from Nick, but we all added a lot of different rhythmic, melodic, and textural ideas to build the song out into the densely layered piece that it is. Before Nick's clean guitar outro, the sample of the gunshot and crowd hubbub is intended as a final reference to the historical battle which is the framework for the lyrics.

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