The Writing Process: Age 1


Hey guys, we decided that since we put in quite a bit of effort to create something special for you with the Ages release, it was only fitting that we go the whole hog and give you some behind the scenes too. As such we are posting weekly videos of in-studio recording as well as interview questions put to the boys. In this segment, I will share some of the process behind writing the music on the Ages. So, to open it up I give you the short story of how Illumination was created.


This song came about when I was mucking around trying to write something in an unfamiliar key. We have a lot of songs that rely on the use of the open D string and I wanted to have a crack at moving a song onto the A string and finding an unusual placement. The opening riff has a sort of black metal-meets-industrial feel to it and I even labelled the riff in my notepad as “knuckle-dragger” due to way I played it. The verse riffs were my homage to some of the second and third generation black metal guys who have an almost pop music sensibility. Heavy, but catchy and with those comfortable arpeggios and minor chords that are familiar to anyone who blasts Dimmu, Satyricon or Watain loud and proud.  The chorus however was a big surprise; I was stuck for ages with it and almost wrote a power-chordy, hook-driven thing when in despair my fingers fell on the B flat minor chord and accidentally hit the D sharp on the bottom string. Lo and behold! The melancholic and mournful chord I was looking for! The rest of the chorus was a simple matter of finding a chord progression to suit the mood of the first chord and voila, the chorus was done. The bridge is a strange amalgam of influences, ranging from the key changing Ihsahn-style jazzy blasting, to the doom laden sing along and it was a timely idea from Gumley to create a fugue to go under the speed picking during the “Cryptic crystal, crack and crumble” part of the song. The final chorus was the brainchild of Batty who suggested we try a triplet burst feel for the chorus. It gave it that epic, broken feel that Ben put the final touches on with his bittersweet major chords and heart-breaker of a lead.


Well, I hope you've enjoyed this first installment of writing process discussion, and I hope you enjoy this picture which entirely sums up everything Hybrid Nightmares is about both musically and philosophically.


Jonny Helwinter