The Writing Process:The Second Age


Hails Nightlings! It is time once again to delve into the madness that is the writing process for Hybrid Nightmares, and this week I will be shedding some unholy light on how we went about writing "In The Labyrinth". The Second Age was always a tricky one for us because it had to tread the fine line between the peace and melody of The First Age, but prepare you as an audience for the sonic onslaught that The Third Age presents with the theme of War. We also faced a challenge with our first acoustic track with clean singing in "Only The Dead Know" but more on that in coming weeks. Here for your reading pleasure is the story of how "In The Labyrinth" came into being. "In The Labyrinth":

So to start with, credit must go to Gumley for creating the raw bones of the song. We met up at his studio one Sunday arvo and he was wriggling in his seat, literally unable to sit still because he was excited to show us the song he had written for the Ages project. He played through the whole thing for us and our immediate reaction was that it was too melodeath for Hybrid Nightmares. We all listen to and appreciate melodeath in one shape or another, and have mad respect for the local bands who put their own Aussie spin on the genre, but for us, it was too similar to what had already been done. Gumley was stricken, forlorn and generally a bit put out.

After we had played a viscous round of HORSE out on the basketball court, Gumley tasked me with "blackening it up". I knew straight away that the core of the song, the structure and the flow of it were fine, it was just the techniques and the scale that were giving us grief. So I immediately shifted it into our tried and true G Harmonic minor over D scale that gave it that Behemoth/Nile/Lamb of God sound and incorporated more of our "melodic chords". These chords are a staple part of the Hybrid Nightmares sound, and simply put, they involve barring a power chord on the bottom three strings while using the other three fingers to work a melody at the same time. We first used this technique on Mourn Not The Dead, and the chorus of Emperor is one of my favorite examples.

Using this scale and implementing the melodic chords, we quickly found the direction the song needed to go in, the tech-y bursts in the verses were our homage to the melodeath origins of the song and then the extended periods of double kicks brought us right back to classic HN sound. Ben still hates playing this song the most simply because he was absent for the writing stage on this one and when we brought it to him, he realized he was left with playing long sections of very fast tremolo picking that take a toll on his hand and wrist. If you watch him during live shows, you can actually see the hate rising like a red tide behind his eyes during those sections of the song.

Loki brought the lyrics in relatively late on the track and he was adamant that 'dust' would feature prominently, but the rhythms and rhymes he span on the track showed that it wasn't for a lack of interest that he was late with the lyrics, but rather that he was working hard to make sure it was exactly the way he had imagined it.

The guitar solo at the end of the track is another little nod to the melodeath beginnings and when Gumley showed us the finished solo, we all thought it was the best solo Dethklok never wrote. We still sing it out loud when we practice it, showing that a solo doesn't need to just be flashy and technical, but catchy as well, with lines that stick with people.

I hope you enjoyed reading about "In The Labyrinth" and that you like listening to it as much as we do playing it (except Ben who is a grouch).

May the Obelisk gaze upon your soul and find you worthy!


The Writing Process: Satya


As we approach the dawning of the Second Age, it is time to conclude the epic chapter of the writing process for the First Age. For this final installment, I have asked Ben to give me his rundown on how he went about writing the introductory piece of beautiful acoustic music he composed for the CD. This is what he had to say:

"Satya began as an experiment, an attempt to write a song from a chord progression rather than from a selection of brutal riffs.
I had verses, choruses and a heap of bridge parts, but there was one section that I felt reached a lot deeper, evoked the right mix of melancholy whilst making you wonder what was coming next. (That’s the part where the drums come in in the finished product). The combination of steel and nylon string guitars juxtapose a strong, bold statement and a quiet reflection respectively (that nylon string broke it’s back soon after, sadly - nothing lasts forever...)
All it needed was a melody to tie everything together, which was originally going to be performed with choir style vocals. In the end, we all decided the guitars alone had a sort of simple beauty to them that we didn't want to diminish.
As Satya came together, it became pretty clear that it was the perfect intro to the First Age. When Batty first performed the drums for it, it was pretty much just the one take, as real as possible, that was needed to give Satya the perfect lift in energy needed to introduce the First Age.
Satya is strong and ordered, but it does give a hint that perfect order is intrinsically fleeting and perhaps even oppressive. The solo tries to push outside this order, playing with rhythm and tonality to hint at the changes to come".
So, there you have it. The completed account of the process that went into composing the First Age. I hope you have enjoyed our reminiscing and the inspirations behind our music. I shall keep posting as the Second Age is released and we spread the will of the Obelisk.
Stay excellent.


The Writing Process: Dead Star Goddess

Hey guys, Jonny here. I know it's been a while, but hey, sometimes reception in space is just shit-house. Now that I have escaped the black hole (which admittedly I should never have flown into to retrieve my frisbee), I can continue to illuminate the thoughts and ideas that led to the creation of the songs you hear on the Ages release. This one has caused a bit of a stir amongst reviewers and fans alike. It is perhaps the strangest of the songs on the First Age, a true amalgam of styles. Without further adieu: Dead Star Goddess:

Dead Star was a bit of a mash up when I put it together, anyone who is really familiar with the band may recognize some of the bridge riffs from an older song which got scrapped before we recorded the self titled EP. The opening chord progression and chorus sections were my attempt to understand how Ghost writes some their music. When I found that first chord that you hear at the start of the song, it reminded me a bit of Aussie black metal heroes Ruins. From there I attempted to create a Ruins interpretation of Ghost and the strange aggressive/melancholic melody of the first half of the song was born. Ben has a shredder of a solo during the bridge and Loki put some really quick rhymes over those pummelling riffs. I think lyrically, the song is quite a beautiful blend of epic mythos and applicable philosophy.


Short and sweet I know, but honestly this song came strangely naturally to us and was one of the easier ones to get the structure down. It can't all be aches and pains, sometimes a song just works and there really wasn't much to it. It is one of my favorites off the Ages release and I hope to hear feedback from you guys... so I can laugh and show the guys, so that they can laugh... then we will destroy a star system to celebrate...there will be much mirth. Thank you Earthlings, for showing us this "humour" you hold so dear. It is the only thing that has saved your puny planet thus far...that and Krispy Kremes. SpaceGod Bless America.




In the Studio. Monthly round up


At the end of each month, you will find the Episodes of "In the Studio" right here.