Now it's time to wrap up this series of blog posts. We hope you've enjoyed reading these texts as much as we did writing them, and we also hope we can keep up the posting, not quite as often as lately, but every now and then, so that it won't be years between posts. But without further ado, the last two tracks on the album, the shortest and the longest.
Otto: The last song to be written for the album. I remember thinking that the closing track of the album, "These Are Ashes", began too abruptly – especially if it was following the delicate outro of Lenore, like we originally planned – so it needed a mellow, quiet introductory part of sorts. A short moment of peace and tranquility to catch up your breath before the final song.
This is a peaceful little piece composed really with nothing more than several overlapping guitar parts, followed by a few rumbling bass chords that serve as messengers of what's to come.
What I really enjoy in this little song is how naturally the first part flows despite being played in a slightly odd meter (one whole phrase lasts for a 15/4).
These Are Ashes, These Are Roots
Otto: Clocking at over 15 minutes, "These Are Ashes" is a real behemoth of a song. This song is truly a Frankenstein's monster, built piece by piece, sometimes picked apart, sometimes built again with the same pieces but in a completely different order. Although superficially it is a rather simple piece consisting of just parts 1a, 1b and 2 (the last one played entirely in 6/4), its structure is tremendously complicated beneath the surface. Taking its complex structure, occasionally really odd time signatures and long playing time into account, it’s hilarious we managed to play this song correctly from the first notes to the last ones not later than in our third attempt to rehearse this song! Somehow the different parts just flow smoothly from one to another so I must say it's surprisingly easy to play a song consisting of 20 parts (most of which are never repeated) without thinking about it much.
I also must say that my favorite part of this song is that proggy, heavily syncopated, off-beat bass-driven part I came up with one time when a big thunderstorm struck us. As the thunders started rumbling, I took my bass to the balcony and just sat there, playing different melodies off my head and looking at the thunderbolts flash all around me. That specific bass melody just stuck with me and I quickly came up with a guitar lead that somehow both follows and contrasts the bass melody. It fit this song like a glove.
Henri: I absolutely nailed the vocals on this one, I must say. I mean, I like my performance on the other tracks as well, but this one just sounds so massive. Also, at this point I’d like to give a standing ovation to Olli Hipeli, who played the keyboards on the album: throughout the album, he brought out just a bit more from each of the songs, but nowhere more so than here.
Otto: Hear, hear. I must echo that opinion: Olli really did some real magic tricks to this album. "Of Woe" is definitely not a keyboard-driven album, but his parts really are really vital to the atmosphere of many songs, furthering their sonic depth and complexity tremendously.
Henri: The final rumbling part after the clean guitars bit was fun to record. We just kept adding guitar tracks with slightly different tones like “this tone starts here and eight bars later we’ll add this one and then that one.” I’d just gotten me a Black Arts Toneworks Black Forest overdrive/fuzz pedal and while it was used on all my distorted guitar tracks, I recall here we did one (or maybe even more) of these rumble bits with my amp and pedals and Otto’s guitar.
And then the choral shouts, I think I came up with the idea. We basically had everyone who came by the studio (rehearsal room, basically) do some takes. I was actually quite surprised when we recorded Otto growling, he’d never really tried it as I recall, but his voice was awesome. Others who contributed included Ykä and Antti from IA and Jere from Desecrated Grounds. In the end, we had something like 15 tracks of screams, shouts and growls. Can’t remember if we ever played the song live before starting to record the choir bits, but afterwards we’ve had Otto and Sami do the choir shouts. And the audience, if they’re awake and willing (so far, we’ve managed to get only one audience to scream along).
Of Woe or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gloom is out now on our Bandcamp page as well as Spotify, Google Play, iTunes etc.