Anubis Gate Posts Track-By-Track of the Songs on "Horizons"
Band Photo: Anubis Gate (?)
It's no secret that the members of Anubis Gate are great at what they do. In 2009, they won a Danish Metal Award for Best Production for their album, "The Detached," and were nominated for another two (Best Album and Best Cover Artwork). Their last album, self-titled (reviewed here), brought them even more critical acclaim and a rave review from us. Further, their latest effort, released just in April, entitled "Horizons" (reviewed here) also received high acclaim and another rave review from us. Capturing the eyes of the progressive metal genre with each release has always been Anubis Gate's style, although the concepts at play behind their lyrics may require some extra explaining.
Fortunately, much like their attention to background soundscapes, the band took some time to focus on and reveal the concepts and background of the songs themselves, as well as some of their feelings about them. Drummer Morten Gade Sørensen, bassist/vocalist Henrik Fevre, Guitarist Kim Olesen, and guitarist Michael Bodin sound off below.
--DESTINED TO REMEMBER:
Henrik: You are destined to remember this song - it's got a catchy chorus and a very exciting and unexpected drumtrack, both very significant to the song, so it should be easy. I think this is a classic-style Anubis Gate song and a great opener, not far from ”Hold back tomorrow” from our previous.
Kim: Showing my love for Katatonia's “Dead End Kings” album, I wanted to toy with something that was 4/4 but sounded like an uneven time signature. Jacob Hansen was like ”wtf” when he heard it the first time. And I’m sure so was Morten Gade Sørensen, who also had the ungrateful task of having to play it. LOL. One of the songs that Michael Bodin squeezed himself into in the later stages of the album, giving a great counterweight to my spacey ideas.
Michael: Kim asked me to do the middle part of this great song. I listened to the tune a couple of times with the gap in the middle, and suddenly the ideas came tumbling down on me, and I think the result is very nice.
Morten: An excellent album starter. It builds up nicely with the groovy repeating drumparts. Actually this song introduced a completely new piece of hardware for my drumkit – a fixed hi-hat right beside the ride cymbal. Otherwise it would be completely impossible for me to master the alternating ride/hi-hat pattern.
--NEVER LIKE THIS (A DREAM):
Henrik: Metal meets electronica. This is as poppy as we get on this one. The chorus was written by Kim Olesen, I did the verses, and the instrumental middle was done by our former guitarist, Jesper M. Jensen - one of two songs that had contributions from Jesper on this album. This and its other half, ”A Dream Within A Dream” are probably the last two songs ever by the trio that wrote songs like ”Snowbound”, ”Beyond Redemption”, ”Yiri”, ”Options” and ”Hold Back Tomorrow”. Exclusive for this one is the fact that the lyrics was written by Kim Olesen.
Kim: Often my ideas for a chorus comes when sitting at the piano or when driving in my car. This one came on my way to work and I made sure to record it on my phone so I would’t forget it. I had the phrase “Never like this” in my head, and Henrik and I had talked about linking this song lyrically and thematically with the long track. But Henrik got stuck writing the lyrics for this one. Normally, that would be the death of a song but once in a while I do have a lyric in me that’s not embarrassing. So I wrote this one.
Michael: This is the pop song of the album. It´s a very catchy song and I love the way Henrik is cranking his soul out in the verses.
--HEAR MY CALL:
Henrik: If you're looking for the influence of new guitarist Michael Bodin on the Anubis Gate sound, look no further - ”Hear My Call” is basically Michael's riffing put through the Anubis production line. The lyric is about an injured athlete and his struggle for life. Actually one of quite a few real life stories that tend to end up on our albums from time to time. Perhaps you're not aware of it, but ”The detached” is in fact a true story... (well, not really, but ”Snowbound” and ”Purification” are).
Kim: Pure Michael, and precisely why we wanted him in the band. It didn’t really have a chorus (or rather, what was the chorus ended up as the bridge instead) so I wrote some chords that might be it. And then Henrik came up with the vocal lines for it. It may well be my favorite chorus of all Anubis Gate choruses. Michael plays the great solo in the end of the song. I had just bought a new mic for recording acoustic guitars and the spanish guitar solo was just me trying one take to assess how it sounded on a spanish guitar. We kept it in.
Michael: The guys wanted me to have a song on the album that was mostly my ideas. I was so inspired by the music that already was made for Horizons that it wasn't hard to come up with Ideas, but the chorus I came up with was a little to weird and Kim called me and asked if it was alright that he changed it, and of course it was. Next day he wrote to me that he had made a new chorus, I listened and it was a great piece, but it was not a chorus in my opinion. I called him and we talked about it for a couple of minutes, and then he said: Ok, I think I´ve got it, and the same evening the chorus was finished and it suited the rest of the song so beautifully. The middle part of the song was meant for singing, but Kim did this great acoustic solo and I just loved it, and we agreed that it was a keeper.
Morten: The riffing in this song is really heavy. It so much calls for the awesome bass parts which are very present. Fantastic Spanish guitar part.
Henrik: A kind of sequel to ”Hear My Call” like, what would be the afterlife to a fatal accident. One of my favorite tracks on this album, 'cause it goes so many places and through so many moods along the way. Not your average metal track by any means, this is multi-layered music courtesy of Mr. Olesen.
Kim: Me, my new mic and having a go at tuning the acoustic in DADGAD tuning. Becoming technical, the chorus was one of those where we put in one chord that didn’t “belong” in the key. Notice how the vocal makes downbeat shifts in the middle of the verse without pulling the ground away under your feet. I don’t know how Henrik came up with that but I think it’s brilliant. This song suffered from “feeling slow” on the demo until Morten tracked his great drums for it and gave it the much needed “push”.
Michael: This is one of my favorites, I just love the way this song is building up, and Henrik's voice gives me goosebumps. This is the perfect mix between music and vocals.
Morten: In the studio I had great attention to the power of the hi-hat to control the feel as the song progresses. I also found this to be a perfect track for running.
--REVOLUTION COME UNDONE:
Henrik: The world tends to overlook powers that can't be measured or seen by human eyes. Most of us are simply not taught or open enough to see the changes going on, so there could be a revolution going on and we don't even notice. For a long time the pre-chorus and the chorus were actually placed as verse and pre-chorus waiting for a chorus that never came. Instead came a new intro and verse, pushing the whole thing on to something else. So sometimes these ”bricks” can be moved about completely before the song is finished.
Kim: This song changed so much. Henrik wrote a lot of it but it needed a verse and a middle piece. The middle piece was the easy part. Michael wrote it, with solo and all, and it was great. As was Henriks stuff for the song. The verse was another story. I wrote one to match an acapella Henrik had made. But my contribution really sucked. I kept working and the more work I put into it the worse it got. And in the end we agreed to either drop the track or completely redo the verses. Which then took 5 minutes max. Sometimes the fastest ideas are the best. The breakdown in the second verse was Henrik's idea.
Michael: The working title of this track was "Socks in empty halls". I must admit that that the socks are gone and a really heavy tune came to life. I had the honor to do the middle part of this song too, and I immediately thought of a breakdown ending in a solo, and I´m happy with the result.
Morten: A really fun song to play. Straight forward drumming with a few gotchas.
--BREACH OF FAITH:
Henrik: I think it was Sting (from his days in The Police), who once said that every decent rock band should have at least one song about a hooker. Theirs were of course ”Roxanne”. Likewise lots of film directors and composers have at least one title dealing with war and/or the poor lives of the soldiers who return from war. I never thought I was going to join that club, but here I am. It just came to me very naturally and I figured.. what the hell. Another personal favorite from the album. Intro by Mozart, followed by something reminiscent of U2 gone metal….
Kim: For every sufferer of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome out there. The idea to use this little quote from Mozart came from our old drummer and it developed from there (or got out of hand, depending on whose side you are on….)
MIchael: I just love the chorus of this song, The vocals are so beautiful.
Morten: Lyrics are amazing.
Henrik: The dark horse of ”Horizons”. The verses were messed about and done in many different versions over a long period before we ended up going back to the first version. And for a long time, actually up until it was finally mixed we were unsure of its qualities. Luckily it turned out great and quite interesting once it was finished. It's all about having save-the-world ideology when you're young and how the commitment usually fades when age and comfort kick in.
Kim: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I apparently thought the verses were broke, until we realized they weren’t. The second verse however didn’t quite return to the original. It has another root key. The third verse is different, being just massive amounts of guitar chords before the tension evaporates in the coda. The start of the mid part has a fun story to it. In the nineties Michael and our first vocalist, Torben Askholm, were in a band together (Northern Empire in case you are wondering). Their third album remains unreleased so we loaned that piece from there. During the drum recordings Morten remarked that the intro sounded just like Iron Maiden. (If Iron Maiden had ever played in 9/8 that is). I hadn’t noticed until he said it. And indeed his grove on it sounds somewhat reminiscent of Nicko Mc.Brain.
Michael: One of reasons that I was hired to Anubis gate, was because Kim heard an unreleased album of a band called Northern Empire, where I played with Torben Askholm, and Kim was impressed with some of the weird riffs on the album, and he asked if we could borrow one piece, and I thought it was a great idea. The result of this song is so strong, and it is track that you can listen to again and again.
Morten: I love the Iron Maiden-ish riffing in the beginning of this song. The song progresses so naturally between the parts - to the dark atmospheres and back.
Kim: A curious one. An attempt at being “epic and short”. I had a song idea, with vocal lines, but it didn’t really go anywhere, and was too much like something by The Cure or maybe Achilles Last Stand by Led Zeppelin. Not bad as I like both bands but not really a fit for a metal album either. Then Henrik had the chorus (that only comes once near the end of the song) and the guitarline that starts and ends the song. So far, so good…. It was close (in my mind at least) to being dropped at that point. That is, until I went searching for possible cover art, and came by greek artist Nikos Markogiannakis’ homepage and found the cover on his “unused” page. I was struck because that was so close to the visual image I had when I started writing the song. I took it as a “sign” and resurrected the song making it much more metal. And on top of that we let ourself inspire by the cover art lyrically.
Michael: This one has a "funny" mix between something Iron Maiden could do if you mix it up with an 80's pop band. It is a song that has grown a lot on me and when we reach 3.05 in the song, Henrik makes his part, and I must surrender. It is a great tune.
Henrik: For the first time Kim and I both wrote the music and the lyrics for a song. It's close to what you would call a through-composed song, and in that light it keeps amazing me how simple it really is underneath. Most of the time it's the same three chords repeated with different topping, the same three chords that several Iron Maiden songs are based upon.
Morten: Great title song!
--A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM:
Henrik: A big brother to ”Never like this (a dream)”. The first part of it is literally a reprise of ”Never like this (a dream)” but with different lyrics and a very different arrangement. Then it goes on to become a beast on its own – at only 14+ minutes. The lyrics were inspired by the film ”Inception”, but the storyline has nothing to do with the film what-so-ever. In the studio Morten showed off by doing the full 14 minutes of drumming in one take. Most of it is what you hear on the album. It could easily have been the final track on ”Horizons”, and often very long songs end up there, but we thought: Let's go against that and add a little encore at the end. A little afterthought perhaps.
Kim: In my mind I was trying to avoid making a long epic, but my mind let me down it seems…. The part before the last chorus was what initiated the song, and it grew and grew and before anyone could say stop it was the longest track we’ve ever done. And we even edited about a minute or so out at places where it seemed to collapse onto itself. Jesper has written some great stuff this one and kindly let us use it, and his playing, on this track. I couldn’t imagine this track without his contributions so that was a nice treat. Michael has a solo at one of the places where Jesper is playing so that makes a nice “bridge” from the past to the future too. I finally got my courage up and did a real “slide solo ala David Gilmour” on this one. Something I’ve always wanted to do but never seemed to be able to fit in.
Michael: I can only say one thing about this song: Fucking love it, put on your headphones, and welcome to the world of Anubis Gate.
Morten: This song really progresses drumwise. I think it is the first time I ever recorded a drumbeat so ”popped” as the intro part. But the drum intensity develops very nicely as the song progresses – also alot of different feelings on the hi-hat here and there. This is one of my favorite songs, with so many layers to dive into. Because of the diversity, the song doesn’t feel like being 14 minutes long.
Henrik: This one was originally written for the s/t album, but didn't make it for some reason. The oldest song on "Horizons", if we ignore the mid part of "Mindlessness". We never did anything as close-up and intimate as this before. It's basically just me and an acoustic guitar. The first full song I ever wrote for Anubis Gate. Usually I find it most interesting when we write together, but this one just happened to make it on its own... Well almost, 'cause later Kim arranged the stunning band entry and changed the meters of that section as well, which gave it the volume that was needed for it to close the album properly.
Kim: I loved this song from the first time I heard it so it was good it finally found a home on this album. After the “epic-ness” of the long track we wanted to be a bit more intimate with the listener. Hope you don’t mind being that close to us. One of Henrik's finest moments.
Michael: I think this is a great ending of an album which is coming so many different places. Love the change of meters when it turns heavy.
Morten: A very intimate song. The drums ended up as a first take on the album.
"Horizons" was released on April 15, 2014 through Nightmare Records.
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