HELL – Curse & Chapter
- by Kev Bower
- Posted on 21-11-2013
Only few days left until the release of the second HELL record »Curse And Chapter«, which will be out on November, 22nd.
Kev Bower (guitars, keyboards, main songwriter) talks about the track listing for »Curse And Chapter«: Following up ‘Human Remains’ was never going to be an easy task. The multiple ‘Album Of The Year’ awards, the amazing reaction from fans and the media alike – we always knew that our second album was going to have to be something quite special. And so it was with this in mind, that work started seriously almost two years ago, with myself and Andy Sneap laying down the first rough song studio demos – songs which the band would take out on the road, playing some of them at selected shows throughout 2012 and early 2013 to try them out on audiences first, before committing them to a proper recording. That proved to be a valuable experience, with the songs evolving, changing and developing into what everyone will hear on the finished album. Here’s a short resume of the tracklist, and how everything came together.
1 GEHENNAE INCENDIIS
‘You only get one chance to make a first impression’ someone once told me. They were right. Many people were fascinated at how ‘Human Remains’ ended, with the sound of a huge door being slammed shut. But what could possibly be on the other side of that door – and what unspeakable nightmares lay in wait there? We open that door once again, and now reveal the answer. But be warned that this is no ordinary door – this is a gateway. A portal to another world………
2 THE AGE OF NEFARIOUS
The album’s opening track was originally brought to the studio by me sometime early in 2013, and the music was written around a killer set of lyrics from David, who has become responsible for a substantial proportion of the lyrics and vocal arrangements on this album. It makes perfect sense – he has to deliver these lines with passion, and what better way to ensure this than to deliver words from his head and his heart. Andy’s massive skill and experience as a producer helped me to arrange this into a song which twists and turns numerous times before reaching its inevitable conclusion.
3 THE DISPOSER SUPREME
The first of ‘Curse And Chapter’s’ ‘old’ HELL songs which we have reworked from the 1980’s. What can one say about a song which changes key 17 times and time signature 12 times all within the first 3 minutes? Like many things which we do, it shouldn’t work – but it does. This song very nearly made it onto the first album, and it’s a total pleasure to present this updated version now. With this, and some other songs on the album, I especially enjoyed revisiting and recreating some of the vintage analog synthesizer sounds which I originally used. Digital is fantastic for soundscapes, orchestration and choirs, but for good old searing lead lines, you just can’t beat the warmth of oscillators, ADSR’s and filters…..
A song written about Aleister Crowley’s infamous attempts to raise the demon Pan in a Paris hotel room in the 1930’s. This track evolved in exactly the same way as ‘the Age Of Nefarious’, with Andy helping to rearrange and structure my original music into something more coherent, and with David taking my original lyrical ideas and transforming them into a great story about one of the most notorious occult events in history. The intro soundscape features the voice of Crowley himself, lifted from an old wax cylinder recording.
5 HARBINGER OF DEATH
Every HELL album will feature a pure cover of a RACE AGAINST TIME song. Last time we did ‘The Oppressors’ – but this one was always my all-time RAT favorite. It’s our way of paying tribute not only to the sadly missed Dave Halliday and keeping his memory alive, but also to acknowledge the outstanding talents of Alan Short, RAT’s bass player and joint songwriter. We’re honored to feature Alan himself and Geoff Green (former RAT drummer) guesting on backing vocals for us on this one. A total dark joy.
6 END OV DAYS
One of the advantages of having another talented songwriter in the band is that he will come up with something like this. Deceptively simple, but epic in arrangement and execution, this Sneap creation once again features David’s apocalyptic lyrics and vocal arrangements. Surely destined to become a live favorite. The word ‘Ov’ incidentally refers to witchcraft in Hebrew….
Who still does instrumentals these days? We do……. This was originally the B-side of our original 1983 vinyl 7", and I used some of the themes to create the intro music for the ‘Human Remains’ album, which has subsequently used as our live show intro ever since. Here it is again, now in its full-on reworked final 2013 version, with a new intro soundscape I created as a metaphor to show what I think religion really contributes to our world….
8 SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
This was actually the first song I wrote for the album, and we jammed it through many times as a 4-piece band during one of Andy’s lengthy production absences in the USA. We played it live and tried it out at shows as long ago as December 2011, and despite a few small changes, it’s remained more or less as written. It perfectly demonstrates how this band isn’t afraid to be musically different, combining driving heavy riffing with elements of progressive keyboard-driven melody, all set against a backdrop of dark and twisted lyrics. Once again – it shouldn’t work, but it does…..
9 FAITH WILL FALL
Another new song written by Andy and David. Total heavy metal thunder. Whilst Tony Speakman (bass) and Tim Bowler (drums) don’t get involved in the songwriting process, their contribution to the overall and unique sound of HELL can never be underestimated, and the solid rhythmic bedrock which supports a song like this is perfect testament to their ability as one of the tightest rhythm sections in metal.
10 LAND OF THE LIVING DEAD
We had so many fans disappointed that this song didn’t make the final cut of ‘Human Remains’ that we didn’t really have any choice but to include it this time. As with all original 1980’s HELL songs, it’s remained almost completely true to the original version, but more precisely played and with modern keyboard technology being used to drive it along even better than the first time around. Probably the nearest we ever got to writing a song which could become a surprise million-selling hit single…..
11 DELIVER US FROM EVIL
So shall we include this one on the album – another 1980’s HELL live favourite – or not? One of the challenges facing an intensely theatrical live band is that songs which are live favourites (thanks largely to the insane antics which accompany their live performance) sometimes don’t necessarily translate into good recorded songs. So we recorded it anyway, and planned to maybe use it as an audio-bonus track on the DVD. Then we listened to it again, whilst subconsciously stamping our feet, waving our arms around and banging our heads in unison, and thought ‘Hmmmm…..yes we should……’
12 A VESPERTINE LEGACY
The closing track, and a re-telling of the FW Murnau ‘Nosferatu’ masterpiece movie story from 1922, but told from an entirely different perspective – that of the sad creature himself, and the husband of the girl for whom the creature’s fascination eventually seals his fate. I’ve gone to town on the keys for this song, using a whole variety of ethnic sounds of instruments such as the Djembe, Santur, Yayli and Zurna, to create a dark musical landscape for the darkest of all stories. And if anyone can create a heavier riff than one used in here, I’d really love to hear it.