Album Notes: Remmirath - Shambhala Vril Saucers


Written by As

1. Tiger of the City

Album opener, starting things in a faster tempo to give it an energetic punch. The opening/closing riff is inspired by one of my greatest favourites - Achilles Last Stand by Led Zeppelin. Later on, we add some 80s-sounding synthscapes that were meant to illustrate the cold urban landscape mood. This track is sort of a bridge between the themes of our debut Polis Rouge and the direction of the new album - it stays within the criticism of our contemporary world & culture (rationalism, materialism, Generation Y and its narcissism), this time paraphrasing the thoughts of both postmodern philosophers (Deleuze & Guattari) and those who opposed modernity from a traditionalist perspective - Guénon & Evola.

2. Shambhala Vril Saucers

Beginning with the Eastern-influenced throat chanting provided by our new member AE, this song takes the listener deep down the rabbit hole of Eastern mysticism, bizarre conspiracy theories and also confused Western New Age beliefs. The lyrics are intentionally ambiguous and it's up to the listener to decide whether we are completely serious, half-serious or just playing around to mock everything. The truth is somewhere in between. Musically, it is very diverse - the main moog theme is inspired by a certain Slovak pop hit from the 80s, there are also traces of classic 90s black metal, 80s heavy metal, prog and even space disco. This is not meant to show off how many genres we are able to emulate, it works hand in hand with the lyrics to create a confusing atmosphere which is symptomatic for the world which we live in.

3. The Gunfighter's Quest for Enlightenment

Possibly the most adventurous song on the album since it travels far away from the usual grim and dark moods of black metal (our roots). We used a lot of fairly non-metal instruments here like melodica, jaw harp, even maracas. The beginning is kind of a psychedelic take on Ennio Morricone's compositions for Sergio Leone movies which evolves into a 60s surf rock vibe, then finally enters extreme metal territory and ends up in a somewhat space/acid rock theme. The inspiration for this one came from Alejandro Jodorowsky's movie El Topo, but just as in other songs, there are sometimes more, sometimes less obvious references to various topics, even a nod to old Judas Priest lyrics.

4. Fox Cooper

The oldest song on the album, we started elaborating on these themes shortly after our debut album came out. One of the rare occasions where we used disharmonic melodies - they are quite popular in current metal but we prefer to stay melodic most of the time. The lyrics are very playful and they basically merge Fox Mulder from The X-Files and special agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks into one person. The reason for that is, I think the contemporary UFO phenomenon is just an updated version of what people in the olden days called spirits, goblins, djinns, etc. This idea was proposed by Jacques Vallée, an American scientist who researches UFO cases in a critical and non-conformist way. The music does everything to enhance this cinematic atmosphere of paranormal, fear, paranoia and driving on lonely roads at night. In the intro we've used sounds that pay homage to early electronic soundtracks of 50s sci-fi films when the UFO theme was particularly popular. Those are mixed with a sample of the hypnosis sessions of Barney Hill that give the whole thing a disturbing touch.

5. Iram of the Pillars

We have been playing this instrumental song live for several years now and each time in a different version. It was heavily influenced by early 70s krautrock albums from Germany where a lot of the bands just dropped some acid, entered the studio and recorded whatever psychedelic jam they came up with on the spot. The strongest influence came from Agitation Free's album Malesch and Electric Silence by Dzyan - both of which incorporate exotic, oriental melodies. Iram of the Pillars is a lost city that Quran writes about and it was also used by some well-known writers such as Lovecraft or Gaiman. I wanted to make a song inspired by the Orient because I used to attend an Islamic art course during my university studies, which fascinated me and Islam as a religion is also a highly controversial topic in current world. Like with everything on the album - we don't provide a clear, conclusive commentary and let the listener think for him/herself. Our earlier Guénon and Evola references might be a key to that, though.

6. The Coming of Kalki

Knowing the mentality of usual metal fans, I can imagine them considering this final song as a "filler" since it has almost zero melody and no clear construction. In reality, this was one of our experiments with sound collages, musique concrète and noise. Which probably sounds pretentious and artfaggish, but we were sincerely fascinated by this approach and improvised with it several times both in our rehearsal room and during live performances. The inspiration came from several sources - from contemporary classical composers such as Stockhausen, Xenakis or Globokar, through the most radical krautrock bands like Faust & Zweistein to total outsiders like Sun City Girls & Nurse With Wound. Our song is a mix of a live improvisation from the rehearsal room and another acoustic session at a place where the second guitar player HV was living at the moment. Plus it adds some speech samples which I leave for to the listeners to find out where they come from. The theme of the song is the waiting for Kalki - Vishnu's wrathful avatar who is expected to come at the end of Kali Yuga - the age of darkness, degeneration and decay which we live in, to punish the deceivers and restore a new Golden Age. This hints at the direction that will be taken on our next album.