So, it has been a while since I've worked on anything major in the musical area. The reasons for this are numerous, but the most notable ones were the countless hardware and software incompatibility problems that really killed a big portion of my motivation. The good news is that I've recently moved from 32-bit winXP to 64-bit win7 and so far all of the needed software is working smoothly without any noticeable problems. This means I'm back to being more active with the project(s). A new Dereleech
album following "Servant of Entropy" is now under construction. Theme-wise it is going to be a direct continuation and conclusion to SoE. The working name of the album is Dominion
and the current draft tracklist looks like this:
The Queen of Two Domains (100% done)
Immolation (95% done)
Ascetic Path (100% done)
Scorchgrid (95% done)
Pools of Vigor (90% done)
Red Scenes on the Earthly Canvas (80% done)
Deathtrance (70% done)
Intra•Contra•Supra (10% done)
The Succubus (80% done)
(The lengths are taken from the newest test versions and are subject to change.)
I've got several minutes of material sketched but I can't say much about the style yet. I just build on it until I arrive at a point where it feels complete, so I'm not sure how it'll turn out in the end. Currently, however, it kind of resembles something in between "Servant of Entropy" and "Longing for the Fallen Sun".
-------------4th Dec Update:
The sound has drastically changed since the beginning. This is shaping up to be quite different compared to any of my previous releases. I started working on "The Queen of Two Domains" as a ritual ambient track and decided to place it as the opening track. Part of the song turned out to be in a somewhat weird time structure which I'm still uncertain of but I like it. Overall I'm happy with the drum sound being somewhere between organic tribal and electronics, which I feel also emphasizes the concept side of the track.
Another track nearing completion is "Pools of Vigor" which has grown to be a mix of dark ambient and drone doom with some simplistic string orchestrations. The test recordings are still very raw but the aim is to create a balanced mix of massive drones and some "heavenly" atmospheres. The "distortion guitar" is going to be fully electronic and it's slightly bitcrushed to bring out an unnaturally monotonic drone.
The track "Scorchgrid" is in the very beginning and I have a basic idea what it'll be like but it's too early to say anything more. I have also planned the "Harmony" trilogy to include pianos and possibly very heavy drones, but I haven't started on that yet.
-------------8th Dec Update:
A total of about 15 minutes of material is done now. Started to build "Scorchgrid" and it's almost finished. The song basically turned out to be a mix of drone doom metal and dreamy ambient. It has some similarity in structure to "Longing for the Fallen Sun" in that it basically has one repeated section that evolves into the second main section and then fades out.
Also some fine tuning for "The Queen of Two Domains" was done, still need to keep tweaking one of the instruments that I just can't seem to get to execute properly. The tribal drums also need a bit more character. The "Harmony" trilogy also got some piano and string structures sketched.
I'm considering the production to be relatively lo-fi, but in a slightly different way compared to previous releases. I'm currently liking the slightly grainy sound of the unmixed draft recordings and I don't want to polish that sound much more than is needed to get the basic dynamics right.
I guess a few words about the general theme and idea behind the "sequel" would be in order as well. The theme picks up where "Servant of Entropy" ended, which is the aftermath and realization of what happened during/after the antagonist's "crusade" from the observer's perspective. I wanted to create a second side to the same story, but in a very different style. And so far "Dominion" is shaping up to be like a brand new page for Dereleech, being more rhythm and melody based and much less centered on organic/structureless ambient.
-------------24th Dec Update:
Cover art draft (or final, don't know yet) here
-------------10th Jan Update:
Hematemesis now has a nearly completed draft, but getting the sound right turned out to be a bit tricky. The really harsh and noisy drone that it has is hard to tame so that it doesn't drown everything else in the mix.
If I had to describe the album according to the currently finished material, I would say that it's a pretty even mix of dark ambient, drone and drone doom metal, and has some additional noise and ritual ambient elements thrown in the mix.
I've gotta say I have never been as excited about creating a release as is the case here. Initially it took a huge amount of painful preparation and trial&error to find all the right instruments and VST combinations to get a basis for the sound that I was looking for. So far I'm really happy with the results.
The timeline is looking good and the best case scenario is that I manage to complete this by the end of January. It's possible that I'll release a single before the full release, but I'm not sure about that.
-------------18th Jan Update:
Another short tribal/ritual ambient track called "Red Scenes on the Earthly Canvas" is now mostly finished. I added some dramatic, and perhaps a bit cheesy, brass fanfares to the song which added a certain "death march" feel to the simple tribal base.
-------------12th Feb Update: I've been having hardware problems recently (again) and the issues still remain unidentified/unresolved and they are severe enough to stop me from using heavy software involved in my work so this album is on hold until I can fix the situation. I may have to fall back on my older motherboard if my worst suspicions are true.
-------------25th Feb Update:
Updated the draft tracklist.24th Mar Update:
"The Succubus" is nearly finished. It's sort of like an "epic" and melancholic outro track to mirror the concept. I'm really happy with the result, I was able to get the feeling and atmosphere in place just as I intended. Even though it's very "outro-ish" it's still more or less a full song. It's my own favorite track on this release at the moment (but Scorchgrid comes close behind). I'd say the style is somewhere between dark ambient and funeral doom.
Major adjustments were made to the "Hematemesis" riffs as well (which is possibly going to be moved over to the "Immolation" title later on).
-------------10th May Update:
Changes to "The Succubus" in form of a new section and adjustments to instrument emphasis/power.
Adjusted the flute-like instrument in "The Queen of Two Domains" to both contrast & emphasize the brass making the progression sound a bit more chaotic/disorienting.
-------------19th June Update:
The old "Hematemesis" now changed to "Immolation", and work on the new Hematemesis has begun. The song is a bit like funeral doom but doesn't have the usual extreme melancholy in the sound. Hard to explain really, it sounds a bit mysterious I guess, for the lack of a better word (kind of has a similar feel to "Pools of Vigor" of which I posted an early version on soundcloud a while ago). It's probably the most "doom" song so far though, and I want to push the production sound to be really grainy on this one so that the only thing clean in it is the higher orchestral components (strings/brass/flute). Have to admit the drums are shitty on it atm, I really need to figure out how to compose better drum tracks in general as well. I usually resort to a very simple rhythmic thing that just smoothly accompanies the piece, and most of the time those work just fine for Dereleech's purposes but this new style is such a huge change that I simply need to rethink a lot of stuff when it comes to rhythm and percussion.
I've also had this thought of including vocals (low growls) on this new "Hematemesis" track. That is yet to be decided but it seems like it would work nicely. This brings me to another point: I've got several small passages of lyrics/concept writings that I kind of use to drive the musical direction and vice-versa. I will perhaps publish these writings together with the album, even if they're not featured as vocals on the actual album.
I've also learned a lesson from the earlier entries of this studio diary. I will now tell myself to NEVER even try to estimate the release date. I can't believe I actually thought I could finish this by the end of January like I said in one of the early posts. It was a time when I was making huge progress because I had the time to work on it a lot, and I was simply overestimating the potential. Then the fucking hardware problems came up and all that shit. Even if the hardware problems weren't there I would never have finished this so fast. I will calmly use whatever time I need and then release the album when it's finished. This largely depends on the free time I have.
-------------27th July Update:
The new "Hematemesis" is now pretty much scrapped and I started to work on it from scratch. It just didn't work in the end and was too hard to chisel into form.
Added a new track "Her Gaze" which continues as a minimal noisy drone right from the last section of "Immolation" and is also kind of a prelude or a bridge to "Scorchgrid".
Removed "Elemental Cascade" from the tracklist.
The progress has been hindered by several different reasons, one of the being that I'm working on a few separate releases now.
-------------29th August Update:
The title of "Her Gaze" changed to "Ascetic Path" due to fundamental changes in the track's nature. One section of "The Queen of Two Domains" extended, nearly finished. Rearranged tracklist.
-------------31st August Update:
"Ascetic Path" and "The Queen of Two Domains" finished. "Immolation" revamped almost completely to better fit its place, it's now a two section song (noisy drone -> some kind of funeral doom-ish sound). I'm thinking it might get some quiet low growls or other voices/vocals but I haven't decided that yet. Other than that it's nearly finished. It's likely that I'll extend both of the sections because I feel it needs to go on for a bit longer for the underlying feel to fully come forth. Same for "Ascetic Path", even though as a song it's "finished".
Not far to go anymore. I still have to create two songs from scratch but I already have a general idea for them. Then just fine-tune everything and I'm done.
-------------5th September Update:
"Your Words Mean Nothing to Me" removed and replaced by "Deathtrance" which is another tribal-scented melancholic dark ambient piece. It has a slow pulsating rhythm and a repetitive melodic concept which is mostly lead by a noisy distorted synth and backed by smoother ambient "strikes" while simple djembe beats keep the pace. The skeleton of the song is finished but it's one of those songs that need excessive attention to detail before it's truly finished (a few portions of the overall spectrum still sound kind of empty). It has a calmer wall-of-sound approach, much less abrasive than many of the other tracks so far. I also just realised that it reminds me of Forteresse's soundscape on "Les hivers de notre époque" because of the distorted synth.
-------------1st February (2012) Update:
No progress since September. Still having a hard time restoring the old setup. I've demoted this project to a secondary status for now as I'm working on other projects that I'm more interested in at the moment.