Pantheist - Amartia (Song by Song)
|With:||Kostas [Vocals, Keyboards]|
05. First Prayer
This is a quite vocally based track. While composing it, I had a huge Orthodox church in mind, in which a row of monks are chanting continuously, bringing the sheepish audience in ecstasy and trance. The song textures are influenced by Eastern/ Byzantine music. Apologeia is a Greek word which means as much as 'explanation'. It explains the main premise of this concept album: an individual is going to commit the seven deadly sins one by one, challenging god to punish him. By this he hopes to prove god's existence.
How do you translate gluttony musically? It wasn't an easy task, so I looked at things metaphorically. I see this sin translated as 'hunger for life', since the church dictates an ascetic, world-denying lifestyle. Hammond organ has been used to give the first part of the track a warmer feel. This part is also -quite unusually for us- based on a major key. The wonderful guitar based middle part is the work of Nicolas, and a melodic solo leads to the electronics of the last part of the song. However, the electronics are very dark and they take you on a bad trip in outer space, rather than on a dance floor. The last part of the lyrics ponders such pantheistic thoughts as 'If I'm the world and the world is god, how can I find my creator?'
03. Envy :
A very venomous, hateful slab of doom death. Quite simple, yet effective song structure. The main character envies god for the paradoxical nature of his essence: from the one side he has omnipotent power, from the other he shows deep apathy towards the world and doesn't use that power to change anything for the better. As the lyrics go: 'Let them destroy each other, cut each other in pieces/my god I envy your apathy'. The part ends with eastern scale based melodies on the strings over which a guitar plays another simple, nice solo.
Another track based on eastern melodies and textures, as well as on a major key! A lot of melodic guitar lines, and even a groovy organ solo! We must have gone crazy. By far the catchiest track of the album and it shows in the appreciation of the audience. This could be the centerpiece of our live set, if it weren't that we haven't played live in 1,5 years due to constant line-up changes. The lyrics don't leave much to the imagination: 'O, how I long for the tender flesh of the virgin'. There is another version of the song on our '1000 years' demo, but compared to this, it is almost unrecognizable except of the main melody.
05. First Prayer:
Here the atmosphere changes dramatically. This song seems to cut the album in two, as the first four, more dynamic songs are now followed by four introspective, orchestral tracks. Black clouds gather as the main character fears god's reprisals for his sins, and turns to an ancient goddess praying for forgiveness. But also here he encounters silence and the person turns back to god, challenging him with another four sins. Once again there are subtle eastern influences interweaved in the song's textures. There is also a very strong influence from the music and orchestrations of the Italian legendary composer Ennio Morricone.
I think that in this song, the music reflects the feel of the lyrics very well: it reflects pride and dignity. The first line of the track 'I'm proud to be myself…' indicates what it is all about: the glorification of individualism. The tone of the second part of the track is set by a melancholic piano theme, repeated over and over again on the grand piano, while the orchestrations and guitar harmonies swell more and more towards a climax just when the track starts fading out…
This track is mainly instrumental, except for some whispers and chanted harmonies towards the end. Some hear a Dead Can Dance influence; others speak of Burzum (I guess the atmosphere is slightly comparable to a track like 'Han son reiste'). It contains perhaps Nicolas' nicest guitar solo, although it is shamefully buried in the mix. It is definitely a stand out track, although people don't seem to agree whether it is in a positive, or negative sense, hehe. The chants at the end are mainly sung by Andy by inspiration of the moment, since we were running out of time and we couldn't come up with any effective guitar solo's -as we had originally planned.
This track has a very epic feel. Its unrelenting slowness reflects the sin 'sloth', as the main character indicates that he would prefer short-term gratification and ready knowledge above the difficult way through life experience ('I risked my life's redemption/for I am dying to know/ whether annihilation awaits my soul/ or into hell's fire I'll be thrown'). Notice also the pessimistic view of the person, as he thinks that he has two options only: eternal death or hell's fire. The change into the grunted part towards the end of the song is one of our favorite parts in the album.
Contrary to the rest of the album, this is a very fast black metal track with blastbeats to reflect the frustration and anger of the main character. Having understood that committing six of the deadly sins hasn't changed anything and god hasn't reacted yet, he decides to commit the ultimate sin: to kill god. The character describes how he is going to stab god to death, while another aspect of this concept becomes clear: he has been fantasizing all along about committing the deadly sins, rather than actually committing them. This gives an interesting twist to the story line, as it becomes clear that it is a story about madness, rather than religious rebellion.
Metanoia is another Greek word, and it means 'regret'. Inevitably, after the (perceived) death of god, comes a feeling of emptiness and regret. The main character will have to live now in a cold and heartless universe, where he becomes himself the sole bringer of meaning, so the responsibility weighs heavy on his shoulders. The pace is slow and the keyboard/guitar leads very melancholic, to reflect this feeling of emptiness. The speech at the end of the track is taken from the B movie 'Robot Monster' (as well as the samples in Lust and Sloth), something that no one seems to have noticed until now. This movie is a bit like the mascot within the band, having seen it at least three times and being able to recite some of his memorable dialogues, is a requirement for those who want to play for Pantheist, hehe.
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