1. “Red All Over”
Travis Ryan: Just a song about violence. Nice and simple… And bloody.
Leon del Muerte: The fastest song I’ve ever written. This one and “Under the Weight…” were completed towards the end of the writing cycle, but I knew for sure that this would be the opener. That’s two-for-two on opening songs at 260 bpm. The intro kinda lulls you into thinking we totally pussed out.
2. “Under the Weight of the Wood”
Travis: My parents thought it would be a good idea to send me to Catholic school. Early in my childhood, they tried the whole Christian thing and my mom seems to be the only person who really held onto any kind of faith, really. My dad was a lawyer and my mom a paralegal, so they were doing alright and wanted ‘the best’ for their kids. In a way I’m glad they did because I’m sure it helped shape who I am today and in doing so they inadvertently turned me 180 degrees away from all organized religion. I like being mean to Christians through my lyrics especially… and Jesus. The guy who told us to befriend our enemies…. cuz, you know… that always works in real life…. if you want to die that is. Anyways, the title of this song is actually the title of an old church standard our old bat of a ‘music teacher’ we had in school would always make us sing. Little did she and the rest of the staff know that it would one day turn into this, a harsh, mean-spirited prodding of Jesus on his way to Calvary.
Leon: I wrote this one at almost the same time as “Red…”; this one was a little bit of a departure. Not quite as fast, and with some kinda ‘fun’ chord structures. Even though it is chock full of simple riffs, this one is difficult to play correctly, because it bounces all over the fretboard from riff to riff. Travis wanted to cut the closing grunt on this one, but it’s got that cool barfy sound, so I kept it in there as long as I could. A little bit of that Martyrdöd jangliness in the verse riffs. We called this one “Space Metal” for a long time because the riff towards the end reminds me of something that would be on an episode of Star Trek or something.
3. “No Question, No Comment”
Leon: I think this was the first song written for the album that came away without too many changes. Lotta 3/4 in this one, which isn’t one of my favorite time signatures for blast beats, but to keep pace with the “half-blast” of the chorus riffs, it had to be that way. I think this one also has some 15/8 (8/8+7/8) and other weird time signatures in it. I tend to think of 3/4 accented blasts as being a bit too pirate-y, but what’re you gonna do. I think the opening riff and the last riff were both beats first and riffs written second, which is kind of a goofy way to write. Danny will record beats and then we write the riff on top. At least it breaks you out of the box of your own typical style. The second solo riff may or may not be lifted almost completely from a certain Swedish band. It’s not really, but it reminds me a lot of uh, something…
4. “Gold Digger”
Leon: Probably the most straight forward song on the record. It’s actually pretty ‘fun’ until the middle part. Kevin came up with the high-pitched counterpoint that really makes the middle part so powerful, along with Travis’ howling. There’s a break where I play by myself after that middle part and I did a whammy dive on the last chord of the riff. It was so stupid sounding that we decided to double it and keep it. Also a few 15/8 parts in here, if I recall correctly.
Travis: This song is about someone that goes for the cold hard cash, turning their back on everything else in the process because of the gold and silver blinders they have on. Shame on the douchebag.
5. “Compelled by Mediocrity”
Travis: Everyone thinks this song is about ‘djent’, a new ‘movement’ of incestuously motivated kids who are trying to be Meshuggah as if that style wasn’t screaming obviousness like fuckin’ Harold and Maude at a funeral (if that didn’t show my age, nothing will). Sadly, its not… this album took so long to come out (what, 9 months or so?) that when I wrote this, djent wasn’t the cool thing yet—it was deathcore. Remember that? I know its kind of hard because that was almost 52 weeks ago which means 52 flavors ago and even with the Internet being born in a kid’s hands, it’s still hard to remember way back like one whole year ago!!! Point blank this song is about hiding behind a couple strings when you’re playing a fucking 9-string guitar of all fuckin’ things and somehow being praised for it. That praise is indicative of where we are heading. If kids are that much into weakness, we’re in trouble. Not everyone was made for this. This song goes out to those who think they were… this week. At the end of the day, it was written out of just wanting to have fun and taunt the Internet generation. They can fuckin’ take it once in a while, jeez.
Leon: Another sorta old one. I really like that people have gotten super pissy about the lyrics. It wasn’t even about what half the people complaining about it thought it was about. [Laughs] As far as the music goes, this one is probably the most collaborative track. The first riff is Kevin’s, the second Caleb’s, and third mine. Even the whammy-dive part over the blast was actually Danny’s idea.
6. “The Next Life”
Leon: This was another very early track for the writing cycle, but it was completely different. There’s actually video out there of us playing it the original way (and Travis announcing it as “NNEEEWWWWW SOOONNNGGGGGG 2″), but something about it just didn’t add up for me. The flow was kinda broken in two, so I took it home and completely re-wrote it. Some of the original riffs are in it, but it’s otherwise a much longer song (previously, it was about 1:20) with a lot more twists and turns while presenting a better flow. We called the solo bass part the ‘Maryland Deathfest Riff’ because I could just see that one getting the pit started immediately. It’s for the kids, man! The last riff was the biggest departure from the original and from most of the rest of the stuff on the album. 5/8 and 6/8 butted up against each other always sounds cool to me, so the last whole section is all that. This one is definitely meant to end ‘Side A’.
7. “Dead Hope”
Leon: This one is Kevin’s baby from start to finish, and probably my second favorite track on the album next to “Red….” It’s got parts that are somewhat similar to Exhumed-style riffing, but I didn’t write it. [Laughs] There’s also a lot of Kevin’s own weirdness in here that I love. This track came up so close to recording that I didn’t even have time to learn it correctly and Kevin recorded all the rhythms. I recorded one small part I wrote on the second riff, but this is otherwise all him and Danny. Love this track, and can’t wait to play it live.
8. “Feign Ignorance”
Travis: Some people need to speak up more often instead of being so passive, especially if they feel the same way as someone who lets their thoughts be known at all times. To some extent of course—we don’t need everyone walking around like they’re a customer on that show Hardcore Pawn or some shit. Then again, this song could be about them too. Just do something.
Leon: Another Kevin song. I didn’t even notice until right now that we put both of Kevin’s tracks right up against each other. Again, a lot of his personality shining through here. I wrote one riff in this one, but the structure and everything else is all Kevin, including the harmonics at the beginning. This one features Trav’s ‘singing’ voice most prominently. That part reminds me a lot of Voivod for some reason.
9. “Mercy, Mercy”
Travis: My uncle Paul used to play this ‘game’ with me and my sister where he would put us on bar stools, spin us around until we were either about to puke or pass out and tell us all we had to say was ‘mercy, mercy’ and he’d stop. Well, he’d never stop. Jerk. When I was 9, my parents were having a party at the house and I was walking around sneaking in the little bits of wine in people’s glasses. My uncle saw me doing this and filled up a whole glass with white vinegar and called me over and pointed to it and told me to drink up. I thought it was a nice White Zinfandel and proceeded to down that shit. Of course he was all “Yeah, drink up!” and as it went down my throat I gagged like crazy and ran to my bedroom crying and embarrassed. I eventually gained an appreciation for his antics and I love the guy to death so the title of this is for him, the lyrics not so much.
Leon: Caleb’s song. I just barely learned this one in time for tracking. The part in the middle where the guitars stop and it’s just feedback was actually written in when we screwed it up at practice. We were playing the song, but neither Kevin nor I had learned that riff yet, so Danny and Caleb kept playing while we were looking at each other blankly, with no idea how to play along. [Laughs] It was kinda cool, so it got written in and is now my favorite part of the song. I think that only the d-beat riff in this song is in 4/4, but I haven’t really counted it.
10. “Malicious Guilt”
Travis: I used to really only have nightmares. There’s a couple in my life that have been recurring that used to plague me but it’s been years since I’ve had ‘em. One was I was part of a family that was trapped in a GIANT gymnasium and we couldn’t figure out why we were there or how to get out and I’m sitting there wondering who the hell these people were anyways!?! But the song is actually about the other one: Somehow, at some point I had killed some dude and threw his head into a pond by my old house (I actually found it on Google earth yesterday. [Laughs]) and it wouldn’t decompose—it just constantly bobs up and down there and the woods around it would always be glowing. The other half of the dream is my friends and I for some reason were freaking out about getting busted for killing some little girl and burying her. The fact that we did it, the not knowing if someone else would squeal, the intense guilt we would feel the rest of our lives… just really fucked with me. Was it my conscience fucking with me? Or was it just being afraid of getting caught? I’ve always had the knack for being able to bring myself out of dreams and stop them. When I would wake up from this one, the extreme amount of relief would hit me and the rest of my day would be killed wondering who that girl was, who killed her and why the hell am I having this stupid nightmare anyways!?! Doug Marsch of Built to Spill said in a song “no-one cares what you dreamt about unless you dreamt about them”. I agree, so this is the only place people will read that this is based on a dream cuz otherwise, who would give a shit?
Leon: This one I had serious reservations about. [Laughs] The first riff was something I wrote a long time ago and shared with the guys, but Kevin, Caleb and Danny put this one together during a single practice I missed. I wasn’t too sure about it, and I eventually added the ‘solo’ riff, but it came out pretty good. It’s another fun track and the aforementioned solo is the most hilarious thing I’ve recorded in a long time. Kevin has a huge board with tons of effect pedals and things, which is the total opposite of my setup. I just have a tuner and a channel switcher. I borrowed a few of Kevin’s things and this goofball solo was born. It sounds like the toilet on the Deathstar or something.
Travis: Initially I wanted Juan Brujo to do some guest vocals on this but in the 25 or so years he’s been doing Brujeria, everyone in a band that knows him has asked him to do the same for their band and thus he just doesn’t do any. Why the hell didn’t I think of that? Anyways, I love singing in Spanish, I love hearing Spanish done through the death metal filter. That’s literally the reason for this song. That and I love Border Wars and felt like fucking around with the subject. Plus it confused the shit out of Leon and that’s always fun.
Leon: This one is, uh, multi-cultural. [Laughs] The music was written before the lyrics, including the outro, but I hadn’t shared my ideas for the outro with anyone else, so no one really knew what it was gonna sound like. So it’s in Spanish, but the feel is much more middle-eastern. As a big Secret Chiefs 3 fan, this was a simple homage. In fact, we had a lot of trouble recording the outro. I wrote a LOT of music for it, but two people flaked, another guy’s (Joe from Intronaut) instrument almost broke in half while we were tracking and so it came out the way it is. It’s not bad, but I wish we coulda used all the music that was written…though it mighta made it a garbled, incomprehensible mess if we had. The final riff is in such a mess of different time signatures that it was difficult to tab it out and show others how to play it. It goes from something like 8 to 9 to 9 to 7 to…I don’t know what the fuck. I like how the album is in like a lion and out like a lamb, a sorta cooling-off period after the rest of the album has already kicked the shit out of your speakers.
** Murder Construct’s new album, Results, is out on now on Relapse Records. It’s available HERE on CD and vinyl. Now, the only thing missing from Results is a bonus disc of Leon and Travis doing commentary over the music, which would be Darkthrone-like awesome. Of course, you could just read aloud what the two of them have stated above while playing Results to create your own color commentary. Oh, bring a friend.