Tobias Gausemel Backe, der Gitarrist der norwegischen Band SIBIIR, hat zum aktuellen Studioalbum Ropes ein Track By Track geschrieben. Wer schon immer einmal wissen wollte, was für Einflüsse die Songs auf dem Longplayer – erschienen bei Fysisk Format – haben und was die Texte bedeuten sollen, wird hier fündig.
This is the first song we finished for ‘Ropes’. It felt like a natural opener and first single for the album, as it feels like a continuation from our debut album. The opening of the song is maybe the most “black metal” part on the whole album, alongside the bridge. We had played this live a couple of times before going into the studio, so it was pretty straight forward to record it. The lyrics are about how we use up all the natures resources, and how we’re letting down future generations.
This one is based on an old idea that I just wouldn’t let go, and just had to bring back to new life for this album. We had been struggling with how to make it sound SIBIIR enough, so we just put it the vault. The main riff is so simple, so we had to figure out a way to give it the attitude it ended up with. And it didn’t have a proper chorus. Now it has. The lyrics are about how people show compassion and sympathy for others that have it worse than themselves, as long as it doesn’t inflict with their own interests. Keeping their backyards clean.
FOR THE FEW
This is tuned down to drop C to make it more Gothenburg than Oslo. A song that had been with us for almost two years, but we spent a lot of time back and forth on it before agreeing on its shape and form. This was the second single, and it just felt right to release it the same day as we played Wacken Open Air. Fun fact: Andreas Westhagen, who produced our first album, joined in on the gang vocals at 0:38. The song is about greed, selfishness and the increasing wealth gap.
A TRAIL OF FAILED ATTEMPTS
According to the Norwegian band Skambankt every album needs a shuffle song. This is our shuffle song, this time around. The song is based around the main guitar riff and the drum pattern, which are almost working against each other to create a pulsating and almost hypnotic groove. We felt that the chorus needed something different, so Jimmy ended up dubbing his screams with layers of clean vocals. We’ve even thrown some acoustic guitar in there. The lyrics are quite personal and revolves around the issues Jimmy has about getting older.
Maybe the most experimental and dynamic song we have made, at least taking into consideration what we’ve done before. There’s actually art by accident on this one. We made a mistake in the bridge when we recorded the demo, which our co-producer Øyvind thought was so cool that he insisted doing it on the album as well. Jimmy had a hard time finding a cool idea for vocals on the chorus on this one, so the rhythm structure for the vocals on the chorus is my doing. That’s why I dub him on the whole chorus, I guess. The song is about how we see beggars, drug addicts and homeless people in the streets on a daily basis, but we choose to ignore them, totally indifferent to their shit.
THE SILENT REPENT
The working title on this one was 666. Why? Two reasons. It’s in 6/8, and it’s a hell of a beast. I love the contrast between thrashy verses and the groovy choruses, and how we bring back the verse in a completely different form at the end. We wanted the bridge to be as evil as possible, and I think we pretty much nailed it. Reverbed piano, pads and Jimmy dubbing his screams with some grind core type growling. We actually sampled our own voices to make the pad (aptly named Sibiir-o-tron) that comes in at 2:03. Jimmy’s lyrics are about how we’ve lived lifetimes in wealth and prosperity, but now we’re starting to realize how it’s taken its toll on the world. Now, maybe facing humanity’s biggest challenge yet, we’re left with hindsight and uncertainties.
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BLURRED FLICKERING PICTURES
This is a song where most of the guitar ideas are from Jimmy. Usually when Jimmy brings riffs to rehearsal, he plays them sloppy and asks for them to played faster and better. These ones he actually could play. We wanted to make a slow doomy gloomy song to balance out the mid tempo and faster tracks. To make it even more doom, this one is also tuned down to drop C, and I made some pretty ominous sounding synth sounds for it. If you listen carefully, you can hear the click from a distortion pedal being stomped at 4:17. The lyrics are about the feeling of waking up not knowing what happened night before. Just hints and glimpses that trigger the anxiety to build.
One of the few songs we played live before recording the album. This track is maybe the most open one, it feels like there’s a lot of room in it, but it’s also the track with the most layers and different elements. Piano, lots of synth, space echo, the Sibiir-o-tron again, acoustic guitars, choir and so on. You can hear our co-producer Øyvind in the background on the choruses. There’s a part here where neither Steffen nor I play any guitar for about 10 seconds, that must be a new record for us. And oh, haha, there’s a sound at 4:26 that sounds like a shaker or something. That’s just me laughing through my nose while sitting at the piano. Jimmy is singing about how society has become more and more shallow, and it’s reflected in what you see on TV, in music and in newspapers. The lack of content seems constant.
One of the first songs we had a draft on, but maybe one the last ones we actually finished. When we started to talk about the track listing for the album, we all agreed pretty quickly that this one was the closer. Much because of the big part at the end. I really like the contrast between the death metal verses and the groovy choruses, the cold bridge, and then the huge end part. It feels like a natural ending of the album. It feels like we’re standing on top of a mountain with the wind in our hair, or something like that. Jimmy is trying to sing as clean and beautiful as he can on that part, but he ends up half screaming anyway. And it sounds beautiful to us. The lyrics are about how we yet again see right-wing extremism growing. Seems like we’re blind to the past and that history haven’t taught us anything. And that’s not beautiful at all.