17 Ιανουαρίου 2017

A lengthy analysis on “Caught in this Iless storm”


It’s not easy to hold a music group or a group of people in general, together. “Caught in this Iless storm” was our first effort as art of simplicity to showcase the music we love to play. Almost right after the release we had to change line up, a habit that we would continue doing up until 2012, not releasing anything until 2016. I think the album is a good first effort. I dislike some things here and there, but it is not that bad. In this article I will examine some of the things we had in our minds when we were composing those songs, though to be clear, mostly from my perspective.

The Backdrop:

I was trying to form a band since I was 14 years old, so along with some schoolmates we began to play as “Fire Demons”. This was around 1998, and I was a Maiden fanatic at the time. The band lasted until 2000, we never released anything, we only had 3 or 4 songs, however I have a rehearsal tape somewhere that will probably see the light of day when I will be famous (meaning - probably never). In the first days of that year I discovered Dream Theater with “Metropolis pt 2”, and my music perception changed, so what I wanted was to form or play in a prog band. I tried several other stuff, and around that year or the next I found some good musicians to play with. At the beginning it was me and a singer named Michael Doukakos, and then Nikos Miras came in, who at the time was more experienced than the rest of us, having been a member of Celestial Ode, and others. We were lucky with the guitarists (with adittions like Stathis Theodorou - later on Semic Stains -  and Michael Andritsopoulos) but it was impossible to find a bassist. However we played something that could be described as a more atmospheric Symphony X, not so neoclassical but plenty enough. We never decided on a band name, but either way we also never released anything. Months before the disbandment of the band, in 2002 I discovered Pain of Salvation and they became one of my favorites ever since. In early 2003 where Nikos and myself were thinking how our new band would sound like, I mostly wanted a mix of several styles, but in the more atmospheric ways of PoS. Nikos also had some great ideas and widened my horizons on what I considered “progressive” back then - he was more willing than me to change our style every so often. Plus, we wanted to merge our influences with whoever was going to join eventually, rather than bring them to a fixed situation. I had some songs that we hadn't use from the previous band and decided to start with those, one of them was “Looks from the Mirror”.
First "photo shoot"
We met Aris Markogiannakis in the summer of 2003 and had a great collaboration for some time. At first he was not sure cause he wasn't thrilled with those two songs, but we had a great conversation so he decided to try us out. In the summer of 2002 I broke up with my high school girlfriend after 2.5 years, and that at the time was tremendous! I started writing some lyrics around the subject of break up and how I felt myself changed after this event, and others that pretty much had to do with me maturing. So…

The concept:

As with our recent EP “When fables have a bitter taste”, we are not telling an actual story but rather the songs all circle around some themes that I was interested in. Neither the songs nor the lyrics were written in the order they are presented in the album, nor were written having in mind some concept. I tried to put them in an order that would make sense as a thematic material, because I don't really like albums that are just a collection of random songs. The "plot", if you really want to see one is this: There’s a man who restless is thinking his ex (Vigil). He tries to find numbness, basically to feel "comfortably numb" (a search for numb). He examines the fear of death (from a frightened soul). He then starts to feel different, as if there is another incarnation of him that tries to break free (Iless). He is a little disgust by the way sex is presented in the world, and how several people around him using it to fill their emotional void (The Last Lust). He then realizes his actions and in a way he is not very happy, in a way he enjoys it as he tries to find some connection with his ex, in vein (Looks from the Mirror). He is however changed by those events, while celebrating his egocentricity and megalomania (nOThinG). When everything settles though he is someone else, someone with all the other personalities merged together, and anyway this trip was not all that special, as he might have thought (asymmetric act).

The line up at the time:

George Ikosipentakis - Vocals, Matthew Dakoutros - Violin, Aris MArkogiannakis - Guitar, Elias Nousi - Keybords, Alexandros Papanastasatos, Nikos Miras - Drums, Theodore Kalantzakos - Guitar (after Aris left the group)


The artwork was created by George Ikosipentakis, our then singer. The artwork for our demo created by a very good friend of mine named Jim “Ian” Screamizeas, I was very happy with the result so I suggested him to work on the album also.
The cover of our demo "asymmetric"
Aris, an industrial designer, thought that he is not fitting, meaning he didn’t want for the artwork of our first album to be something not looking professional. My friend "Ian" is not a professional artist but an architect, who has (according to me at least) a good taste. He however delivered some samples but there was a disagreement. The guardian knot was solved by Ikosipentakis who told us that as a graphic designer, he would not feel ok if someone outside of the band provided the artwork, so we all agreed that he should do it.
The unused cover we really liked

George supposedly knew what he was singing for, so I did not gave him much instructions, nor did he wanted, I only provided some goofy suggestions which thankfully discarded most of them. We didn't like the first samples, they looked too much like his previous work with other bands. Then there was the second one, the one we really liked but one day his computer crashed and lost whatever he was working on. I asked him if he could recreate it,  to which he replied that when something like that happens he does not want to work on it again, so started working on something entirely new. Sure I loved that cover, but the one we finally used looked also great, and kind of different from all his other works.

Original photo
As for the band photos, there were some other interesting projects, the original plan was to have one page for each member to express himself but George saw that this would be way too many pages, as well as egocentric, and scraped it. Our egocentricity was also evident in the "thanks" section, where almost everyone had to cut some lines, to fit the page. I knew that I was in the same page with Alexandros and Nikos who thanked the least people, so most of mine stayed intact. After I saw the final result I realized how stupid the "thanks" section looked.
The photo shooting took place in Monastiraki, near the metropolitan church.

Welcome to the art of simplicity:

Pretty much the last track we composed. I thought it would be good to have an instrumental intro, like an overture. I did not want however what many bands do - just randomly put riffs from all the songs. My idea was for several themes to blend together. I remember Elias Nousi, our keyboardist at the time, telling me that it would be a miracle if anyone could understand that this is not an original composition, but I told him that I did not care either way, because what I wanted was to set the mood for what you were about to hear next. The “vinyl sound” in the beginning was Aris’ idea. At the beginning of the track we hear the cello playing a riff from “nOThinG” (a variation anyway) as the chords in the strings resembles the chord progression of the song. The loop is there because I wanted more elements from electronica, plus it reminds us a song, an intro for “nOThinG” or something, that was ultimately not used, the kicks supposedly resembles the riff. When the kicks change, this resembles the end of “asymmetric act”. The later theme in the flute is the exact main theme from a song by Aris that we did not use. The “orchestra” then tries to mimic some of the chord progression from “…frightened”. Then the strings play a variation from the third part of “asymmetric” and the track ends, making way for Vigil. As you see there were tracks that didn’t make the cut. However we decided that “welcome” was good as it was so we did not changed it.

I had some friends that were willing to record the classical instruments, but it was not that easy at the time to gather all the musicians I wanted, so we decided to try and find good MIDI samples, and I think it sounds ok. George was afraid that it would sound like something from Atari, but after the final result he was pleased. I am also pleased because I mixed the drums almost by myself, and Nikos was very happy with the result at the time.


I knew Elias Nousi from high school; he was about 2 years younger. He had different tastes in music than me, even after I stopped being a stereotype metalhead, however the love for Pink Floyd was one of our common grounds. We were also neighbors, so there was another reason to hang around. He liked aos, so I invited him to a rehearsal. While there Nikos asked him if he plays music, he answered that he plays the keyboards so Nikos asked him to jam with us (Nikos still really enjoys jamming, especially those days had a habit of asking everyone to jam). That’s how he became a part of aos, and the reason I did not introduced him to the band sooner was because I thought that he would not want and he would not fit.
First ever live performance
On the contrary, he was very excited to be part of aos, and in just a few while after he was a member of the band he composed “Vigil”. At first it was not in A minor, that happened later, after I had composed “Welcome…” so for the two to fit together. I cannot tell you much about the hows and whys of the composition process, but I think I understand a few things. He was trying to construct something that sounded metal (or whatever he thought as “metal” cause he did not really liked the genre, except specific occasions), combining it with his rock and jazzy influences. Probably thought it was great to make the violin play in a greek folk way. George loved that song because he had all the space he wanted to sing in the verses. However he thought the lyrics were cheesy.

I know that Elias did not think of “Vigil” as the epitome of his musical talent, and the rest of us did never thought that it was the best song ever. But it was a fun song to play live, and a good warm up too, cause we were playing it first. I remember Aris at the recordings, he was trying to record an interesting solo, but I told him that it’s a fun song, we should also have fun and not try to convince we are doing “art”. So he recorded a totally poser solo, however it was fitting I think. I wanted a catchy first song and when I heard this, I thought that this would be perfect!

As for the lyrics, I had them ready before even Elias joined. Actually they were written in the early stages of aos. It was about a year after my high school graduation (and break up), when not only I couldn’t sleep, but rather I preferred to watch whatever garbage the TV was showing. It's something I started back then and in most cases maintain it still. The lyrics came to me one of those sleepless nights, while thinking of my ex, and pretty much describes the situation. I first called the song “Sleepless”, but then changed it to the current title, as homage to the album title from a great songwriter I had found out back then named Thanasis Papakonstantinou. Before Ikosipentakis we were trying a singer named Alexandros Kostoulas. As the lyrics were written before the music, they were not fitting well. He edited them and changed some things, that’s why we credited him as co writer.

“Maybe in a way it’s all about you, after all” sets the beginning of the story, as our protagonist understands that his relation with this woman revealed several issues about his personality that are about to be exposed.

a search for numb:

It was one of the first days with Alexandros Papanastasatos in the rehearsal room. Aris started playing something that we all liked it to which Aris replied that it was something he was working on. If I remember right he had the first verse and the bridge before the chorus, which I think his idea was to make this the chorus. Personally I wanted a power ballad: I wanted the chorus to be dynamic, with distortion. Nikos added the rhythmic pattern of the chorus. Alexandros was enjoying very much up until the point we told him to play a solo, he didn't like playing solos, but we all saw it was fitting, we all loved this, and his effort in general for this song, he did a great job especially in the verses. The harmony and the chord progression is pretty much simple but not at all banal, I think. The answer to the question "how the song should end?" was given by a singer we were auditioning, named Alex Papathanasiou.

It’s one of the songs that most people remember from our first album, and the one that most people like outside metal or even rock, who have heard us. Aris and Elias put a great effort on this during the recordings, since they loved the song very much.
Live in Kozani
I had the idea of the two combined solos (violin and guitar), and while jamming the song, I tried to catch some of Aris’ motives and I suggested to him to do the same. We loved to jam this song, so when played live, after the end we played what we called “a search for jam” which was a jamming session, and a presentation of the band. I think the idea was suggested by Elias, and embraced by everyone.

The lyrics were written a short time before we started working on the song. I wanted to express that feeling of being lost in your own world and not care for the anything around you, be in a state where you don’t care, and don’t want to care. I didn't want to seem like a pro drug use song, personally I have not felt a need to use. The lyrics seemed cool at the time, but now I don't really like them.

from a frightened soul:

This one is very special. The lyrics were written when we were still playing with that other band, it must have been around early 2002. I remember taking a walk with Ulysses, my dog. I remember feeling suddenly chills, and looking behind me I thought I saw someone. I was sure he was staring at me, aggressively. I looked again and there was no one. Now, I do not believe in the supernatural, not in any way you’d think by the above description. Nor I believe in god, meaning I won’t search if there is or isn’t. I do whatever I think is best in any given situation and try not to care for things I cannot comprehend. But I was 16 or 17 then, my girlfriend was a good evengelist, and I was searching to find in what I believe in. I went home and wrote down what I saw, and anything that came to my mind. It was fear that motivated me. What I wrote was not actually lyrics for a song, it was more like an essay of my thoughts and it was in greek and very impulsive. That means that much editing had to be done.

As for the music, the whole song is a copy – paste gone wrong… I wanted one of those epic, long tracks, you know? A song that would follow the lyrics’ mood, and evolve with them. The song is in E minor, and now probably is a good time to tell you that some of us did not want all the tracks to be in Em, the most common scale, and I think two out of ten is a good percentage (however in our second effort most songs were in Em, or something close. We did not have a similar goal, and it happened impulsive). Anyway, the song starts and it shows you that I have studied classical harmony. Most co – workers in conservatories admire the song. The guitar arpeggio was something I played once, as I was experimenting with the instrument. I was studying for my classical harmony degree and violin diploma at the time, so those things obviously had an influence in me. The violin plays a pseudo solo with arpeggios, something I wanted back then to showcase, since I was studying Paganini. Then the acoustic guitar enters, with Bb, Gm7 (b5) and ends in E dim. A little unorthodox for classical harmony, I know, but my father was a contemporary composer, and dissonances and atonality had a great influence on me. It ends there because I wanted a happy ending (Bb major) but then realizing that no ending is happy (E dim). In the original music text I had the B and Bb sound together, so it’s not actually an E dim, but anyway. Also the root note of those three chords (E, G, Bb) creates an Edim.

And we reached the chorus. The drums play a weird rhythm, which in the repetition becomes weirder. The first part was what I wanted, though the second part was caused by a copy paste gone wrong, though I liked it. Nikos also liked it so we kept it. So after the repetition of the first theme I did not know how to continue. I wanted at some point for this to reach a crescendo and become more groovy and psychedelic. Aris had several ideas lying around in his computer, and he gave them to us for inspiration. I remember that I found in that folder the whole delay theme, which was pretty much what I wanted there. I used it as it was, adding a guitar solo and violin playing the theme. Aris recorded one of the best solos he had ever played, almost one take. He wanted to write it again “clearer” but I convinced him not to. Then, while trying to return to the original theme (but backwards, first the chords, and then back to the arpeggio) once again I did a copy paste that gone wrong, but once again I liked it. Nikos also thought that it sounded technical, and in reality we play the same theme but the accents are different, while omitting some beats.

Then we return to the first theme, though only with piano, a decision made in the recordings, by Elias I think. That fast passage you hear is again the "chords" theme, only in double speed. You see, Aris’ file, the one I said earlier I used, was in double time. So I copy – pasted the chord theme there and the result was this (we were working with MIDI sounds). This was done by mistake, but we liked all of those accidents because instead of using new ideas every few measures we prefer to just change them, as the song progresses. After the chorus the same chords are heard as before, in the bridge before the first chorus. Originally it had lyrics but we thought it was better without. Then the last chorus and we also end in E dim, for the same reasons.

The lyrics, as I told, can be described as “thinking aloud about death, god and relative subjects”. It’s a complex song, though I was very proud of it cause it sounds less complex than I thought at first, I was ready to ditch it. However everyone else liked it, and as I said it sounded better when we rehearsed it. Maybe this is not everyone’s favorite from the album but I think it’s an experimental song, laying the groundwork for stuff we wanted to work on latter.


At one point Nikos started studying songs like Fear Factory’s “Securitron” and stuff. “Archetype” had already been released, an album I really liked, so at the same time I became obsessed with fast rhythmical kicks, in the Fear Factory style. Nikos had written some songs, only the drum parts, and wanted help to add music, so I listened to all of them, found what later became “Iless” and told him that I know exactly what I want to write. The lyrics were maybe the last I wrote for this album, and are some of my favorite, at least from this collection.

To be honest I wanted a more staccato feel especially in the guitar, but that didn’t happen. I preferred this with a drop D but Aris convinced me that it was not needed. Everyone is playing D in the intro and the violin plays a pseudo solo. This (not the solo) was meant to sound very rhythmic and kind of monotonous, while the bridge would provide anxiety. I wanted for this song to be a mix of Fear Factory with contemporary and classical elements, so I thought for the rhythm section to be tight, adding piano and violin to give a more ambient sound.

The first verse starts, very dark, as are all the verses, while the pre choruses (the original riff) are more rhythmical. The overall sound however became way too compressed for my tastes. Anyway the chorus is great I think. In addition to the pre chorus, the guitar in the chorus was meant to sound less staccato, adding the piano and violin for said reasons, virtually giving another layer to the song.

The solos are less inspired I think and this was probably due to the fact that Elias did not like the song, so we had our first fight during the recordings. I didn’t understand why we had to reach the recordings so for him to voice his argument, I found that silly. He described the song as “I am the classical harmony book and I will fall in your head and crush it”. I thought that this was silly too cause “frightened” is worse in that subject, though yes, it was not completely inaccurate. Sure it has much of those elements, maybe more than I originally wanted. Of course I discovered later that this was not his actual problem, but that’s another subject. Anyway, with the drums over-compressed we can’t hear Nikos’ dynamics in the singing part after the solos, I wanted this to give something else entirely, a little “con mysterioso”, you know? You can also hear some dissonances here, making their way more and more into our music. Now this violin solo, it’s the only place where I recorded with my electric violin (I recorded everything else with my acoustic one) cause one of the first things I wanted to do in this song was to play with whah. Everyone thought that it would sound strange but later many people where surprised, thankfully in a good way! The others were playing something else, which was way too confusing, and we thought that what you finally hear is better.

The only thing I don’t really like is the bridge that leads us to the final choruses. It is written as a classical cadence, kind of. If I could write this again, I would probably make it shorter and simpler, more surprising. This way it steals all the momentum from the chorus, which was supposed to be more powerful. Overall I don’t hate the song, as you may have thought. In addition it’s maybe one of my top three, I just think that if the performance was better, and that fucking bridge in the end, it would maybe have been one of the “hits” from the album. Hopefully we perform it live better.

I’m not sure where I found the inspiration for the lyrics, maybe Cronenberg, I don’t know. I imagined that inside me there’s someone else who wants to come out, a metaphorical transformation from the good kid to something more sinister.
The first verse may sound irrelevant, but actually it’s one of the reasons that the transformation is triggered, a way to withstand the great unknown. We then come back to Earth, into the garden of my misery. Where I was sunk into decline, lost, not certain of what the future holds for me, not really carrying. The other self is “knocking at my door”, while disappointed from failures of romantic relationships. In the third verse the lyrics actually were “just drinking and wishing a s(h)iny new day” (the “h” not pronounced), and when I told Ikosipentakis that, he told me “there is no ‘siny’ word in the dictionary”, I tried to convince him with what I wanted to say and he told me that he did not want to sing something that is nonexistent, therefore ridicule himself. Also in the booklet it says “hatchet”, but that’s because MS Word dictionary didn’t like the word “hacher” but whatever. The lyrics then asks for the listener to find my true self, beneath what I present in the outside, at this point the “real me” is buried deep. In one of the last choruses there’s the line “Trade it with everything that will make you see what you always wanted to BE”. This is an easter egg of sorts, cause this was around the time “BE” was released, so I put that in capital letters. Not much to do with the lyrics though. The song ends with me trying to understand which part of me is the real me, asking for help, realizing I’m stuck in this declineful situation for the time. A fun fact is that I later discovered that Need have a song with almost exactly the same melody as the one played by the violin on the chorus.

The Last Lust:

Aris started to play the opening riff, while we were still him, me and Nikos in the band. This became one of our favorite jams, not forming into a song for quite a while. We started thinking of organizing it around the time Elias came on board, just before the release of our demo. This is the one song where indeed the entire group contributed. At one time early in the process, Nikos realized that this should be one of those 15 minutes songs that all good prog bands should have, I was against of doing it for no other reason, but then realized myself that this was meant to be so long, considering everything we had put in it. The good thing is that it does not sound like a 15 minute song, as many have point and that’s great. Some parts of it were developed in the recording room, most of them in the rehearsal room. Unfortunately as of today we have not performed it live but it’s something we would like to do.
Nikos recording at Subways studios

After Nikos heard what Aris was playing he started trying some stuff. At times we would only play the first theme for ages, every one of us doing solos and stuff. I am not sure who, probably me or Aris, proposed for the song to go into distortion later. Nikitas Tziouvelis (then from Life Code, now UZE) is a friend of Nikos and the later was trying to find an opportunity to add him in the album. He thought it would be a good addition to this song. To be honest I think Nikos always knew how the song will evolve, in his head. For the verse, I asked Aris to play more rhythmical, and I added the violins. Or maybe Nikos wanted this, I am not sure. Now the bridge, what the violin is playing - those are two different takes, but Elias accidentally or not I don’t know, let the two to play together, simultaneously, and we thought it sounded great, giving a more psychedelic feel.

After hours of jamming Nikos thought of both the rhythmic break and the rhythm pattern for the background of the keyboard solo. The first it was jammed for ages, believe me there were millions of variations, but in the end we only put that fragment in the song. After the keyboard solo I think Aris suggested that the song should calm. This also had a million variations, we ended giving Ikosipentakis space and he did a great job, while Elias or Nikos proposed for the song to have a sax solo. I think Nikos proposed to put some brass or a flute or something, and Elias told that he knew how to play the saxophone. This part reminds me of Pink Floyd, it’s one of the best parts of the song I think. In reality no one knew how long this part was, cause we were playing it for as long as we wanted in every rehearsal, and it was difficult to count, believe me. Anyway, Nikos counted it, and recorded it as he saw fit. That made us add the delay theme in the guitar (cause as I said, it is impossible to count). That was a bridge of sorts that leads to the drum solo. I suggested Aris accompany Nikos with a slide, a technique I really like. Now I think that it was not a good idea, cause we have two solos at the same time. I think the distorted theme was Aris’ idea, and we expanded from there. We reached a stalemate there and we were not really sure what to do, a suggestion was to play that rhythmical break and get back to chorus and end the fucking thing. Nikos on the other hand had another idea, to add female vocals. None of us was sure about this, however Nikos insisted. When Elias came on board Nikos asked him to play something like what you hear. Elias also knew Athina Kamariti, the one who provided the vocals, brought her in some rehearsals, everyone was happy! At the recordings me and Aris thought that it would sound less monotonous if he added a solo, in a way competing with Athina. We may overdid it a little bit here, but anyway. Back to the chorus and finale. But the song was still not 15 minutes. We thought that we should grand Nikos’ wish, so Elias and Aris added the last section of the finale, so to make fun of Nikos' and that’s the reason why the song ends in 15:16, to be sure that there will be no complains. This was really funny. I know I did not mention Alexandros so far. His input was maybe not important in the music per se, but his bass lines were some of my favorites from the album, plus he was always good at solving the guardian knot, taking the final decision when the rest of us didn’t know what to do, during rehearsals or recordings.

Oh my god, the lyrics. The lyrics were different. Especially the chorus was like this: “Earth is our great brothel, men and women and its whores, dancing in a vile tune, singing the melody of lust”. This was before there was even a chorus, so don’t try to sing along. Aris at first thought that this was a joke. Aris however was a puritan; he didn’t want such bad language in something he was part of. I really tried to convince him, explaining the meaning and all but he was very specific. That made me really sad but anyway, I changed them and everyone was happy. The meaning is not something complex. I was kind of shocked to realize that sex is not an act of love and affection, but a way for many people use it as a way to fill their emotional void. I also wanted to criticize how the media and society showcasing sex as a taboo, making everyone searching for it like searching for drugs. This, urging people to do it for no real reason but to do it, competing with each other, seemed weird to me. I hope that everyone understand what I tried to say and not thinking me as a puritan, in any case those lyrics are also not really good.
Acoustic versions during our release party

Looks from the Mirror:

This is the oldest song from the album, though not the first aos song (more on that latter). This is a song I wrote for the other group I have mentioned earlier. I composed it some months before the disbandment. It never entered the rehearsal room however, because the singer of that group, Michael Doukakos, thought it needed more work. He edited the lyrics, that’s why he is credited as co –writer. At some point (as aos) we started rehearsing this, that’s how it ended in the demo. I was not sure if this should be in the album, as I do not think it’s a great song. However we decided that it should be, and I thought that after the triptych “frightened” – “Iless” – “Last Lust” this should sound as a good break from all the “progressiveness”.

I’ll be honest here, I do not remember anything from the time I composed it. I know I wanted a heavy song, but not much after that. I remember that the intro and the rhythmic pattern on the chorus stayed exactly as I wanted them at first. I also wanted for the second verse a combination of ride and hi – hats, in the same tempo you hear, Nikos however thought it was not great.
Also I had this cool idea for the chorus, meaning what you actually hear, the harp was originally a second guitar. This was Elias’ idea, doubling the guitar, and that was cool, cause in the live performances that theme existed, and Aris played the rhythm guitar, which made it sound heavier. As is the case with “search for numb” and “nOThinG”, Ikosipentakis had little input on the vocal arrangement, that was me and Aris, while in all the other songs he only took some guidance. This song is in G minor, as is “Last Lust”.

I do not have much to add about the lyrics. I do not have any idea what was my original idea, maybe some self searching and self realization. I used this however as a point of clarity you could say, where the protagonist realizes where he is and what he has done. He tries to connect again with his ex, any type of connection, however in vain, cause she is not looking great too. There’s this “I’m just like the hunter, waiting for my Spyder to come to release me from my choice” which is a direct reference to a great Spider-Man story by JM DeMatteis and Mike Zeck called “Kraven’s Last Hunt”.


Elias once asked me about the capitalization in all of the song titles. He was persistent trying to understand if it meant anything, especially in this song. What I said to him was that I felt they looked better this way. Ikosipentakis when he created the artwork changed the capitalization though. When I asked him he said that he felt they looked better this way.

This is the second aos song (because first we composed “asymmetric”, then this, and then started playing “search” and “Looks”). The opening riff was one of Aris' ideas. Then Nikos started playing double pedal and Aris and me followed. We then thought that this should be intro, so the verse should be calmer. Anyway things continue that way, up until the second chorus. We did not know what to do next, and Aris thought that the song so far is nothing special. Nikos had the basic idea for the bridge you hear before the ¾ time. We edited this; it was longer and not that great.
Another acoustic show
However he had that ¾ lying around and wanted to use it. I thought it was a good addition, while combining with one of Aris' ideas. Then I had another great idea: Play some other ¾ tempo he had around and Aris would play the original theme of the song. When Alexandros came on board he added the slap part. Everything else continued as you might imagine.

This is something we like to do a lot: Have two or three riffs and themes around and as the song progresses you think that we play something different, but in reality we only change the rhythmic pattern for example, or something else so it sounds like something new altogether. This is how we like to experiment with our material and ideas, change them a couple of times, play them up tempo, then down tempo, then whatever. You can see that all the themes and riffs in “The Last Lust” look like each other, or resemble each other. This was not done by mistake, and as I said this was the case with "frightened".

The lyrics were around at the gap between the disbandment of the previous group and the formation of aos. I remember I was pissed with something and this is what I wrote. I do not remember specifics, sorry. Maybe it was god, however I think that there was also a girl involved with which nothing happened. I remember however some good points, like when it says “architects and mechanics” it’s because at that time I had several friends who studied those degrees. Something else is that I like to say how enormous is “my empire”, however small,”a point in the map of nothing”, and “a grain of sand in the endless beach”. My thinking was that maybe our universe is nothing but the microcosmos of something else. You can clearly see my cosmophobia here. I used the song in the “story” as a way to show that our protagonist, after the “moment of clarity” in “Looks” he finds himself to be something even different than before, in full awareness of what he is doing, but with more megalomania, like a comic book super villain.

asymmetric act:

This always makes me emotional, since it’s the first piece we composed, and it’s practically the beginning of aos. It also reminds me of the time where we all thought we would become rock stars and how naïve we were back then about several things concerning how a group can be held together and the music industry in general.

Me and Nikos agreed to collaborate again. We had many conversations so to agree on how we want the new group to sound like, how we wanted to work and all the other stuff. We auditioned not many guitarists, maybe one or two, before Aris, I met him through the ad we posted. Even though he didn't really liked those two songs he came for a rehearsal, however upon meeting Nikos he told him his opinion. Nikos and myself were ok, and we started jamming. At that moment Aris played the intro from “asymmetric”. In our first rehearsal we jammed, up until the end of the first part. Everyone was happy and we decided to collaborate. That was actually the very first and only thing we played. Nikos wanted the second part of the song to be more acoustic and ambient. You can notice however that from there on it’s only Am – Gm, while up until that point it's pretty much Am - G - D. Everything else happened very fast; I mean the piece is simple. Maybe in the third or fourth rehearsal we had reached the end, and had a little disagreement on what to do. There was another riff Aris wrote, after the violin solo. We thought that it was too much and the song ended there, however at the recordings Aris told Elias to put that there, maybe as a reminder or something I don’t know, but I liked it, it was like seeing an old friend. You can hear it in the background by the keyboards, around 5.28, where the violin starts.

Aris wanted to record a new solo for the album, "a better one" as he told. Everyone else told him that he should not change the solo whatever it takes, even when Theodore Kalantzakos came on board me and Nikos and everyone else were very specific NOT to change this solo, and this trend continuous today.
Along with Theodore on the guitar
Funny thing is that before Alexandros  we were auditioning some other bassist. He tried several stuff but we didn’t really liked them, so we gave him some instructions. I met Alexandros a day or two before our rehearsal, and I invited him to join. We listened in his car a recording without the bass, once or twice, but when we started the rehearsal he played stuff almost identical to what we instructed that other guy! In our demo there was this sentence about Alexandros saying “[He] was instantly seduced by the impressive harmonies of 'Asymmetric Act'". This was added by him as he loved the track very much from the very first moment. When we were searching for names for the band, “Ian” (the guy who did the demo artwork) suggested “asymmetry theory”, a reference to “Metal Gear Solid”. Aris had a better idea, but I liked the suggestion, and I thought the word “asymmetric” was fitting for the piece.

The pros and cons:

I think there are some very good compositions here, at least for a first attempt you can see that we can write a good and interesting song. There are some songs that I am very proud of, such as “frightened” and “Iless”, cause there was much personal effort in them and I think they sound good. There are other tracks that I like them very much such as “asymmetric” and “nOThinG”. The performance is good, though not as great as it should. The big bad is the production. Sure it’s good, considering we did it ourselves and we did not had much experience at the time, there are some very good aspects like the sound of the violin, thanks to the so-called “sauna” we constructed (cause the recordings took place mostly in the summer, and believe me it was hot in there!). At times it sounds too “progressive”, in the shredding term of the word, something I do not like, but on the other hand I think we play less technical, over-confusing music than most bands in the “prog” genre. It also bothers me that it has so many things going on and sounds a little directionless. One other thing in the “cons” tag is that we promoted this as “progressive metal” and in retrospect I think it was wrong, mostly considering how some people responded to this, considering our music. Truth is that at the time we thought that it was the most fitting, having in mind the word “progress”. We sure sound like a prog metal band, but I think the term “experimental” or something would maybe be better. However we never liked labels so we didn't cared for it that much.


The worst photo of everyone at the time photoshoped together
The album was recorded mixed and mastered during the summer of 2006. While searching for label we started working on new material. Burning Star Records, a newly formed and at the time promising label was interested in us and scheduled a release for the 17th of December 2006, however it was delayed to the 16th of January. The album got several good reviews, some mediocre, and a few bad, the overall feeling was that it is a good first album. Burning Star must have sold around 500 units, we have sold a few ourselves but I have not counted for a long time now.

We scheduled some performances so to promote our material but we had some bad luck, with Nikos' car accident, and Aris leaving the group soon after the release for his own personal reasons (he then formed Fractal Veil, with his guitar teacher). Almost a year passed, our label closed shop and George left the group (After a while he also left Fragile Vastness, and joined InnerWish). We could not work with Elias after a while and Alexandros did everything he wanted to do with music, so we parted ways. Several other stuff followed and in 2016 we released "When Fables have a Bitter Taste".

As I said, it is what it is: A nice first album, with several mistakes that we tried to correct in latter attempts. The line up did not stick, but even though it took as a while to release something, it was worth it. At times I get emotional, as with “asymmetric”, cause this is our first attempt to produce an album, and I like to think that we did good, all things considering. After a while I became more cynical and better prepared, and this is the only thing I miss, a time that I was more naïve, not thinking the bitterness of everyday life. Anyway, I hope this will give you new perspective to our first album and our music in general, or make you want to listen to it, eager to see what I am babbling about. It can be downloaded for free, or any price you may want through BandCamp, for CDs just contact the band.

Thanks for reading!

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