Lilim was written with the express purpose of being an opener that sets the tone right out the gate: we’re here to kick your fucking head in. I love the way albums like Passages into Deformity and De Anarkistiske An(n)aler open with these whirlwind assaults on your senses, and I wanted to follow that violent tradition.
Maenad starts off at a crawl, the sonic opposite of what you hear in Lilim, but gradually builds up its intensity as the song unfolds. Personally, I wanted to have something that was plodding in pace without delving into the type of Incantation worship that we’re all so familiar with. I feel like the brutal death metal influence starts to announce itself on this song in particular, as there are a lot of subtle “Diego Sanchez moments” with the guitars peppered throughout.
Okeanos was the final song written for the album. Harry and I met one Sunday morning and just said “fuck it let’s just write a straightforward banger”, or about as straightforward of a banger Succumb can write. We had such a fun time writing this one, and we knew almost immediately it would be the first single for XXI.
Smoke was a song that went through many phases of being written, re-written, scrapped, and written again. It’s built off this Malignancy-meets-Conqueror riff and barely lets up throughout the song. In the end, we feel that it toes a fine line with taking the listener on a journey while still retaining that visceral energy that translates well into a live setting.
Graal was sonically inspired one night at Cheri’s house looking at pictures of ruined monasteries in Indonesia. I wanted to convey the expanse of time, the juxtaposition of the regal beauty and foreboding nature of these ancient structures, and the eventuality of imminent ruin.
Aither, like Lilim, was written with the intention of being as violent and disorienting as possible, giving the listener zero time to breathe. I wanted to go for something like Insect Warfare meets Axis of Advance meets Malignancy, and with those three elements thrown together the end result is sure to be anything but pleasant.
Soma was the first song written for the album, and it seems pretty different from the rest of the album. We had a lot of time to work this one out on the road while on tour with Pyrrhon a few years back, tweaking little parts here and there. This one definitely has the most groove, and the spacey drawn-out section is something that we as a band had never tried before.
The way 8 Trigrams opens is meant to convey a militaristic building of tension — the rallying of the troops — so that when Harry finally kicks in with the blast it is this great release of energy, like the first shot being fired. The remainder of the song is meant to display the various stages of conflict until the bitter end. Nuclearhammer’s Serpentine Hermetic Lucifer was a tremendous inspiration for me while writing 8 Trigrams with the vast wide-open sonic images that are conveyed on that album, I really strove to achieve something of that nature here.