It is difficult for me to recall my musical thinking circa Old Ways. I was a teenager listening to Judas Iscariot, early Burzum, and Today Is the Day as well as a lot of harsh noise and power electronics. I recorded these tracks in disparate sessions. Only two tracks, “Teeth” and “Snail”, have bass guitar. The detuned mandolin of “Snail” marks the earliest appearance of microtones in my work. Once the instrumental and vocal tracks were recorded I processed them over and over, running them through multiple passes of distortion, flanger and chorus until the results sounded appropriately delirious. When programming the drums, I limited myself to a small selection of drum samples chosen because I disliked them and thus would be motivated to process them into something better. Much of the digital harsh noise was created by opening non-audio files as audio. Finally, I overcompressed the tracks until they sounded like they were crumbling. This method of working was enjoyable but left little room to grow and I subsequently struggled to find a way forward.
The album's lyrics are meant as a sort of satire on the black metal trope of warlust, one way to utter the useless Nietzschean “yes” to life. The album's title is meant to refer to another black metal trope–the yearning for a fictive past–and is also the title of a Neil Young album.
The beasts arrive in waves. All are slain, infolaser rounds exiting their bodies from obscenely large wounds before extinguishing. Newer arrivals slip in the omnipresent crimson. Primitive weapons clash against one another as they fall to the ground. Wails of understanding. The mass of corpses threatens to pierce the ugly sky.
Track Name: Teeth
A pale dwarf-wraith keels over, fatally injured. Mouth gaping, revealing long, curved and yellowing hook-like teeth, it vomits a chunky white substance with the texture of curdled milk. It foresaw this long ago, but now cannot believe. Crimson patches darken a miniature black cloak. Small hands clutch at the brumal air.
Track Name: Round
The psychedelic round of energy rips through the body of the screaming ghoul, rending its thin flesh and removing a large section of its crooked and winding spine. The monster howls further, levels reaching deep into the red and clipping. Blood surges from its wound. A gentle hum: negative space.
Track Name: Peace
Bodies lay upon bodies. Soon the sun will rise, soiling them with clinical certainty. Compound eyes and black carrion wings will serve as a dismal reminder: even from death, indeed particularly, life emerges. But now, waning moon reflecting in slick blood, far from light’s harsh betrayal, there is peace.
Track Name: Snail
A bipedal humanoid rat releases a sandpaper-throated screech as most of its internal organs exit through a huge hole in its furry back. Large and small intestines launch forth in whip-like arcs, briefly straightening into perfectly even ropy lines. A massive snail-demon explodes into fragments of confetti: red, green, blue.
Track Name: Death
The voidpistol’s infolaser rounds crackle and lash through the air. There is a clatter of blade against blade. Theta waves falter, move to delta. Crimson blood bursts from endless lesions in thick snake contortions against the mournful snow. Pain ceases localization, becomes something indescribably vast. Life grinds into death.