In the Studio: The Occlusion

Everything has changed...

Studio Report by Juha Untinen, written 2 Oct 2013

The composition of the next album to come began soon after the release of Infocalypse, while the band was waiting for the vocals for Devoid of Life to be recorded. Enter April 2011, and the first two songs. The new pieces started off quite wildly as a result of adding the legendary Boss HM-2 into the toolbox. Thus the songs Three-Step Oblivion (now called "Confined") and Corporate Machinery were born, mixing together extremely distorted guitars of old Entombed/Dismember style and a futuristic mixture of dubstep and DnB drum lines. The songs worked well and eventually turned out to be the inspiration for an entire album in the electronic metal style!

The next songs took a while to take shape. It wasn't until October 2011, before two more tracks were completed - although neck-to-neck. The songs were Transient Line (now "Glitch of Creation") and Mechanicide. The sound of the two songs, in addition to the previously written two, finally solidified the course of making an album fully in this new soundscape. The sound is very different from anything done before by the band, and in so, serves as a strong addition to the palette. Perhaps even pushing the boundaries of electronic metal...

With the new direction selected for the album, the road was made clear for a whole array of new songs to do. Armed with new methods to write them, the inspiration netted 7 songs throughout the year 2012 and they would form the main body of the album. A further 6 songs were finalized in early 2013, bringing the total song count to a far larger number than on any previous writing sessions. As all the songs had turned out to be of high quality, there was little room for leaving anything out. That led to the decision to also make a new EP, Impenitence, which would continue the idea of keeping the more experimental tracks on EPs.

With most of the new songs using drum machines programmed with MIDI, it was time to give another staple of electronic music a shot. Loops! And what a tasty group of songs that resulted in! Starting with the first song using drum loops, Chronologic Disorder (now "Below Radar"), the approach gave another angle for the songwriting process. Layering several drum loops to create a whole new groove led to some extremely rewarding results, and when combined with experimental and heavy guitars, it produced a whole new futuristic sound.

Since the majority of the songs were cohesive in style, the remaining writing process went smoothly. The last missing pieces of the puzzle were "Demigenetic", "Legacy System" and "The Origin", which were completed within a 4-day span. With the completion of these songs, the album was ready for pre-production, during which the songs would receive a lot of listening attention. The process concentrated on tweaking the arrangements, sounds and fixing parts that needed some overhaul.

Finally, when we were happy with how the demo versions sounded like, and the close to final tracklist was chosen, it would naturally be time to start recording the album. As has been the habit with most of the previous albums, this one would turn out to be just as quick to record as ever! Within the space of a mere 14 non-stop hours of recording, all the guitars for 18 songs were completed: 4 rhythm tracks, plus 1-3 lead guitar tracks per song. Not too shabby! As these songs are more about the industrial and cold feel, we decided to also tighten the stuff up with some extra studio magic, for that final extra oomph and razor-sharpness often associated with industrial. Another new thing for us!

The last piece in the construct is to capture the essence of Mikko's vocals. That process took place in the usual Kemi office throughout the autumn of 2013. Much artistic freedom was given to him to experiment with the songs how he felt fit, and thus the vocals were finished with the aid of Teemu Miinala.

During these recording months, the band also continued to actively rehearse for upcoming shows in the more traditional style. A good slice of the back catalogue was chosen for this endeavour, and even a lot of previously never played songs are included in the rehearsal setlist.

The final step in the creation process is of course mixing and mastering, which was handled by Juha after a break in the previous album. There are some new techniques and plugins at work this time around, in an effort to once more take the sound to new heights.