Saturday, 6 July 2013

War Without Choice

This is the first song I ever wrote. It was written in 1994. I wrote the lyrics before I could play guitar and had an idea of what I wanted it to sound like. I found the right notes on the guitar when I was learning, some before I even knew how to play properly. Musically, it's pretty basic, especially the rhythm guitar. It's a heavy metal song, but it has a raw punky feel to it. As I say, I was only starting to learn the guitar when I wrote the music. Even the mid-section melody is kind of dissonant and discordant, but I think that adds to the intensity of the song, which the clean tone guitars might lack compared to the distortion sections otherwise.
Lyrically, the theme is as the title suggests. A soldier in a war that he did not choose to be in. The story line starts off with a merciless enemy attacking. The soldier in question reflects back on what turned out to be a bad career choice. He didn't have the education to get the jobs his well-to-do former school friends had, so he joined the army on an apprenticeship scheme. The intention was to gain his qualifications there and then get out and pursue a civilian career. But an unexpected war erupted and he had no choice when ordered to fight in it. The song continues with the soldier getting shot and the enemy showing no mercy.
I say "wrote" the music, but composed might be a more accurate word for when I originally came up with the music. I put the music to paper in the late 1990s/early 2000s. I revised the music recently and the current version, on paper, is more accurate to how I always played it. I also had a go at putting the first guitar solo to paper for the first time, when revising it recently. I had an idea of something inspired by Jeff Hanneman's solo in War Ensemble, but with a wah pedal, when I first wrote the song. I'm actually quite pleased with what I came up with now. I always knew what I'd do in my solo. But the song is written for two guitars. I take the second solo and the other guitar takes the first solo. What I came up with for the other guitar solo is still open to interpretation and feel, by the other guitarist but there are plenty of semi-quaver fiddly bits and some tremelo bar action, without a cliche dive-bomb. So I think it will definitely enhance the song with the right guitarist playing it.
The bass is not set in stone (or paper, for that matter). It's completely open to interpretation. It can be a Steve DiGiorgio-esque extravaganza, or it can be something that sticks stringently to what the rhythm guitar and drums are doing. I suppose the only rules for the bass are that it must not go off key or off tempo and must compliment, if not enhance, the song and it's theme.
I haven't written how the drums are to be played because I don't know how to write music for drums. But I can show a drummer exactly how I want them played. I've pretty much made up my mind on the drums for it.
Despite how basic it is, musically, it's one of my songs that I'm happiest with as it is.

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