One Step Beyond - Beyond Good And Evil (Song by Song)
|With:||Mad Matt [Bass, vocals, guitars, drum programming]|
|Conducted by:||Raiden (e-mail)|
One Step Beyond
|Album info:||Beyond Good And Evil|
01. True Faced
02. Birth Of Disease
03. The Party
04. Your God
05. Maniac / Watch Your Back
08. Black Light Blue
09. Depth Of Mind
10. Made For Cable
12. Foot High Tough Guy
13. Blinding Haze
14. The Calm Before
15. Free To Air
Upon my reviewing of One Step Beyond's newest album "Beyond Good And Evil", and upon emailing frontman of the band Mad Matt, he let his interests in doing a song-by-song review be known. This is what he has to say about the album Beyond Good And Evil.
1. True Faced
Lyrically this song is about people's personal quests for identity and the difficulties it presents. People find identity in everything from their work, their clothes, the music they listen to, their hair colour, their friends, their religion or what scene they assimilate with. With this song I tried to deal with people's ability or inability to be honest with themselves when creating their own identity. A lot of people are really not happy being themselves but aren't honest enough with themselves to take steps to change that. I could write an essay on this so it was hard to condense into 3 minutes but hopefully it says enough to raise a few questions.
Musically it was really a quest for some original grooves. Most grooves in metal these days are recycled clichés. I hear bands like Napalm Death making an effort to write some original groovy stuff so I wanted to try the same. Hopefully every beat in this track is like no other beat recorded. There was also a conscious effort in the opening riff in particular to alternate between high notes on the thinnest guitar strings and low chords on the fattest strings. This hopefully accents both extremes in very quick succession, also spending time on the thinner strings opens up a lot of space for the bass to be heard doing its own thing, which was a conscious choice for nearly all the album.
Incidentally the opening sample is from a great and well known horror film, but few people guess it…
2. Birth Of Disease
This is just a bit of speculation about the origins of STD's, nothing too scientifically concrete, but just some questions. I was thinking about how it would be to catch an unknown disease, like the very first people dying from aids, and how many times in our lifetime we will be faced with such scenarios. Obviously you can't protect yourself from a disease that people don't know of or at least properly comprehend. It's potentially scary shit! If aids gets essentially cured how long do we have to wait for a sequel?
The music here was an effort to incorporate funk bass techniques into blasting beats; again the guitars spend some riffs largely on the thin strings to create room for the bass lines.
3. The Party
The seeds for this groove were sown while I was actually playing bass while watching the Peter Sellers film "The Party". There was some music in there where the bass held that quarter note groove that bluegrass and some country also and I wanted to incorporate that into an extreme metal context. The bass and kick drum really hug each other in the start of this with the guitar on an independent line, then in later riffs the bass mirrors the guitars and later still they all work more separately from each other. It was an effort to cover these different arrangement styles in one track, mostly in extreme metal the instruments are all in unison together for the majority.
Lyrically it was an attempt to tell a story and have it as visual as possible. It starts off as hopefully something easily relatable for most people and then descends into a really shitty place.
4. Your God
This is just comment on religious people who seek to convert people to their religion, or worse abolish those who do not share their beliefs. I am all cool for people to find strength or solace or whatever in the god of their choice, but these all too prevalent scumbags who see their way as the one true way for all mankind are as evil as people can be. They are lacking a very fundamental respect and empathy and that can be very dangerous. It is all too common today to single out Muslim fundamentalists as the chief protagonists of this, but it happens with many religions in many places in both blatant and underhanded ways.
5. Maniac/Watch Your Back
The first half was an effort to see how fast, intricate and out of control we could sound in one half a song, then it falls away into bizarre groove territory, again a quest for some original grooves and sounds. The bass techniques are very much inspired by Victor Wooten. Lyrically it's all about the movie Maniac. On our first CD we had a track about the film The Burning so I wanted to have another horror movie track. R.I.P. Joe Spinell. Both films feature great Tom Savini gore effects so maybe that theme will have to be continued.
Musically this was inspired largely by Sisters Of Mercy, early Paradise Lost and The Pixies, hopefully all of them are detectable but not blatant. It was an attempt to write an immediately catchy song and I think the guitar line achieves that fairly well. The structures and arrangements belong much more to rock or heavy metal than they do to extreme metal. Vocally it's still extreme but I think that with some harmless tuneful singing on it this track would not sound out of place on alternative radio.
The words are all about getting your mind in positive gear and overcoming obstacles. The idea of using a "mirrorstance" to do this was inspired by the legendary Deniro scene in Taxi Driver where he is delivering this monologue to himself in the mirror in order to gear himself up for murder. Our song would have you use this technique to achieve something far more harmless than political assassination, unless that's your thing of course, hehe.
This is more positive minded stuff about ways to not let assholes get on top of you. A lot of people especially when younger can lack the necessary confidence or insight to realise that most often when someone is fucking with you it is out of jealousy or purely their own insecurities. It's not so easy to see someone's insecurities as most people spend a lot of time trying to hide them, so it's easy to miss that as a motive and as a result people can easily assume they themselves are lacking or at fault in situations where it's quite the opposite. It's like the whole bully thing.
Musically this is almost Rockstar part 2, except the bass carries much of the rhythm. Its kind of funk rock with extreme metal overtones I guess.
8. Black Light Blue
I remember once reading a Brutal Truth interview where they discussed their album dynamics. Basically the message was that if you put some mellow or quiet moments on your disc it would make your heavy songs sound even heavier by contrast. It stuck with me and is part of the reason we have tracks like this. It's just a dark little slow chillout/smokeout in the middle of the disc to give the listener some breathing room.
9. Depth Of Mind
This continues the smokeout session in the middle of the disc. I love all types of Dub from reggae to ambient and love to play it as the bass is the focal point. This was mostly inspired by Scorn and Bill Laswell, with a dose of Godflesh towards the end but hopefully sounds like an original entity in its own right. It's something rarely heard on extreme metal CDs so hopefully people like it. As it gets more extreme in the last minute it functions as the bridge to probably the most blatant extreme metal track on the disc.
10. Made For Cable
It was important to come back from the mellow tracks into something brutal and extreme so this track attempts to serve that purpose. It's got black/death metal all over it. I was desperate for a unique lyrical topic so somehow the whole old American made for cable TV movie thing came out. It's the tired old story of the spoilt physically beautiful girl who marries into money but is unhappy so attempts suicide. I'm sure they made a shitload of movies off this theme and I'm sure not many of them were remotely good.
I wanted to really flex some bass techniques I'd been practicing so wrote this for that purpose. I think whole arrangement comes off as a very unique piece of music and I am happy with it for that reason.
Lyrically it's about guys whose priority is getting laid whatever the cost. It's embarrassing shit to watch and people with this mindset are so often despicable in the lengths they'll go to. It was just another attempt to find subject matter I'd not encountered in a metal CD.
12. Foot High Tough Guy
Well lyrically it's as simple as this, jockeys bug me. I like horses but it seems to me jockeys and trainers just fuck them over brutally, so this song is about the horse's revenge.
The liner notes have a misprint in regards to the bass solos in this track, T.G.R.D. from Stargazer plays the second bass lead and was credited as appearing on the previous song, so let the record now be set straight. I've not heard bass solo trade offs over a jazz beat on an extreme metal CD before so that is a moment I am proud of. T.G.R.D's solo just fucking rips!
13. Blinding Haze
This song was originally on our demo back in '99 in a fairly different arrangement. The first riff cycle begins on every 2nd beat rather than the first which was very much inspired by the classic reggae groove. There's also big Iron Maiden influence in later parts to contrast that. The words are about the metaphorical blinding haze or smokescreen excessive weed consumption can have on your life.
14. The Calm Before
Public Enemy revolutionised album structure a couple of times over on their 2nd and 3rd albums and this track was completely inspired by an idea they used on Fear Of A Black Planet, which was to have a minute of very tense but understated mellow groove before the closing track explodes on the listener. They of course did it better than I could ever hope to, but I think this works.
15. Free To Air
The album needed an extreme and brutal statement at the end and I think musically and lyrically this goes a fair way to providing that. The whole issue of major record labels trying to flex their muscles over the Internet got under my skin in a bad way. They missed the boat initially and then tried desperately to gain control over the medium by closing down independent websites and conscripting their multi millionaire artists/slaves to speak out about how they are suffering financially as a result of the net. The Internet is the best thing to ever happen to independent musicians. I think if we were a widely exposed band the lyrical content of this track would get us raped in court, but no one else anywhere in extreme metal had much to say on it and the shit just needed to be said.
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