3. Fear of Humanity

Here is Travis Orbin’s drum tracking video for ‘Fear of Humanity’:

Read the lyrics to ‘Fear of Humanity’.

Gabriel’s Notes: I think the opening of this was the first lyric written for the album. This is the album’s anthem, the main character’s manifesto… his entire worldview is described in this song.

The processed acoustic pianos which define much of the sound of ‘Interior City’ first appear at the start of this song. The opening chord progression is a six-chord sequence of parallel chords which increase in density throughout the song. They begin as four-note chords, expand into parallel diatonic clusters (featuring 6 of the 7 notes in the diatonic scale) in the second half, then become chromatic clusters where each note contains 10 out of the 12 chromatic tones in the 14-part violin chorale which ends the song. The ‘overtone chord’ voicing of this chorale is inspired by the way Messiaen frequently wrote extremely dissonant harmonies in his orchestral works but made them sound quite pleasing by placing the most dissonant notes in an extremely high register.

I originally wrote that 14-part violin chorale expecting that we wouldn’t get time to track it, but Sophia ended up breezing through all of her violin parts including the chorale in a day! I ended up devising new violin parts for Subway Dwellers and Defense Highway on the spot, replacing all of the string synth parts I had written with live violins – only the mellotron part in Ranting Prophet remains.

Tom added all sorts of cool embellishments to the bass lines in the second half of this song. The lead guitar tones and lines have a definite Failure influence… I even used the same Boss BF-2 flanger pedal they used to achieve the tones on their second album, ‘Magnified‘. Failure was probably the biggest rock influence on this album as a whole, and this is especially evident on Inner Sanctum.

Travis’s Notes: In Gabe’s original demo, the drums were super processed-sounding for the whole intro, but in my head I first heard them sounding gigantic and exaggerated. I opted to use two floor toms (my usual Reference Pure, along with a 16″x16″ Vision on my left) to express this, and further embellished the closed hat groove that follows — texturally — with my chunky 15″ MDM hats and an 8″x14″ Pearl maple snare (stock head).

Many months after tracking, Gabe kindly picked me up from the airport after my Drum Channel appearance, as he was in the middle of mixing the record at Oceanic and wasn’t far away. We were listening to a rough mix of the tune in the car and it was then that an idea/concept of how the second half of the intro could sound presented itself to me. I suggested a weird, crescendoing wall-of-noise affect into a roomy drum sound (2:38) and Gabe was into it. Killer!

When the song comes crashing back in after the brief break (3:30), the gear changes to my more commonly used brass Reference snare/rack tom. The cymbal setup is the same as in “Subway Dwellers”, although I used a ‘stack’ instead of a splash and an 18″ DRK flat ride on my right side.

There’s a ton of vocal complementation is this tune: 2:49, 3:09 (snare flams), 3:58 – 4:00 (cymbal melody), 4:10 – 4:12 (stack), 5:16 – 5:18 (stack), 5:18 – 5:22 (cymbal melody), 5:43 (stack), 6:28 – 6:30 (stack), 7:44 – 7:45 (cymbal melody). There’s also some tricky, syncopated fill-ins and a dual ride part at 6:38.

Full drum set transcription
Tempo = 95 BPM

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