“My original plan was to write a stepless musical progression, like a continuous color blending from white to black,” says Staps, “but I soon realized that it could not be that linear. It needed to stay interesting after all, and this is something that is usually best achieved by employing unforeseeable elements. In the end, any good idea must be put into perspective by its musical impact.”
And so the listener will experience swirls and vertical currents while listening to the album; short, unexpected faster passages in between, sudden tempo changes that will make him feel like he’s rising again for a short bit – but the general direction is very clear: “You can feel from the beginning, it’s going down. Deeper and deeper.”
This continuous downward movement is also reflected in the album’s sound: starting with a clean, produced “surface”-sound, and progressing toward a more open, ambient, distorted, and abrasive sound for the doomy depth-passages at the end of the album. To make that happen, Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia) had to face the challenge of mixing the album in one go, which resulted in the epic amount of 288 audio tracks!
Originally conceptualized as an instrumental album, Pelagial now comes in two different versions that will be released together: with vocals and instrumental.
Vocalist Loic Rossetti has been facing severe health problems due to the band’s relentless touring activities and needed a break. Furthermore, the album concept, at first glance, did not really seem fit for vocals: “We obviously did not want to sing about battles between sperm whales and giant squids,” comments Staps. But Rossetti recovered during 2012 and the decision was made to have him on the album. “Loic is the frontman of this band and we all felt that this band and this album needed him,” says guitarist Jonathan Nido, “and though we were all quite used to the instrumentals, I’m glad we decided to record vocals in the end, because it really adds a new dimension to the album that was not there before.”
Analog to the journey from the surface into the depths of the sea, the album’s lyrics take the listener on a journey into the abysses of the human mind. Much like the protagonists in Andrey Tarkovsky’s movie Stalker, Pelagial is a psychological journey toward our inner-self and subconscious… “toward the essence and origins of our desires, wishes, dreams, and all the fucked up attributes inside of our own inner-selves that generate and shape them,” says Staps.
In the movie, three men are traveling toward the heart of a zone at the center of which one’s wishes are said to come true. But the closer they get, the more insecure they become with regard to what they should actually wish for, and fear arises that even those wishes which they have no control over, which they may not even be aware of, might come true. The protagonists are confronted with their own nature, the true essence of their characters, and this essentially leads them to their own demise. This topic is the lyrical backbone of Pelagial. “There’s a lot of Freud references in the song titles and lyrics, but a lot of the lyrics are very personal,” comments Staps.
Both boxsets come with an extra DVD featuring a 5:1 dolby surround mix of the instrumental version of “Pelagial,” and the Pelagial movie by Craig Murray (Nine Inch Nails, Converge), which the band will also show as liveprojections during their upcoming tours. This movie, which is the meticulous work of shooting, cutting, and editing for a whole year, completes the holistic music and visual art project that is Pelagial. For the full experience of the album, you must see the film!
Rock Hard \m/