Tyranny of Hours

21 Months: Recording a Symphonic Metal Album-Part 1: The Beginning.

It took us 21 months to write and record the Tyranny of Hours album. It seems excessive just saying it. That is about a full year longer than we had planned, but as we went through the process we realized that our firsts goals of a 6-8 month album recording were not even close.

In March of 2011 we finally had the band together—or most of the band at least; we were still short a bass player. We had played with drummer Russ Rosenbalm off and on for the last couple of years, but he was now on board with the band, which we had recently renamed. The original band name “InVellum “was just a bit too obscure and it didn’t really have the snap that we wanted. Michelle had written the lyric line “The Tyranny of Hours-it bleeds us” in one of the songs we were working on (titled Destined for a Memory) and after going through what seemed like thousands of band name ideas, it just popped out one day that we should use Tyranny of Hours. It stuck and everyone agreed it was a better than the average band name and actually had some meaning behind it. For keyboards, we had joined up with James Borst from Cry for Eden. Cry for Eden was James’s Orchestral Rock project that was in the writing and recording stage, not too far ahead of Tyranny of Hours.  We had met James through the grapevine of local musicians and hit it off right away. There aren’t exactly a shitload of symphonic metal composers in Oregon, and James just happened to live a few miles away. Don had recently spent a few months helping James record guitar parts for Cry for Eden- after James parted ways with previous guitar players that were already on some of the recordings. In return James agreed to work with Tyranny of Hours. It seemed like a match made in heaven, so we got underway with writing songs and practicing as a band, while we continued the look for a bass player.

In a previous incarnation of Tyranny of Hours, (InVellum circa 2010) the focus was heavy on the prog side of things. One composition we were working on had about 20 time signature changes and was quite experimental-to say the least. The same held true for the other songs we were developing. After some deliberation, we decided that we needed to have a bit more straight forward and energetic approach. We agreed to abandon all of our old songs and set out to write brand new material. That week in March we sat down and wrote out the song Amber in 2 days. We realized quickly that we had something with this song and pushed to finish it over the next few days.

In April of 2011 things were progressing well. Don had decided to take the plunge and purchase a 7 string guitar. He picked up a mint Ibanez RG7620 from Ebay and proceeded to write the intro for “The Hapless Wand” on the very first day. The 7 string helped create new textures and rhythmic ideas for the heavier sound that the band was after. Additional songs followed in the next few weeks and months as we headed into summer 2011. Within 4 months most of the album had been written: 5 complete songs and a few more partially finished ideas were floating around. As we were heading toward Fall with a nearly a full set of material, we decided to shift gears and throw a big Halloween party and debut the live set from Tyranny of Hours to 75 of our closest friends. In retrospect it derailed us from working on getting the album finished. We hadn’t found a bass player that fit the part yet, but we decided Don could pre-record the bass tracks and sequence them back for the show. We set the show date for October 28th and tore into finishing the material for the album. Then, one day in July as we got together for rehearsal, Russ broke the news that he would be leaving town—and the band—moving to Spokane, Washington to be with a sick parent. Obviously that was a big blow. Russ was a longtime friend and solid drummer. Without a drummer, we felt the future for Tyranny of Hours was up in the air.

To be continued…