Vague Evolving Patterns (2015)

by Nostril Caverns

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This challenge was quite fun and epic. I've recorded 20 minute songs before, but they were improvised, so it doesn't matter if you screw up there. For this song, the left/right guitar tracks and the drums track were recorded in a full take without punch-ins/overdubs/fixing. I wanted to play the distorted and clean guitars in the same take, with the same amp settings, so I used the "normal channel" on my amp, set the gain to 8, and pushed the "crunch" button to make it "crunchier". With those settings I could play distorted guitars while picking hard and have clean guitars while picking soft (most of the cleans were actually finger picked while hiding the pick with my middle finger). Because of this dual distorted/clean setup, I was worried there wouldn't be enough distortion for the death/thrash section at 11:00, but it turned out ok with me. The distorted and clean leads were played on my "boost" channel with full distortion (for the clean leads, I turned my guitar's volume knob almost all the way down).

The rhythm guitars were written first. I sit with my guitar in front of my computer with powertab open while writing. I'll come up with an arrangement of riffs and memorize it enough so that I can input it into powertab. I use powertab for a couple reasons - one is to create a midi version of the song with exact tempos that I listen to while recording drums - the other is so that I don't forget the riffs on guitar. A few times in the past I've arranged some riffs only to have forgotten the exact timing/fingerings the next day when I woke up.

The drums were written next. I listened to the midi + metronome file I created in powertab when writing and recording the drums. Once the drums were written, I practised until I'm ready to record. Once the drums were recorded, I recorded the rhythm guitars next. Then I wrote/recorded the lead guitar parts at the same time. Then I wrote/recorded the synth parts at the same time. Then I wrote lyrics and recorded those.

I basically cut the song up into sections where each section was written in one sitting. I tried to keep the sections different from each other, while trying to maintain a cohesive whole, but did repeat the occasional riff from a previous section to tie it all together.

Section [1] 0:00 - 3:30
The song starts off with a clean riff I used to play at the end of an older song. The riff didn't exist in that older song, I would just play it when the older song ended while I was practising. One glaring mistake is at 2:51 where the drums come in before the guitar.

Section [2] 3:30 - 6:35
Another mistake is at 3:39 where the drums don't transition properly into the next riff. I screw up that transition again at 4:43, so you never actually get to hear it properly. Later in the section I repeat parts from the first section. At 6:01, the rhythm guitar "pulses" of the left guitar are always on the 1 and 3, but for the right guitar I randomly did them on the 1, 2, 3, or 4.

Section [3] 6:35 - 8:34
A big mistake is at 6:50 where the left guitar starts on the wrong frets. Normally a big enough mistake to stop recording and start over, but for a 20 minute song?

Section [4] 8:34 - 10:58
At 9:02 the right guitar hits two wrong notes, but they're part of the chord so it sort of fits. I screwed up this riff again at 10:45 where the left guitar hits a wrong note. The blast beat at 10:28 never existed until just before I started recording, so at 10:32 I forgot to stop blasting until the second measure (that bar was supposed to be all quiet like the last 3 measures). So when I recorded guitars I just played loudly for that first measure, and I actually prefer it that way.

Section [5] 10:58 - 13:40
This section is basically Exhumed worship (Slaughtercult era), but the opening riff is more inspired from Goatwhore or Signs of Dying. Listen to the Exhumed song Funeral Fuck and you'll understand the verses, and the chorus is similar to Fester Forever.

Section [6] 13:40 - 15:29
This section revolves around power chords on the low strings with open high strings. I like doing that in other songs and I think the second song from Subterranean Birthright on the previous challenge opened with that style (power chord on first fret sixth string, with open high strings).

Section [7] 15:29 - 18:55
For the section at 15:51, the drums are improvised and I'm doing random fills in between the snare+cymbal hits that happen whenever I hit a low string on guitar. For the section at 16:32, my fretting hand was always getting sore at that point in the song, but then it was fine when the section at 17:15 started until the end. I also bring back a part from section 1 and 2 into this section.

Section [8] 18:55 - 20:00
In this section there is a recording of coyotes barking/yipping/howling. I was recording vocals and there was one coyote just outside the house making lots of noise, so I thought I'd open the door and record the sounds on their own to use in the song just for fun. There's at least one more coyote in the recording off in the distance.


released December 1, 2015

Chris Balch - guitars, drums, keyboards, vocals

Art by darkreaver



all rights reserved


Nostril Caverns Toronto, Ontario


Guitar since 1995
Drums since 2002

One-man DIY extreme metal from Ontario since 1999.


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Track Name: Vague Evolving Patterns
H-Natural inclination, material sleep
Growing clever nesting snow, draped until it slows

H-Blind from birth, never mentioned again
Gouging without fingers, plywood sequenced star

L-Barren night supposed
Calculate no time

H-Calculate the body's worth

L-Nails into the skin
Refracting the signal
Increase the distance


H-Desperate times ahead

H-Mercy, sometimes unfair

HL-Cautious, H-No time to spare
HL-Render, H-Roses they aren't giving you
HL-Suspect, H-Priority falls upon the shadow
HL-Giving, H-When is it time to give in

L-Physical, in phase

H-Mercy, sometimes unfair

L-Divise deception
Follow through
Escape the beam
Gliding down

H-The way to keep a secret

H-Excess thought disappeared
Leaving nothing
Who can obtain the pleasures from it



H-Lessening its fear with nondescript hands

H-Evolving puzzles from the sky
The only skill is time
Trapped within the atmosphere's musk

H-Was the brain designed to ignore the signal
The patterns decrypted with deja-vu
A glorious feeling, yet unknown to me
Dilated, the skull cracked and dry

H-Was the brain designed to ignore the signal
The patterns decrypted with deja-vu
Vague entity of crystaline traits
Destroying the vast unsaid

H-Streaking, simple palate
Sanitary opening, counting the holes

H-Discussions, what to do next
Theorize, the inevitable end
Existential extinction

H-Counting down the days until it finally begins
Skin losing moisture, hair falling out, acid leaking from inside
L-What else is sentient, groupings of flies
Follow pointed limbs into the miracle sultry sky

HL-Delusional robot
Synthetic to the touch

HL-Piece together wishful desire

H-Sinful place between the breasts, clipping hydro nemesis
Quick protusions to the face, faithful distant prelude
L-Mask yourself from between the head, elaboration sought
Wellness and unhealthy potions, HL-thickly filled intestines

HL-Delusional robot
Synthetic to the touch
Piece together wishful desire
The dream of becoming less than a god

H-Forgetful mind, void of flavour, nevermind the sequential password


H-Regrets on a pedestal
A flash of genius, only for a moment
Mirroring the past

H-Glasses obstructing vision
Impaled by doubt
The garden of the soul
Climb inside
The body burned

H-Place, the heart upon, watch the blood exit
Thoughtful, memory, hate the glowing eyes
Message me, paper, hopeful cold shoulder
Talk to someone else, fixated on the torso's shapely form

H-Evacuate the victim's chest
Anatomy exposed
Grossly underestimated
Probable cause
Less is more

H-Asking for forgiveness
No thought or feeling
Closely watching face
Fall from hate
Grinding dried up blood
Together now