"Iron Fortress" was a tough one to get going because I knew the first album needed an anchor song to end with. The subtitle for Chaos Legion album was originally Siege Machines and I wanted to create something really epic and grand. It was going to be the vision of the two forces, separated by a huge chasm, hurling all manner of ordinance at each other. In the set up interlude "Siege Machines" you get the sense that Dynamics Plus is wary of the whole idea and dislikes the 'devil's technology'. His officers tell him the machines will bring them victory. He asks "At what cost?" meaning in men and to their warror's code for using such powerful weapons that kill from afar.
"Battlelord Korrin-Ferrin, this is your last chance. Swing open the gates of the Iron Fortress or be destroyed by the Dynamics Plus and his Chaos Legion! - The sky lit up --- looking like fireworks..."
One of my favorite touches is the announcement before the battle starts. The Chaos Legion attempted to intimidate Lord Praxis into giving up the siege machines in "The Liberators". He answered back on his own system and countered the challenge. In this case, Ferrin never replies; he just starts firing his weapons. I like the fact that in each case, it didn't have the desired effect. And of course, we'll try this again in "One Stands Against Many" in Chaos Legion II
"The skies in twilights, her face shone bright
Grips my arm tight, it implodes and ignites
Overcome by the hum and buzz
I noticed how striking she was..."
This notes a key moment where you can argue Dynamics Plus begins to fall for his Amazon bodyguard Alanis. It's a thrilling moment for both of them as she forgets herself while enjoying the lightshow and he remembers she's a woman - even if she is off limits.
"Bring out Doctor Atomics! -
Machines turned on as he waved a wand
In his open hand marching band baton..."
Yes, it's Doctor Atomics with a central role in this universe too. In Dynamic Universe Volume Six (Doctor Atomics and the Fortress of Solitude) he does double duty as both Fallout Shelter administrative task master and the head of my intelligence department in STACI: The Garden of Eden.
"I wiped my lens and took sight again
with signs he offends and his wall defends
His shields persists and the bombs resist
He stood on a lift and pumped his fist...
More bombs dropped, then his arms dropped
He looked to the heavens, prays his arms raised
looked this way, then saluted a grade
then was blown away -off the wall in a blaze...."
We're watching each other through binoculars and earlier he spelled out a message along with an obscene gesture. He feels he has the upper hand and is almost celebrating on the high walls of his fortress. As his shield gives out, he realizes it's over and actually salutes me before being blown off the wall.
As a child I watched Battle of the Planets (Gatchaman) and I was always inspired by the action music and theme songs. There was a horn riff that always signals 'the bad guys are building stuff' and I wanted that sound in this track. The Korg Kaossilator (partially chosen because of its name- yes, I'm weird like that) did the whole track except for the drums. The explosion sound effects were dropped live as the track ran. It took forever since I needed to have them drop in-between words and I kept blowing it. Mixing was another problem since I didn't want the basic track to be drowned by the bombing sounds. The jazzy horn riffs originally filled the whole track, but the track began to get cluttered and overpower the vocals. Since the song was written in two parts, it made sense to save the live horn work for the latter half of the track.
Unreal Tournament is on my gaming top ten list so it was very cool to be able to use sampled clips for one of my videos. That's Unreal Tournament 3 and I was stuck on whether or not I should use still frames or video clips. I went in-between with flipping frames. Clips from the horrible Quake: Enemy Territory were also used. Hey, I needed to get my money's worth somehow.
UT is a very close approximation for what the actual Chaos Legion Universe looks like. Although the album artwork accentuates the more Spartan aspects of my army, it is still a futuristic force powered by electronics. So we are talking something in-between ancient Greek armor and futuristic battle armor.
watch the video on YouTube
"The Invincible Gold Champion" is about a gladiator who was promised King Pariah's daughter as a victory prize (along with his freedom) if he can amass a thousand victories in the arena. It's the classic medieval 'do something courageous' and win the fair princess theme. For most, that's an impossible task and the king never really intends to see anyone accomplish it. As the Gold Champion wins more and more, the princess takes an interest and the two fall in love. Outraged, the king cheats the Gold Champion on his last match and exiles him from the realm. The princess is forced to marry for political gain and dies in childbirth a few years later. The scribe Orice Corraine does note a local belief that the princess died of unhappiness. The Invincible Gold Champion (who many say was driven mad by the news) sets up on a bridge at the far end of King Pariah's border.
As the Chaos Legion attempts to cross the bridge, the Gold Champion defeats the armies best fighters. The Gold Champion deems Plus worthy to be the final challenger. The defeat leaves Dynamics Plus hanging from the bridge where he is forced to agree to The Gold Champion's terms and promise to deliver a message...so to speak. Once Dynamics is pulled to safety, the Gold Champion leaps to his death.
"His hardened armor grayed, dated faded, plates decayed..."
That's the opening that describes what I see in the Gold Champion. You can imagine how old and rusted his armor must be after all these years.
"I gauged, it's past its age, back from days of sporting range.."
It's really an old style and it's based more on tournament fighting than the heavy combat armor a modern legionnaire would wear. Although I used Spartan warrior images for the album art, it's actually heavy electronic combat armor we wear. In melee combat it can take lots of blunt force and small arms fire before failing.
"...around his waist were wrapped in chains, grips and fists the same..."
I noticed he had chains layered into his armor, but I thought they were light reinforcement and decoration.
"His belt unfolds, he rolled behold he who holds the chain that rips
he whips, my shield shatters into tattered strips..."
This is a reference to the fighting style and 'finishing' move from "The Magnificent Six". If you remember, the king was blinded by the suns' reflection in the shield. Dynamics obviously won't be using that move in this fight.
"He unleashed a leash, malicious treat, metallic fleece
at Least its reach it seeks and wreaks, a hungry beast it needs to eat...
The whip he uses becomes symbolic of our entire relationship. It defeats me at long range and so I move in closer which proves to be my undoing. He's just too fast in the lighter armor. On the edge of the bridge he wraps the whipping chains around me and it's the same 'rope' I grasp after I fall. It's also part of the message I deliver at the end of the album.
This one came together in lots of little pieces. I had the idea for a one on one battle early on in the album writing and I wanted to give the listener a strike for strike account for a fight scene and this was the perfect opportunity. Originally, I was going to go back and forth with the Gold Champion and split each verse, but I did that already with "Den of Thieves" and I didn't want to use that same formula again. The next idea was to have the Gold Champion on the hook and Dynamics Plus only on the verses. I played the first version for P.R.O. and he wanted to hear the Gold Champion cadence and delivery for the entire song. I thought it would be fitting to have the 'winner' be so good he actually replaces me on the vocals. And this makes for the only song where a character tells the story from my perspective.
The drums are Fxpansion's BFD 2 using both its internal suite of effects and additional plug-ins. It's a custom kit that uses two alternating bass drums usually triggered by both feet, but in this case, two different pads. The stabbing synth line that starts the track is made up of three Korg MicroKorg layers run through a chain of MoogerFooger pedals. There's a few buried synth tones from the Alesis Andromeda A6 and every other natural sound (including the female chorus pads) are from the Roland Juno-G. I went with a subtle mix so that you wouldn't really hear the elements coming in and out. For some songs, I felt a total directional change was needed as in "Day of Scarecrows", but I chose to let the voice carry this record with very little taking away from the overall flow. This is one of my favorite songs and I feel like the frantic energy level is captured perfectly in this recording.
watch the video on YouTube
Do you make music?
Then you should be reading this. Really.
The Lenzmen track Residue is featured on the DonDiva DVD 'How we gettin it'. It plays before the Loaded Lux freestyle segment. A few other tracks from Dynamics Plus are sprinkled throughout. Also, check for the producer Sean Maru. His track appears at the Beginning of the P-Star segment.
Dynamics Plus is featured in the Pages of Ghetto Blaster Magazine issue 15. *purchase any 2 products from the Music Store and receive a copy* The Article can be found here.