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Axel Ritt on each song on the album Last Days Of Utopia (2005):


Harbour Of Hope - Our storyboard-hero has started his journey by ship, so the atmosphere had to reflect the sound and the smell of a harbour. I needed an opener with big and epic choirs in it, a little bit similar to classical pop film scores, like QUEEN worked with in the movie "Flash Gordon". The vocals should hit your face like a fist. I hope they do.....

A New Beginning - Our friend is on the run. I wanted the listener to feel the sense of our hero's expectation. All chord shifts and harmonic lines in this song are upwards to underline these feelings. Aggressive trumpets, trombones and horns at the beginning of the song to reflect his tension, warm and tender string lines in the chorus for his contentment that the journey has finally begun. I put a lot of interactions between the rhythm-guitar and the bass drum in this song to strengthen the verses.

On Stormy Seas - To get a storm to sound like a storm is not as easy as it may seem. "Thunder And Lighting"-stuff is like bread and butter for a Metal band, it’s very easy to wave the banner of the drummer's double bass, but to let a storm grow, maybe in the night, starting with a light wind, tiny little raindrops at your window, let it grow slowly, becoming bigger and fiercer, into an all-destroying hurricane, smashing the ship and forcing people to fight for their lives, to get these emotions into a song, that was a great challenge for me. The arrangements became the most difficult ones, likewise it’s the longest song I’ve ever written for Domain. It’s almost Progressive Rock, but I thought this would be the only way to let this chapter
sound as it has to.

The Shores Of Utopia - Carsten wanted to have a typical Gary Moore type instrumental tune on this album. I thought that this chapter would fit such an instrumental perfectly, a slow, emotional major theme. Imagine our shipwrecked traveller lifting his head and realising that he’s still alive. A beautiful golden city right in front of him....

Ocean Paradise - This song was written by our keyboard player Erdmann Lange and myself - Very typical Domain synth-brass sounds, one of our trademarks for almost 20 years. I tried to put the synth-brass stabs into brass arrangements, but unexpectedly, this didn’t work out! The attacks of the brass instruments were too slow to play it in an acceptable band-timing way, so it sounded "unreal". Funny, but true, the artificial brass did this job much better than their genuine brothers. So I decided to put only strings in it, featuring a very melodic harp solo in the interlude. Everything depends on the song.....

The Beauty Of Love - Yes, there’s love in our story and, of course, the best way to show these feelings is to compose a ballad. And for sure, lads and lasses, the best instrument to create a warm-hearted love song is the piano. I know, guitar-players hate this fact, but it’s true. So, it’s natural that all basic ideas regarding ballads in the last few years have been created by our pianist Erdmann. As for myself as a guitar player, I’ve always been envious of the possibilities of having two independent hands, one for playing the lines, one for playing the bass notes or basic chords. So, all you string-playing boys and girls, never try to compete with a keyboard regarding ballads, you’ll always lose ;-) I wanted to have the "real big strings" in the song, and I mean "real big", strong and tremendous, combined with lots of woodwinds, brass in the lower octaves, all soaked in reverb. Old school, but absolutely necessary for impressive arrangements.

The Great Rebellion - A rebellion, transported into notes, needs some aggressive basics, but also a relieving part to take the strain out of the situation and let the music show the changes - to rise like the phoenix out of the ashes. So we started with some "Richard Wagner-like" string sounds, moving into dark chord moves with threatening choirs on their way to a self-fullfilling chorus part.

Endless Rain - No Domain record without a 12/8-triplet rhythm. This pattern has a natural flow and can be interpreted perfectly by every string and percussion instrument. So I decided to let the string ensembles play the main short accentuated figures, while woodwinds and brass play long and extended notes. The choir arrangements in the chorus part turned out to be very hard work. Because of the key-change within the chorus, the second, third and fourth harmony vocals were very difficult to perform.

Last Days Of Utopia - For a chapter like this, there was only one solution to give it the strength of a system that’s breaking down with all the merits they had created, a song, dominated by a classical Power Metal drumming. Drums certainly have the most "physical" sound in a band. You cannot just hear the percussion sounds in a band, you can "feel" them. A hard short attack and almost no sustain, the "pulse" of Metal, the total opposite of a woodwind instrument, for example. Carsten is a big fan of harmonic speed guitars, every time there’s a guitar solo line, he asks me if I can do them in the second voice as well, no matter how hard I’ve tried to play the first voice... That’s what singers are for, they never get enough ;-) In this case, I did him this favour and played every solo note in two harmonies.

Underneath The Blue - This is a kind of "reprise" of the song "The Shores Of Utopia". Listen to the melody of the guitar, it’s the same theme, but this time it’s a minor tune to transfer the despair, that everything, that’s worth living for, has been destroyed. The sound of the keyboard is like a lost boy right in the middle of the absolute nothing.

Left Alone - When the band collected their ideas about the last song, the grand finale, we all saw our hero shipwrecked again, lying on a plank, drifting on the sea after leaving everything behind him destroyed. So we needed something special to let the listener feel the lapping of the waves. I decided to compose a shuffle-beat song, maybe a little bit like a Heavy-Blues shuffle. This kind of songs are the hobby of our singer Carsten, he loves to sing pentatonic scales, no doubt about it, and he does it very well. Also our bass player Jochen puts a lot of his rock background into this song. You can hear what an old set we all are... :-)

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