Axel Ritt on each song on the album Last Days Of Utopia (2005):
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
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.
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, its 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 its the longest song Ive
ever written for Domain. Its almost Progressive Rock, but I thought
this would be the only way to let this chapter
sound as it has to.
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 hes
still alive. A beautiful golden city right in front of him....
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 didnt 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.....
Beauty Of Love - Yes, theres 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 its true.
So, its 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, Ive 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, youll 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.
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.
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.
Days Of Utopia - For a chapter like this, there was only one solution
to give it the strength of a system thats 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
theres a guitar solo line, he asks me if I can do them in the second
voice as well, no matter how hard Ive tried to play the first voice...
Thats what singers are for, they never get enough ;-) In this case,
I did him this favour and played every solo note in two harmonies.
The Blue - This is a kind of "reprise" of the song "The
Shores Of Utopia". Listen to the melody of the guitar, its
the same theme, but this time its a minor tune to transfer the despair,
that everything, thats worth living for, has been destroyed. The
sound of the keyboard is like a lost boy right in the middle of the absolute
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...
of the album »