<B>Chris says:</B> Silvan Lullaby is a song that I came up with a worryingly long time ago, on the premise of writing a guitar line that actually sounded like a lullaby; 3/4 time and a fairly relaxed rhythm, and boom, mission accomplished. Until, of course, it gets heavy and then it's less of a lullaby and more of a big epic lead guitar line. :P Anyway, we initially just played Silvan Lullaby on it's own, but over time I considered the idea of doing a kind of 'pre-gap' to it, in the style of 'Reverie/Harlequin Forest' (by the almighty Opeth, on the album 'Ghost Reveries'), and that 'pre-gap' developed into the song 'Into the Forest', an entirely acoustic track populated by guitar, flute, keyboards, cymbals and the occasional kick drum hit, and spoken word vocals from our wordsmith Martin. They flow together really well, so sticking the two songs together into an 8 (almost 9) minute epic was a natural decision, with Into the Forest acting almost as a kind of reflective prologue to the events of Silvan Lullaby.
On the subject of the events of Silvan Lullaby... I actually wrote the lyrics for this one, which explains why they rhyme and probably aren't quite as intellectual as Martin's lyrics usually are. :P Nevertheless, they tell the story of a nameless girl lost in the forest near sundown. Once twilight sets in, she is chased and hunted by invisible beings who are engaged in a kind of macabre procession, blowing horns and wooden instruments as they pursue the girl. Towards the end of the song, she takes refuge inside a hollowed-out tree and falls asleep, frightened and alone; however, when she awakens, she finds herself in another world, having been transported there by the 'Night Folk' while she slept. With the story, I was playing on what I believe is a folk belief in some more remote parts of the world- that of 'racing the sun', with the idea that once the sun sets you're entirely screwed. In this case, the screwing comes in the form of a "haunting tune" played by the invisible pursuers; a song which has the power to steal your life away if you listen to it. Pretty brutal, I reckon. :P Also, I was partly thinking of the forest of Mirkwood from Tolkien's stories while writing- that idea of a forest full of lurking evil and mysterious creatures living between the trees was a pretty captivating one, and something that I wanted to explore.
<B>Martin says:</B> Chris had been playing with an idea for an intro to Sylvan Lullaby which initially consisted of about 30 seconds of what you hear now, entitled Into the Forest. At which point I thought it would be great to turn it into a clean track, with me providing some spoken word, to break up our set a bit and give my throat some respite for a couple of minutes! I believe I sold my idea to Chris by saying it would be to our next album as Opethâ€™s Benighted is to Still Life. Ladies and gentlemen, know your audience! ;)
The subject is a photo shoot we did in the Peaks a while back. We'd parked the cars and gone off in search of a decent photo opportunity and ended up finding a series of ruined buildings which we had explored and discussed. I think we concluded that it was a farmhouse but that's not especially relevant, it had been a good day followed by a particularly good pub dinner at the Ladybower Inn which I wanted to capture for you all.
The final stanza is a veiled reference to a page in the history of Northern Oak, one we will happily leave turned.
Into the forest,
taking memories, leaving only footprints
but the trees would not let it be easy.
Forcing our route in much deeper.
What were we to find there?
devoured by moss and roots
draped in an eerie silence
in this place a sense of mourning
We pulled aside the plants and branches,
climbing in amongst the few remaining walls.
Is it disrespect or reverence?
Exploring what was once a life...
We questioned ourselves, each other,
what had these rooms once contained?
Did children run through here laughing?
What pain left this place abandoned?
Into the forest,
We may be fated to end
Just as those before us.
But if we lay foundations
that inspire those who follow,
Then our time
will not be spent
The light that shines on golden leaves
Flickers softly through the trees
Lost, she trembles, scared and alone
Deep in the forest and far from home
Now, as the light slowly fades away
The night-folk can dance without fear of the day
Their instruments play a most fearful song
A silvan lullaby, to those who don't belong
She runs in fear, afraid for her life
The sun descends, into the twilight
The night-folk pursue her, their horns baying long
A hollow tree gives respite from their song
Now, as the verdant darkness holds sway
The night-folk can dance, without fear of the day
Their instruments play the same haunting tune
A silvan lullaby that foretells your doom
Interlude and Solos
Now, as I climb from this hollow tree
My ears are opened to the sounds of the sea
Avalon is calling, its wings do me caress
The silvan lullaby has taken my last breath
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