TRACK-BY-TRACK: Echopraxia – Pumpkin Palace

Nashville guitarist Austin Woodward engineers, tracks and composes music for video games during the day but under the Echopraxia moniker, he creates complex atmospheric music that is haunting, abrasive and dynamically heavy. His second EP ‘Pumpkin Palace’ has five instrumental cinematic tracks that are inspired by composer Danny Elfman’s ‘Halloween’ theme as well as his score for ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’. Fans of Dimmu Borgir must get their teeth around the new EP and read what Austin had to say himself in the track by track breakdown of the EP.

This song was written as soon as I got home from recording ‘Candle Cove’ in late 2016. ‘Candle Cove’ was heavily influenced by modern metal which was starting to all blend together in my head so I started spending a lot of time listening to Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, and Emperor. I was really impacted by the forward motion and assertive scariness of these bands and ‘Ratzinger’s Waltz’ is the direct result of that.

I had a few general riffs that I played every time I picked up a standard tuned guitar. I was really sick of always playing the same thing so I sat down and turned all the motifs into actual riffs in an effort to force myself to stop defaulting to them when noodling around. I ended up liking what I wrote down a lot so I added the intro riff and the chorus and it became a song. Later on I decided to experiment with turning a jazzy minor 2-5-1 progression into a busy metal riff and that’s how I wrote the breakdown.

A few of the riffs in this song were about a year old by the time I had booked the ‘Pumpkin Palace’ recording dates. I had always put off expanding on the song because the riff I had (first riff of the song) was fairly hard to play, but I really enjoyed it and needed another track for ‘Pumpkin Palace’ so I cracked down and learned it and started to expand. I wanted to move the key around a little bit so the pre-chorus was sort of the forced result of that. After I wrote the chorus, I knew the EP needed more heavy breakdown parts so pretty much everything after the halfway point of the song is an effort to have something to bounce to in the song.

This song was really stressful, it was barely fleshed out but I really wanted a 5th song on the album so we mapped it out and tracked it on the second to last day of recording. It has a different vibe than every other song on the EP, some of it has a more hard rock feel rather than prog or djent. The intro was written one week before going to record and I’m really happy with how that conveys the aesthetic of ‘Pumpkin Palace’.

I was fiddling around with synth patches on a keyboard and accidentally played this melody and I was quick to write it out in Cubase because it was very emotional to me. I went pretty far out of my way to flesh it out and add enough to it so that it could be a dark cinematic song on Pumpkin Palace. It was originally going to be the intro track to the EP, but ‘Ratzinger’s Waltz’ has a much more commanding vibe to it that really clearly states “Welcome to Pumpkin Palace”, whereas ‘The Holy See’ has depraved and melancholy tones. It doesn’t inspire energy and festiveness, which are two of the more important emotions of ‘Pumpkin Palace’. I put it at the end so the listener can decide if they feel they want to give time to the diluted and hopeless energy of ‘The Holy See’ after listening to the high energy tracks.

‘Pumpkin Palace’ is available now and you can order it online via Echopraxia‘s BandCamp (here).

You can keep up-to-date with the band and what they’re up to via Facebook (here), Twitter (here), and Instagram (here).