When Connecticut emo titans The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die dropped Invading the World of the Guilty as a Spirit of Vengeance back in August it was an impressively grand statement, even from a band whose music often plays with the gravity of operas or Greek tragedies.
Named one of our essential guitar tracks the week it was released, the song – the lead single from the band's new album, Illusory Walls – was a surprising, but certainly not unwelcome, tonal shift, displaying the influences of twisty math-rock and down-tuned metal chug.
According to guitarist Chris Teti, this was no accident. "This track [Invading the World of the Guilty...] first started as Antidotes-era Foals worship, guitar-wise," he tells Guitar World. "I was trying to focus on higher staccato chord hits and muted single note lines to accent the synth part in the verse.
"For years I’ve wanted to add tapping guitar lines to a TWIABP song since I take a lot of influence from bands like Russian Circles, Gojira and Native, but I could never find a spot where it felt necessary on our older material," he continued. "The stars aligned with the higher tuning/capo on the leads for this track, which put it in a comfortable range for me to finally dig into that influence and explore new ground for us."
You can watch Teti explore these disparate influences and techniques in his immersive new playthrough video for the song, which Guitar World is premiering today, below.
One of the immediately striking aspects of Invading the World of the Guilty..., on first listen, is the dynamic contrast of Teti's high-register tapping with the song's brutal, low-register baritone riffing. The guitarist detailed how he created this many-layered sonic storm to Guitar World:
"For most of the songs on the record I laid out a single guitar skeleton demo and then went back through adding in all of the additional parts. I laid out the initial guitars for this track with a capo on the 7th fret and knew it would need something lower to fill out the sound.
"Dynamically it all felt to be in a similar register, so I wanted to further separate out the guitar tracks with a larger octave spread," Teti continued. "I realized I was exactly an octave up from standard baritone tuning, so I built all the rhythm guitars off of both the heavy use of baritones as well as the EHX Pitchfork blending in the lower octave for the capo-ed up guitar lines."
Though it was recorded with a slimmed-down five-member lineup, Teti wanted Illusory Walls to show fearlessness, depth and a side of pure, feral aggression.
"The use of baritones in TWIABP for me is influenced by bands like the Deftones and O’Brother," he said. "While I’ve used baritones in our previous material, I really wanted to make their presence more featured and aggressive this time around. Thankfully my co-producer, Greg Thomas, comes from a heavier musical background and he really helped push me further into that realm tonally.
"We’ve had hints of it in previous material, but never fully committed," Teti added. "Even though I’m the only guitarist in the band now, I didn’t want this album to come across like it was missing any of the depth or layering of the previous records; in fact I wanted to push everything further."
- Illusory Walls is available now via Epitaph Records.