Singled Out: Dark Empire's A Plague in the Throne Room
Believe it or not, the main guitar theme for "Plague" started as a gentle acoustic guitar/piano interlude, with the melody played in the lower notes of the guitar part, and performed much slower as well, more like a ballad. It sounded nice, but then idea struck me "what would happen if I took this piano part, sped it up, and played it as a guitar lead?" The result was badass, and I instantly knew this was going to be the first track of the album.
Since it was to be the album opener, I decided for "Plague" to serve as a meeting ground between the familiar elements of our previous album, Humanity Dethroned, and the darker, more progressive elements that are found throughout the rest of FRTR. To that end, though, there are still some 70's progressive rock influences here, in some subtle and not so subtle ways. The use of mellotron choir in the chorus and violins in the bridge melody should be obvious, but a less apparent influence lies in that the bridge melody is found later on in the album, during the chorus of "Black Hearts Demise." This idea comes from Genesis, who would reprise melodies from the front of the album in songs at the end of the album to create a "bookend" feel. Speaking of the bridge, that is also the oldest riff on the album, dating back to around 2007.
Lyrically, the song lends itself to the concept of deterioration (in society, government, personal relationships, etc), which is the prevalent theme throughout FRTR. In this case, it speaks of the deterioration of government, and of the corruption within it. It's obvious that most people these days are dissatisfied with the way things are being run, and I wrote the lyrics to express that dissatisfaction in a way that people could relate regardless of where their personal beliefs lie.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!