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Storytellers #2- Ouija Board Diagnostics

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I love song titles that engage the listener. Some songs have the title in the chorus, sometimes in the verse, but a majority of the most interesting songs I have ever loved didn't feature the title of the song anywhere within it's lyrics. The title is given based upon the subject matter within the lyrics. Sometimes I feature the title of the song in my lyrics, although I can't help but feel as though i'm somehow "cheating" by doing so. Many times, I come up with a snazzy title before any lyrics are penned. This was the case with "Ouija Board Diagnostics", the second track from our newest release, "The Meritocracy of Hell".

I came up with the title back around 2010. I had just left Halcyon Way, and after a few months away from music I started to entertain a return to music, but I wanted to do it differently, and I wanted it to reflect my own sensibilities. I am a huge fan of horror films(as is my wife) and I have been a big fan of the Horrorpunk scene for many many years. I originally wanted to form a Horrorpunk band, but as a songwriter I lean mostly to hard rock and heavy metal far more than punk, and even if I try to write a punk song, I mess with it until it sounds like metal. "Ouija.." started out as a horrorpunk song, but when I shelved that project I sat on the demos and never wrote any lyrics. The title just sat on my hard drive in a folder marked 'OUIJA'. I still really had no clue as to even how to write the words for this, but the title sounded to good to leave behind.

In 2013, David Prince joined up with Bishop Lake as our lead guitarist. He was interested in bringing some ideas to the table and I told him to bring whatever he wanted. He had listened to the body of work Bishop Lake had recorded before his joining and he felt he could bring things up a notch sonically. And bring it he did! This song was his first offering, and upon hearing it, I instantly knew this song was going to be the music for "Ouija.."

We fleshed out the music in rehearsal with then drummer Scott Prian, and as most great songs are born, it came about quickly and naturally. Many songwriters tend to overthink what they are doing, but sometimes the best ideas happen on their own. It took me a couple of weeks to hammer the lyrics to paper, a cautionary tale of dabbling in the dark arts using the Ouija board as a metaphor for selfish ambitions and destructive rebellion. "See the black candle burn to the floor" indeed.......

Here are some thoughts from David Prince on how he wrote the music for this song:

"When it comes to the song Ouija Board Diagnostics the influences on it made it a mutt of a song. I remember reading an article at the time when Carcass was talking about their most recent album Surgical Steel coming out and them saying that they were bringing "the riff" back because they were tired of hearing all these modern metal bands with their open drop tuned breakdown style riffs. That inspired me to start writing some memorable riffs and at that time I was listening to a lot of Pantera and Black Label Society who are known for their pentatonic riff carnage.  The opening riff was very Zakk Wylde inspired and when you get to the verse you can hear some In Flames kind of thing I had going.  When joining the band Zane discussed with me that he wanted the choruses to be catchy and something that would get stuck in a persons head. When I think of a band that knows how to write catchy hooks I instantly think of Killswitch Engage and that's where I got the riff idea for the chorus. Zane then came up with the lyrics for it and it seemed effortless for him.  After Zane added his memorable vocal lines, Glens ferocious bottom end and Scott's insane drumming the song came out better than I could have imagined. The song brings a lot of energy to our shows and I have a feeling it will be one of Bishop Lakes anthems for a long time."

Bishop Lake – Ouija Board Diagnostics

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