Februus was totally rewritten three times, being first an EP called February, then an album called February, and then the Februus that is publicly out. Auré [Perreira, guitarist], Benoît [Friedrich, bassist] and I started working on it back in February (uh…yes) 2009. Each version was a significant milestone that allowed us to see what was working and what could be improved and helped us to refine the concept through the music.
Basically, the concept is the journey of a gifted entity promised to a greater place, going from his inception to his total independence, facing deception and delusion. The world in which he evolves is harsh and unfriendly but ultimately led by higher entities we could commonly call as gods. It’s a personal interpretation of what the god Februus was representing, being able to purify death and nothingness to wealth, an allegory of spring.
We wanted this track to be an analogy of birth and the first moments of existence. When you think about it, it’s a violent, very abrupt act yet genuinely motherly and so protective. We depicted this through the raw, hard-hitting and seemingly never-ending intro pushing farther and farther until bursting out. Then the pace is changed, dragging in an intimate, much warmer second part of the track leading to the last indulgent cheers showing the way out to let the entity find his own path.
It was a tough decision for us to agree on when the track was finished, even during the mastering we re-wrote some ambiences and re-recorded rhythm sections for it.
To put it in a nutshell, take our candid and inexperienced entity, drop him alone in the nature and watch him from afar with binoculars. It’s the first acquaintance with reality, and it’s much uglier and less embracing than what was expected. The entity goes through an understanding of the rules and his place in a hierarchy where he has to find the right place to last. He’s unable to freely express himself while still seeing what happens around, just like being trapped in ice.
The ice melts down and a flood occurs, provoking chaos and releasing him. It is, for him, the first time he can put his feet on solid ground, allowed to finally roam freely.
“Frost” and “Hail” really felt unusually easy to write. It was as if everything was falling in place with no effort and if I remember well it’s the first time we deemed something for the album as definitive.
Now the entity is liberated, he can follow his curiosity and start learning from there.
From the beginning of the writing, we knew we wanted some 100% drone/ambient sections on the album and we really felt like the transition between “Hail” and “Buds” would be the ideal place to put one. When Auré sent me the track, which was 15 minutes long at first, he wasn’t sure what to do with it. I was just coming back from a week-long studio run with Matthieu [Romarin, vocalist] where we worked on “Buds” vocals and “Exmersion” directly made sense to us; it fit way too graciously where it is now to just leave it out.
Knowledge is power and innocence is forever tarnished while acquiring it. Our lil’ entity is now progressively gathering strength through his self-education. Feeling very confortable and gaining confidence after his experiences, he gets his mind twisted into a corrupted way of thinking, losing himself in deluded thoughts of vengeance. The whole track is about how he is straying from the path he was supposed to follow in an irrepressible escalation of insanity.
This track has had a lot of structure and tonal changes. When we had the first bare-bone of it, the heavy ending was supposed to be the introduction and did sound much less “evil,” and we were even thinking about having clean vocals on it!
All the earned frustration is now cast back in anger, destroying everything around with no distinction. BREAK. ALL. THE. THINGS.
Another tough track! We had “Buds” and “Quittance” ready for quite some time and we needed a transition between both. I felt like this section had to be powerful and kinda pivotal. Once we recorded vocals on the first version, it didn’t sound right melody-wise, way too “mainstream US metal fuck yeah.” We made the heavy build-up more concise and changed the tonal mode while keeping the vocals as they were and that feeling vanished!
The entity is now alone, emerging from his blind furor and gaining conscience about what he did. The beginning of the track displays the remorse and soul-searching he goes through before expanding and asking the gods/higher entities for redemption and the right to get back on the path of self-sufficiency and internal plenitude.
This track contains some of the oldest riffs of the album, one of them even coming out of a track I did back in 2006. It was quite interesting to see these survive this far.
It’s the struggle for an answer, a right of way to continue. The entity is put in limbo, between two different states of his journey, waiting for approval to continue.
There are lots of things to be heard in this track if you put your ears at the right place.
“Plenitude” & “Finale”
The tracks’ titles speak for themselves here I guess! Time for the take-off – the entity is now allowed to elevate to a higher state of consciousness, finding again the inner peace from the first moments and therefore reaching plenitude.
Just like “Frost” and “Hail,” these two tracks were written together and very smoothly. Still, they are based on a pattern and tonal structure that went through all versions of Februus. I was never able to give it full justice until we made a whole song solely based on it. Glad to see we managed to use it that way!