Memoirs of each album, demo, EP or single I've worked on between 2005 and 2018, with a brief introduction outlining some other musical endeavors between 1996 and 2004.

Re-entry (1996-2004)

September 15, 2018

When MORBID DARKNESS went tits up in mid-late 1996 I initially continued writing sporadically, jammed with friends and my sister Jessica (RIP 1978-2018) and went about life to the best of my ability.  Business as usual, I suppose, although things anew were afoot and changes were on the wind.  The years end was a segue into probably the darkest period of my life.  No one needs to know every trivial detail about this period...the usual themes were present, such as family problems and ailing loved ones.  My main issue was of an insidious nature.  I recall once telling my sister while on a walk one day that I thought my spirit had died.  I felt like a shell whose soul had faded into near non-existence.  Situations...circumstances...  A real need to wake the fuck up and do some soul searching.  Eventually the groove widened again and I was able to skip along with relative happiness.  Closure was perhaps a big thing; it always seems to be, really, for any matter in life.

Musically, I began jamming quite regularly with Jeremy and Chris, among others (RIP Shale Simpson).  By late 1998 I had enough income moving in to buy a 4 track tape recorder (ending a 3 year affair with my uncle Colin's AKAI reel-to-reel) as well as some other much needed gear.  In my spare time I worked on scouring my archives and finding anything worth documenting so as to inventory my body of musical work with MD as well as my personal music from 1988-1998, pet-naming it the 'Decade Project'.  This was part of the closure I spoke of earlier.  I also wrote a lot of new stuff, mostly passages but a few full songs as well.  The mix of casual jamming and writing/recording at home continued up until about mid-2000.  For a stretch here I worked mostly alone, eventually conceiving a solid solo Metal project called DROL.  I recorded various rough incomplete demos for this act as well as for another less heavy venture called godSHAVEthequeen from between 2001 and 2004.  Everything was instrumental and mainly it all served as practice for my chops on the guitar and drums as well as a cusp of transitioning from my 4-track analog recordings to digital computer based multi-tracking.

Throughout this period of my life my contact with Clayton was mainly non-existent though but a few brief encounters.  He had taken a near-deadly hit in the spring of 1998.  I went to see him in the hospital, though he was unconscious at the time.  We had a few brief phone conversations some time after.  Months later I received a letter and a Sony 90 tape with KREATOR's 'Cause For Conflict' and IMPALED NAZARENE's 'Latex Cult' on the B-side.  It was a dreary affair, what happened that year, yet like as in many things life just fell back into place and moved onward.  When I decided to make the Decade Project a serious personal commitment I asked Clayton to join me.  I got no reply from him, I assumed he'd given up on the past and eventually I decided to forego the project for that reason among others.  Give up on the past and move forward.  Like I said, we crossed paths a couple of other times but it wasn't until after my father's death in spring 2004 that I heard from him again on purpose.  From there we talked more regularly but, as you'll read in future posts, the dynamics of our relationship would never truly change...a lot of roller-coaster action.  In these many years we have had really kick-ass times and connected as friends on many key things and then bouts of really shitty times when the mere though of him invoked the most insipid dread.  I think we've buried any hatchets regarding our past conflicts. And now we are on peaceful terms but the prospect of ever doing anything musical together is implausible.

In the summer of 2004, after a few trying months of grieving, Jeremy and Kasey Klassen stopped by my house with a proposal to start up a proper band.  I accepted, and most of the remainder of the year was spend bonding, writing, jamming and drinking with these guys, and Chris Wynne as well, who came in on bass guitar initially.  Jeremy left at the end of 2004 to work up north but not before we managed to record our first demo as PERPETUANCE.  Upon his departure, I was left with some time to work on a new project...

Back in the fall of 1999 I had hatched a scheme to work on something very dark and heavy, besides the Decade Project at the time.  Though I had written bits of songs throughout the years since that point the project hadn't yet seen the full light of day.  I decided now would be the time to make it happen as I had a few months before Jeremy's return in the spring of 2005.  I dubbed it GODCURSED, which was one of a shitload of names rejected by the boys when we were trying to decide on a band name for PERPETUANCE.

After recording the PERPETUANCE demo, I began writing for a second demo.  The 2 songs which comprise the GODCUSED 2004 Demo are in fact 2 of these songs.  I decided to use them for this new project of mine and so began the preproduction for what would become my first solo album, 'Domain', in 2005.

And this is where my upcoming series of accounts or memoirs regarding all my self-produced/self-released projects from 2005-2018 will begin.  Enjoy.

Chris Shaver, September 15, 2018

1. Domain (2005)

Godcursed - Domain 2005
Christopher Ian Shaver

Released May 28, 2005

1. Crawling God

2. Where The Wraith Awaits

3. Needle Eye

4. Maleficia

5. Dead Of Winter

6. Spurning The Cross

7. The Gift Of Tongues

8. Dread Realm

9. As The Moon I Haunt You

10. Bloodblack

11. Danse Macabre

Recorded December 2004-March 2005 @ DeciBelaire by Chris Shaver.

Chris Shaver - All Instruments.

Artwork by Chris Shaver.  

In 1999, whilst working on the Decade Project, I felt a sense of longing for the lost material I had written for what was to be the second MORBID DARKNESS demo, 'Enter The 7th Sacrificial Domain' back in 1992.  I had remembered a handful of riffs and because all the writing tapes were destroyed many years before I had no real references to revise and potentially record them for inclusion on the Decade Project - which, incidentally, was the revision and re-recording of all released and unreleased MORBID DARKNESS demos from 1989-1995.  As I conceived my new and yet unnamed project I kept at the forefront of my mind the need to shed light on this forlorn body of music and write anew using it solely as my inspiration.  At the time the farthest I got with any full composition was what would become 'Crawling God'.  The project went on the back burner along with the Decade Project when it became apparent that I was loosing steam over the whole thing.

Fast forward to late 2004, as my previously conceived project was gaining momentum to becoming a reality.  Named GODCURSED (I should have really called it 'Curse God', as that was the true idea behind the name, not 'Cursed By God'), I began the work on 'Domain' in the form of some pre-production in December 2004.

On the technical side of things, I had been using Steinberg recording software (thanks Chris Wynne) for 6 or so months but my meager 2 input M-Audio USB soundcard presented more than a few obstacles, primarily while tracking drums.  In the end, my signal chain was as follows:  2 overhead Samson pencil condensers in a stereo pattern as well as 3 tom mics (1970s/80s era tape recorder microphones - very trashy) were run through Kasey's Mackie mixer and the stereo out went into my M-Audio Duo.  As opposed to running the whole kit through the mixer, which could have been done, I opted to send the snare and kick mic signals (via a Shure 58-copy and an Optimus omni-directional dynamic, respectively) to my Yamaha MTX-4 and from there into my Mini Disc recorder component unit, each panned hard left and right so I could play them back on to the software as separate tracks and sync them up afterwards using audio cues.  It worked great and allowed me to really manipulate the sounds for both the snare and kick drums.

Guitars were run from my Peavey Studio Pro 112 with a Boss MT-2 pedal directly to the Duo.  I was obsessed with the guitar sound I had developed back in '99 while dreaming up this yet unborn project.  It was loosely based mainly on two albums I loved: SLAUGHTER's 'Strappado' and ASSASSIN's 'Interstellar Experience'.  The general 'chainsaw' attributes came through and it worked well enough.  I wasn't inherently playing a lot of guitar solos at this time and sadly this is evident here.  However, I did a lot of layering and this makes up for that shortcoming in my mind when I listen to the album today.  I had no bass guitar.  So I tracked clean guitar "bass" parts in the neck pickup position (for fatter tone) and later manipulated these tracks with some pitch shifting plugins.  It worked well, I think, though the bass parts aren't way up front anyway.  Vocals were something I hadn't done literally for years.  I sang through one of my pencil condensers.  I remember that editing the vocal tracks was the biggest shit-show about this whole album.  All production came to a close in late March, early April 2005.

Some songs were brand new, written during production, some had a few old riffs and were added on during production and some were near finished older compositions.  I was going for a dark and sinister vibe as that was the one present in the 'ET7SD' material from '92.  Lyrical themes were right in line with that.

The artwork was some photo manipulation stuff of my own face and the row of trees on my grandma's property set in winter with the eastern mountains in the background.  This was a concept which hearkened back to my memories of winter '91/'92 when I would walk to my mother's house on some Friday nights.  My mental state at that time was dark and brooding indeed.  There is also a nod to a feeling that 'something' was sometimes felt to be watching us (Clayton and myself) during the summer of '91 and 'its' origin seemed to be from the direction of those very mountains and trees in the photos I used.  It all seemed very fitting with the overall dark vibe of the music.

I initially released a bunch of labelled CDR's, mainly to friends and acquaintances before eventually releasing it digitally on Garageband.  PERPETUANCE had regrouped by this time, with a new moniker DEVILUTION and though my solo project would lie dormant for a while it was just as well.  Being in an actual band, though not without its moments of frustration and occasional annoyances, was giving me new perspectives on music in general.  I learned more about guitar playing in a year being in the company of Chris Wynne, a very gifted player, than in my whole life up til then.  Besides all that, it was good to have camaraderie with some good blokes again and I really do treasure a lot of those memories we shared together.  We had also brought in Quin Cormier (RIP) to play bass allowing Chris to share guitar duties with me and show off his soloing talents.  We played some gigs and wrote a bunch more songs and then after New Year 2006 things went quiet yet again.  

The main take away from 'Domain' was that I had finally self-produced and released a proper complete album, something I had aspired to achieve since the days just before MORBID DARKNESS became a ghost and which I nearly did achieve in 2002/2003 with DROL.  I'm never satisfied, though, and I consider each project to be a prerequisite to another.

Chris Shaver, September 15, 2018