War-Songs

As those of you who have read the later books in the Angel Brings Fire series will be well-aware, one (hopefully) unique characteristic of those who inherit access to Amaiish (a.k.a. “The Fire“), is the presence of a “war-song”, (or Métschaì’l – MAYT-sha-AYE-el in the Storied Watcher’s own language) – a unique, semi-subconscious melody which sometimes plays in the background, “from everywhere and nowhere” – when one of the “New People” energizes his or her particular alien-power(s).

Not all of the Storied Watcher’s followers have a war-song (even some who have reasonably potent alien-powers don’t have one), and the precise melody experienced by those in the immediate vicinity of a given character who does have a war-song, can vary from time to time. Also, a war-song can be purely ethereal – that is, it “plays” only in the minds of its beholders – at one time, but then manifest itself in conventional (sometimes, very loud and long-ranged) sound-waves, at another time. Nobody really knows why this is, and even Karéin-Mayréij herself is somewhat at a loss to fully explain or control it.

With the above in mind, some readers have asked me, “well, what, exactly, does a ‘war-song’ sound like?”

The answer is simple : “it sounds like, whatever you think it sounds like”.

That having been said, if people want to know what kinds of tunes were going through my mind at the time when I wrote The Angel Brings Fire, I can tell you what my conception is of the war-songs used by some of the major characters… please note, this is obviously not a definitive list, and is not meant to over-rule you own imagination of what these (mostly) subtle, background-hymns would sound like, if encountered up close.

Note : Trademarks and copyrights to all songs belong to their respective owners and are only reproduced here for informative purposes.

Karéin-Mayréij : The Storied Watcher, as you might imagine, has a wide variety of these war-songs, which vary according to which combination of powers that she happens to be using.

However, I always imagined [SPOILER ALERT!] the scene when she explodes through the underground ceiling in the bottom of the R.B. Cheney Detention Facility, as being set to the exciting, rapid-paced tune of Song Seven, by Interpol or perhaps the first part of Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi (up to about 0:45 into the song), although at other times, her appearance is accompanied by a stirring, exciting blast of music akin to what’s heard at about the 2:48 mark of Heading For Nowhere by Jets Overhead or in What I’ve Done by Linkin Park (first 0:23 of the song).

And for those of you who remember Book 2 (Doubt Me Not), the ethereal song playing in Bob Billings’ car, while “Sari” pours out her heart to her new-found friends and the shocked humans begin to realize who’s in the back seat, is When Tomorrow Comes, by The Shore.

The Storied Watcher’s death-run against the “Lucifer” comet sounded (as is mentioned in Angel of Mailànkh) like a kind of godly improvement on the last few bars of the iconic Stairway To Heaven, by Led Zeppelin.

Karéin’s “oo-oo-oo” wail, which frequently accompanies her appearance at the scene of a battle, sounds like the equivalent, eerie wail done by Loreena McKennitt, in her great Celtic masterpiece, The Mummer’s Dance.

A few “war-songs” are “common” to all of the Storied Watcher’s “major” disciples; these empower all of the “more-than-humans” within earshot, when they are about to collectively embark on a major voyage, task, battle or quest. These “shared” war-songs typically have the electric, fast-paced beat found in Iridescent by Linkin Park (riff starting at 2:43) and in Frost by Vertical Horizon (riff starting at 3:39).

Tommy Singing-Bird George : Like his adopted mother, Tommy has a variety of war-songs, but the most common one (which you really don’t want to hear, especially if he’s aiming in your direction at the time) sounds somewhat similar to Bryan Adams’ immortal guitar chords at 2:35 into Run To You. His more “standard” war-song is reminiscent of the first few bars of New Divide, by Linkin Park.

Cherie Tanaka : Underneath by Alanis Morissette (the riff that starts at about 3:05 into the song). Her war-wail “oo-ai-oo” sounds like a combination of what you hear on Underneath and the similar sound at the 1:09 mark of Geraldine by Glasvegas (and keep in mind, when “The First Of The Fire” – as is the case with her angelic mentor – fully empowers herself, the effect is overwhelming; Tanaka’s war-song reverberates everywhere and leaves no doubt as to who’s on the way!

Sam Jacobson : 9th Life by Papa Roach; the song nicely captures Jacobson’s unstoppable, hard-charging, indestructible motif.

Brent Boyd : Broken Over You by Vertical Horizon, starting at about the 28-second mark.

Devon White : This one was difficult to decide, because there’s no popular song (at least not one with which I’m familiar) that is a close match for his dignified, inspirational, yet fast-paced and exciting, war-song. That said, let’s go with an admixture (if that’s possible) of parts of Quiet As A Mouse by Margot And The Nuclear So & So’s (at 0:17 into the song) and Harbour Lights by A Silent Film, starting at about 2:25.

Sergei Chkalov : Who knows? All I can say is, “if you heard Sergei’s war-song, you’d think it second only to perhaps Tanaka’s.”  Update : I now know what the redoubtable Mr. Chkalov’s war-song is; it’s Spokoynaya Noch’ by that greatest of Russian rock bands, Kino. Listen especially for the mind-blowing guitar at about 3:32 and you’ll know what it sounds like when Sergei lights up his personal Fire!

Minnie Chu : Another Way In by the Rosebuds, especially the riff starting at about the 0:40 time position. (When Ms. Chu fires her rather wicked stare, the accompanying sound is Jimi Hendrix’ famous, never-duplicated guitar wail at about 2:00 into All Along The Watchtower.)

Sylvia Abruzzio : Back-beat from Change The Sheets, by Kathleen Edwards, especially the part at about 1:58 into the song. This one is probably the best example of all, regarding how a war-song works; imagine the pace of the ephemeral, exciting, stirring electro-rock back-beat picking up, as Sylvia powers up her abilities, in similar manner to how it goes in this great tune.

Will Hendricks : My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark, by Fall Out Boy, especially the very first part of the song “bam wham thank you Ma’am”…

Misha (a.k.a. Mikhail Grishin) : This is a pretty hard one because I don’t have access to a lot of good, contemporary Russian rock music. So I’ll go with Hear Me by Imagine Dragons (the one from the Answers To Nothing soundtrack, not the inferior radio version!)

Wolf (a.k.a. Darryl D. Bennington) : Did you even have to askHell’s Bells by AC/DC, and also Fire Woman by The Cult (move that pointer to 0:40 and turn the volume to “11”).  😉

Otis Boatman : Forever by Papa Roach, starting at about the 0:52-second mark.

Hector Ramirez : Another one that was hard to decide upon exactly due to the lack of a good match; but let’s pick The Harbour by Leaves, starting at about 35 seconds into the song.

Jerry Kaysten : Calgary by Bon Iver, but only the short part beginning at the song’s 1:50 mark; this melody predominates when Jerry uses his “killer joke” ability. When running at high speed, his war-song sounds more like Time Turns Around by the Spoons.

Sebastiàn : Try to imagine a version of Cold Seed by Tiamat (starting at approximately 42 seconds into the song), but with a Latino beat, and that’s what this sinister and very potent “new human’s” war-song sounds like. His war-song also has (duh!) some elements of Poison by Shiny Toy Guns.

Bob Billings : There’s nothing in my music collection that’s exactly like the former salesman’s angry, ominous war-song, but the closest equivalent is Fine Again by Seether, starting at about the 1:00 mark in the song, or perhaps the riff in Narc by Interpol, found at the 0:57 mark. (It should be noted that Billings doesn’t really like using all of these “weirdo” alien-powers, so his war-song isn’t very often heard… but if you do hear it… time to get out of the way!)

Whitney Claremont : It’s not an exact match, but Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North, is pretty close. (Off-topic note : Finally, a Christian-rock group that’s able and willing to write and perform good music, as opposed to beating you over the head with “inspirational” lyrics. Maybe there is a God?) Whitney’s war-song also (when she is pushing her powers to the limit) sounds a lot like Afer Ventus by Enya.

Melissa Claremont : Another one that’s not right on the mark but let’s go with Silenced By The Night by Keane.

Curtis Claremont : Fortunately for the eardrums of the other “more-than-humans”, young master Claremont doesn’t get to use his primary alien-power very much within the scope of the Angel Brings Fire series. However, I’ve always thought that if he could, you’d hear something sort of like some bars from Sometimes by Ours, at about the 2:44 mark.

Donny Wade : A fairly easy one… Hey Now by Augustana, especially the great slide guitar found at about 2:35 in that song, but also with elements found in The Struggle by Grizfolk.

Saquina White : The riff of Evermore by Vertical Horizon, starting at the 1:31 mark.

As noted above, these are my conceptions of what the war-songs of the major characters from the Angel Brings Fire series sound like; but they needn’t be yours. Think of any kind of music that’s (a) exciting with a good beat and (b) you like to hear, and play that in the background as you read The Angel Brings Fire!

Marcus Shields

Author, The Angel Brings Fire

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