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Lone Climber on the Longest Ridge

by Iceaxe

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This is one 30 minute song that has been split into five parts for your listening convenience. If you purchase the album, you will also receive the full contiguous song.

There is a collection of different styles here that may suit your fancy. Black/doom metal is prevalent across most of the piece. You can find "gaze"-ier elements in Part IV, folk inspiration (ocarina and choir) in Part V, and more traditional metal influences in Part III.

This song was written in 2018. The drums were recorded in 2018 (Dungeonswill Studios). The guitars were recorded in 2019 (Sporelord Studios). Vocals, keys, and reamping was completed in 2020 in the Puke Pile, Golden, Colorado. There is a 30 minute companion song in a similar vein that will likely never be recorded.

If you are interested in a physical release, please let me know. I am thinking about a small run of CDs and/or tapes.

Catalog number: NWR 203-0

Menacing grey columns heap high,
towering above the tallest peaks
I stand silent in still air
Does distant thunder speak?

Like a fallen mote of dust entangled
Within these rotten spires
My silhouette in the thin sky yields
To swarming electric pyres

The mist peels back
from gloomy clefts
Lurking graupel
Is all that’s left

Like all of the times before
The menacing rumbles will fade
The sun scrubs it all away
The cloud sea recedes from the shore

Soon to forget
The recent past
I soak in the views
And cry and smile and laugh

Then hubris comes crawling back
Disdain that I bowed to a god
Disdain that I bowed to the Earth,
Disdain for what stands in my way

Another step
Through this wretched fucking place…
I curse the fucking ground
As the sweat pours down my face

The shrieking of the mindless wind
Snow torn away blasts across the ridge
The sharp stones shake and shudder and groan
It stings my eyes -- I feel so alone!

And when your fingers
Have lost sensation
The iron of your axe feels hot
Don't lose your grip
Or stumble or slip
The end may come before you expect it

Progress is sometimes impossible
The goal concealed by mist
Nothing seen except an indescribable
Writhing in the air, the wind made visible

And when your legs
Will not budge forth
Your blistered skin is falling off
Don't stop and sit
Head in your hands you quit
The end may come before you expect it

Who is responsible for your current suffering?
Look in the mirror
Look in the mirror
Feeling sorry for your self-inflicted misery?
Look in the mirror
Look in the mirror

Clear water sparkles
As it cuts through jagged stone,
Cyan lakes frothed by wind
Push against green flower-brushed fields

And one may think
Those mountains that tower beyond
They rise above an impure world
But you have brought that poison here!

Run to the hills
But what do you run from?
Sure, society is ridden with ills
But you think you’re not scum?

If the strength of the mountaineer
Could be used against malice --
To help the weak and poor living in fear
Of inequities that can crumble like talus

The slanting rays
Watch how the the sun steals
Shadows within shadows
Pure snow reveals
Countless unsuspected forms
Of the infinite

Time has lost all meaning here
The horizon converges up ahead
It’s clear what must be done
I will get there, or die instead

And once arrived - it’s not the end
The joy will fade, struggles begin again
It’s even harder to make no mistakes
Towards the valley, the direction that granite breaks

The sun is slipping, turning red
My dark reflection stretching, black
and it’s hard to go on, when your one goal is complete
When the acridness on the tongue used to be so fucking sweet

"Still the last, sad memory hovers 'round and sometimes drifts across like floating mist, cutting off sunshine, and chilling the remembrance of happier times. There have been joys too great to be described in words, and there have been griefs upon which I have not dared to dwell: and with these in mind I say, Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end."

And so it comes, when the mountains have passed away
Yielding to forces which nothing can withstand
Naught but a heap of shapeless dust

But until then… have humanity
Feel no fear in the face of nonexistence
But until then… have nobility
It may not matter in the end,
But until then...

Reach far beyond the highest heights!
Exult the grandeur of the Earth!
Let the waterfalls wash away your sweat!
Soak in the splendor of the sun!
Let the long grass brush against your legs!
Tear down all obstacles in your way!


released March 30, 2020

Thomas Horner: Music (guitars, fretless bass, drums, vocals, keyboards, ocarina) and engineering.

Cover art and some lyrics/ideas by Edward Whymper: "Scrambles Amongst the Alps" (1871).




Iceaxe Denver, Colorado

Colorado mountaineering metal.

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