"The songs would suck if we didn't work as a team," Haarp's Shaun Emmons told Noisecreep, looking back on the time it took to write each song on the band's full-length debut. Some songs on 'The Filth' needed time to grow and transform as the band did; certain tracks go as far back to the first practices. But as the frontman explained, everyone in the New Orleans sludge outfit plays a role in the writing process.

"[Drummer Keith Sierra] is constantly in my ear with these crazy ideas, stories and concepts," he explained. "He'll work with his girlfriend to make sure there [are] no holes in the story line and that everything is continuous and makes sense." This is how Haarp go where no other band goes -- each song's lyrics begin as a two-to-three-page short story, and lyrics are pulled from it later.

"I don't know if I'm a poet or what," Emmons laughed, his bayou accent adding the smile, "but usually it's big long stories that get condensed down and transformed by my writing style, I guess, to become a song. It's definitely a team effort. Everything is criticized by everyone in the band, and nobody gets their feelings hurt because there are a lot of things that get used."

This type of care and thought is very rare in a metal band. "Not too many people want to take the time to do it and not too many people want to take the time to even figure it out or read into it. But I guess, it will be the only way we will be satisfied -- if there is meaning behind everything."

Haarp's long stories, which eventually become slow-burning epic jams, begin when the band is hanging out. "A lot of the stories come up when we're out partying in New Orleans or whatever we end up getting into. I'll think of something, someone else thinks of something, or somebody will say something that triggers some kind of thought."

This is why what Emmons never forgets to have his notebook in his back pocket; an idea could come at any moment. "I'm always ready to jot something down, even a one liner will turn into a whole story."

Some stories, once twisted and pulled to fit lyrically, can't just be contained in one song. On 'The Filth,' a narrative tale about a glutton king was spread out over 'A New Reign' and 'Plurimus Humilus, Ciacco.' But there was a gap in between the two parts of the story, so the band looked at famed tattoo artist and master of the macabre Paul Booth to create the visual to bridge the songs together.

"He captured that small moment in between the two songs that really isn't in words on the album," said Emmons. "He completed the story."

Haarp will be on tour with Arson Anthem and Warbeast beginning Jan. 25.

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