Alexander must deal with the aftermath of his father's
assassination. It seems the assassin didn't work alone,
and the evidence leads to some disturbing conclusions.


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12/02/2009: All instruments recorded, mix still needs work.
4/30/2010: Alexander vox recorded, no fx yet & mix needs work.
7/16/2010: Final instrumental mix, just needs Olympias vox.
8/12/2010: Olympias vox done, principal recording complete!
8/19/2010: Double-tracked acoustic guitars, Beta mix.


Mother, hold your tongue until you
Know the wage your words might earn
Intrigue has long been your domain
But I am quick to learn

The evidence shows Father's assassin
Could not have worked alone
And you've made no secret of your gratitude
For the murder that gave me the throne

There was a time I'd tell you all
And you the same to me
Those days are gone for now at least
And may forever be

For now I need to show the world
A fair but ruthless hand
So I'll take my vengeance on anyone guilty...
Anyone, understand?

I've heard of a noble in Persia who wields
Hidden power behind the crown
Bagoas the poisoner sponsored Darius
And took the old emperor down

Perhaps he believes that Darius will be
A mere puppet to dance on a string
Perhaps he considers you less of a threat
Than your father, if he were still king

Perhaps he made two kings in one year
Perhaps ambition is strange

Perhaps he underestimates you both

Perhaps his opinion will change

Let's assume Bagoas responsible
For your/my father's fallen crown

No army on earth can save him
From the wrath that I'll bring down

Mother, one more thing before
I grant you leave to go
Some at court still chafe to see
This half-breed on the throne

I'll not intervene if Father's widow
Meets an early grave
Grieving for a precious full-blood
Son she couldn't save

But leave Attalus to my revenge
A bastard, I was called
He'll taste my sword this day, I swear
Oh please, don't act appalled

It seems I share your witching gift
Do you not admire my spell?
'Twas you who claimed I'm born of gods
Let's hope they serve me well

A word of explanation:

Philip's assassin had a plausible motive that would fit right in on the Jerry Springer show,
but surviving historical evidence strongly suggests he didn't work alone. There is also
fairly convincing evidence that Alexander himself was not involved. Although to be fair,
Alexander became king, and winners write the history books, so the lack of evidence
against him two thousand years later doesn't completely exonerate him.

Alexander later publicly accused the Persians of involvement, specifically the eunuch Bagoas,
who personally assassinated the reigning Persian king so his protege Darius could take the
throne, the very same year that Philip was assassinated. It's unclear if Alexander really
believed this, or if he was just drumming up support to invade Persia (and by my previous
argument, it's even possible that Alexander or his supporters had a hand in fabricating the
evidence of a conspiracy). On the other hand, Philip had publicly delared his intention to
invade Persia, while Alexander was famously fascinated with and sympathetic to Persian culture,
so Bagoas really might have considered Alexander less of a threat than Philip (and Bagoas had
already assassinated one king to put somebody he liked better on the throne).

However, Alexander would have had to be completely oblivious not to suspect his mother.
The timing of the assassination (immediately after Philip and Eurydice produced a full-blooded
heir to the Macedonian throne) is an awfully big coincidence. Other historical details about
Olympias indicate she was a truly Machiavellian character. I believe she acted to guarantee
her son the throne by fanning the assassin's smoldering resentment of Philip into a burning
desire for revenge, providing him the opportunity to strike by encouraging her daughter to
get married, and probably arranging to ensure he wouldn't survive to tell any tales.
I believe Alexander turned a blind eye to his mother's involvement and used Bagoas as an
credible scapegoat to kill two birds with one stone (deflecting suspicion from his mother,
and justifying the eventual invasion of Persia).

Olympias killed Eurydice and her children shortly after the assassination.
While there's no evidence Alexander had anything to do with that either,
he personally killed Attalus after they were dead, so he clearly understood
what loose ends needed to be tied up before his power would be secure.

Songwriting Notes

I agonized for months about double-tracking the acoustic
guitars to thicken them up a bit (technically quadruple track
since there are two parts). I was really happy with how lush
the quadruple-tracked acoustics turned out on "Coda", but
I was worried the electric piano might lose definition if the
guitars got "bigger". In the end, I think it works pretty well.

While I'm on the topic of the electric piano, I experimented with
a number of instrumentation alternatives before settling on what
I think is a sweet Fender Rhodes tone. Between that choice of
instrument and the mildly jazz-influenced keyboard arrangement,
it's definitely a departure from my usual style, but I think it really
enhances the contrast with the intense (aka "heavy") bits. Just don't
call it "mature". Usually when reviewers say an artist has achieved
"more mature songwriting", that's when I stop buying their CDs :)

Copyright 2009 Jeff Buser.

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