It's been a long road, but HBO's Game of Thrones is finally done. Season 8 has been pretty chaotic, with a lot of fans arguing over whether or not character arcs were destroyed as Daenerys, John Snow and Co. trudged toward that final, catastrophic King's Landing siege (which, incidently, lines up perfectly when set to Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls").
After last night's series finale (May 19th) System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian took to Twitter to express his gratitude for being able to contribute to the award-winning franchise's soundtrack:
"After the epic conclusion to @GameOfThrones, I'm honored to announce that my friend and series composer @Djawadi_Ramin invited me to contribute vocals to "Rains of Castamere" for the Season 8 soundtrack."
"The Rains of Castamere" serves as a testament to character Tywin Lannister's domination in a battle against House Reyne, and has become somewhat of a theme song for the Lannister House. Most iconically it was deployed during the show's "Red Wedding" episode to signal that Robb Stark and company were going to get got and totally betrayed by the Freys under the request of the Lannisters.
Tankian's vocals help to play up the sordid history of the song, beginning with a pretty delicate and quiet take on the lyrics. As the track continues to swell, his vocals grow more and more emotional and dramatic until the song's truly memorable conclusion. It's haunting and beautiful, and a fitting good-bye to the Lannisters and the show as a whole.
Below, in Episode 1 of our exclusive three-part "The Art of Work" series with Serj Tankian, the iconic vocalist/multi-instrumentalist invites us into his home studio for a revealing discussion about the evolution of his creativity — and why "sticking to one formula" is the kiss of death for an artist.