It feels like June is going to be the start of murder season this year. I’m not sure of the exact date, so just circle the whole month in red on your calendar, preferably with someone else’s blood. Sometime that month, as best we can tell, Doomentia Records will release a split LP by Mordbrand from Sweden and Gravehill from Hellheim, California (aka Los Angeles).
The LP will combine two new EPs, one by each band with separate artwork, and they deliver two different but equally lethal forms of death metal slaughtering. Mordbrand’s half is entitled In Nighted Waters, and Gravehill have branded their offering with the name Skullbearer. Today we have for you the premiere of one of Mordbrand’s five tracks on the split, “Cold Womb”, as well as a stream of a Gravehill song called “Upon the 6th Chime”.
MORDBRAND: “COLD WOMB”
I’ve been following Mordbrand since their debut release in a 2010 split with Evoke and have spilled words about virtually everything they’ve released since then. They were very good at the start and have only gotten better. Two of the band’s three members, guitarist-bassist Bjørn Larsson and vocalist Per Boder, were involved in the recent revival of the legendary God Macabre, and maybe that experience has added an extra dose of morbid energy, because In Nighted Waters is sounding like Mordbrand’s strongest work yet.
The song you’re about to hear, “Cold Womb”, is an up-tempo affair, with a bouncing, brawling rhythm. Johan Rudberg’s drumming will get your head moving without delay and keep it moving all the way through, and Boder’s recognizable, jagged, mid-range howl is feral and ferocious.
Meanwhile, the buzzing, grinding riffs (accented by tremolo swarming and a wraith-like solo that moans, shrieks, and shimmers) deliver that deep, familiar, old-school Swedish tone that’s somehow both warm and vicious, kind of like an old friend you’ve just discovered is a serial killer with body parts in the fridge. And that clanging bass line feels like being lashed with a heavy chain.
It’s nasty work, but catchy as hell, and there’s more where this comes from. Here’s the EP’s track list:
1) Decimation Reigns
2) Cold Womb
3) Parishioners of the Bleeding (Storm Against Creation)
4) Where Existence is Null
5) Compost Christ (Bluuurgh cover)
In Nighted Waters features cover art by Timo Ketola, and you can be sure I’ll have more to say about it as we get closer to the release date. And I’m also very happy to pass along the news that Mordbrand are working on a new album…
GRAVEHILL: “UPON THE 6TH CHIME”
Gravehill deliver a different brand of old-school death than Mordbrand, seasoning it with a healthy helping of black metal stylings. Just comparing the two songs we’re streaming from the split today, if Mordbrand come off like an assault of the undead just risen from the grave, Gravehill spawn images of a piranha swarm in a feeding frenzy.
You get a hot dose of demented guitar work and blasting drums right from the start, accompanied by putrid, snarling vocals and the kind of lyrical composition that makes you want to yell along in the chorus. The tone of Gravehill’s turbocharged guitars is higher in range than Mordbrand’s chainsaw-ing, and while there are some rollicking grooves in the song, there’s a palpable, evil aura of bloodlust in the track. The song is capped off by a completely deranged solo that erupts at the same time as a fury of drum blasting, followed by pestilential tremolo vibrations. And like Mordbrand’s track, “Upon the 6th Chime” is catchy as well as fiendish.
Here’s the complete track list for Skullbearer:
1) The Edge Of Our Knives
2) Redeemed In Blood
3) Away From The Light
4) Upon The 6th Chime
5) Sacrifice (Bathory Cover)
You can stream “Upon the 6th Chime” below, and to listen to the entire Gravehill EP, go HERE.