After releasing three albums and an EP from 2005 to 2011, the melodic death metal band Heaven Ablaze from London, Ontario, called it a day and went on indefinite hiatus eight years ago. But one of the relationships within that group later created the seeds of something new. Years later, a chance encounter between guitarist Patrick Davidson and drummer Matt Ashton led to jam sessions, and eventually to the fleshing out of a complete new band with the addition of bassist Chris McKichan, guitarist Derek Haley, and vocalist Derek Lee (ex-Ataxia). They chose the name Mütherload.
Melodic death metal is still in the mix in Mütherload’s music, but so are ingredients of groove, thrash, and hardcore, so much so that references to Lamb of God wouldn’t be out of line. And as reflected in the band’s debut EP, Ü, which we’re premiering in full today in advance of its July 9 release, they’re capable of creating moments of sublime beauty — as well as discharging punishing fury.
That feeling of fury comes through loud and clear in Derek Lee‘s vocals. Armed with lyrics (which often rhyme) that mostly vent disgust, anger, and hopelessness over the state of the human condition, he scorches and savages the listener with vitriol that veers from absolutely ferocious howls to maniacal shrieks and bestial growls. And there’s ferocity in the music as well.
The opener, “Insect”, is a prime example. It’s loaded with brazen and battering chords and gut-slugging drum hits. The rhythm segues into a weird kind of bounding and bruising momentum, punctuated by bouts of savage pounding, but the song also races and darts, and incorporates bits of slithering and sorrowful melody.
While bone-shaking grooves and hair-raising vocals are key elements of Mütherload’s sound, so are darting fretwork escapades and mood-altering melodies. You get further proof of that in the following song (and lead single from the EP), “The Visitor”. The drum and bass work remain punishing and the vocals incendiary, but there’s a menacing eeriness about the chorus melody that surfaces in “The Visitor” — when it’s not doing its best to beat you to a pulp or scramble your brains.
Interestingly, the title track is a marked contrast to the opening one-two salvo. By far the shortest track, it’s an amalgam of beguiling acoustic guitar, strange electronic emissions, and conversational words. And then the band go back to bruising and brawling with the very heavy-grooved “Iniquity”, a song in which the granite-mass bass really gets a chance to move your body. The song also includes a trippy, fuzzed-out guitar solo and bursts of blazing mayhem. But then the EP makes another sharp digression with “Thaügüst”, a beautiful, classically influenced acoustic guitar duet that’s bright and enthralling.
The closer, “Lamia”, introduces soulful singing with a bluesy and beleaguered mood, but the song also clobbers and soars, both riotously galloping and shoving the listener off-balance with start-stop bursts that magnify the explosiveness of the impact.
Guitarist Patrick Davison has commented: “The Ü EP is our first step back into the metal scene after years of silence. We feel this small collection of music represents the focus that we’ve developed as a band in our songwriting for the first time in years. Musically, we’ve stretched our reach into new territory with open tunings, and more space for vocals. This EP deserves to be played loud, so crank it up!”
Ü was produced, mixed, and mastered by Thomas Ireland and features cover art by Dave Schultz — and you can pre-order it now:
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