Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Mordred go Demonic

Before Anthrax collaborated with Public Enemy, before Rage Against The Machine tore up the DNC convention, and before Limp Bizkit shredded Woodstock, there was a band called Mordred from the Bay Area of San Francisco, California and the crossover thrash act is back.

They’re back and have released new single ‘Demonic #7’, the first track taken from upcoming new album Dark Parade, due out 23rd July through M-Theory Audio.

“Timing on the release of ‘Demonic #7’ comes at a point when the USA and many countries around the world seem more divided than they’ve ever been in our lifetime,” said guitarist Danny White. “As we begin to hopefully and tentatively emerge from the self-imposed cocoon of covid, we ask ourselves if things will start to get better, or will it be a case of just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, ’There are realms even lower than hell.’”

Formed in 1984 as the burgeoning San Francisco Bay Area thrash scene was beginning its rise to global prominence. While mosh-inducing thrash formed the basic blueprint of their sound, Mordred stood out as a unique presence due to their integration of funk-infused musicianship and hip-hop influences. The group was one of the first bands to explore those diversities in extremes, but as the dexterous bass performance of Art Liboon and innovative turntable work from band collaborator Aaron ‘DJ Pause’ Vaughn provided a new spin on the thrash metal genre, the band retained its metallic bark thanks to groove-laden shred from guitarists Danny White and James Sanguinetti, and energetic shout-along choruses spearheaded by vocalist Scott Holderby. That combination of thrash metal and exploratory soul powered three full-lengths on Noise Records between 1989 and 1994, from debut Fool’s Game to eclectic sophomore follow-up In This Life, through to The Next Room.

Formally reuniting in 2013 for live performances, but outside of the release of lone single, ‘The Baroness’ in 2015, fans would have to wait longer new music and fans of the band were finally satiated with the June 2020 release of the four-song EP Volition, with ‘Not For You’ extracted as a single (and available to purchase here).

The new songs saw the band – that now consists of five-sixths of the classic line-up, in Scott Holderby (Vocals), James Sanguinetti and Danny White (Guitars), Art Liboon (Bass), Aaron ‘Pause’ Vaughn (Keyboards, vocals, turntables), plus new drummer Jeff Gomes (Previously with Fungo Mungo and MIRV) – reviving the sounds that led them to become cult favourites 30 years ago.

Their new album, The Dark Parade, will be the band’s first full-length record in over 25 years.

“I’m excited to announce the signing of Mordred. The band is legendary to me from reading about their early demos, to witnessing the group live at my first Bay Area club show after moving to California in ’87, to following their signing and releases via Noise Records,” explained label founder Marco Barbieri.

Mordred were always part of the Bay Area thrash fabric that I love so dearly but took their sound to whole new places creating something fresh and alternative and able to crossover between scenes when no one had the nerve or ingenuity to do so. I was stoked to see them reform and more so when they released new music. I knew that we needed to get involved in a cooperation to bridge the gaps between generations and styles and get their name and music back out there.”

“We’re super-psyched to be active again, and the kind of deal we have with M-Theory lets us maintain control of our music while benefiting from the expertise of Marco’s experience in the industry,” said guitarist Danny White. “It’s the best of both worlds. Mordred is putting the M-Theory into practice.”

In addition to putting the finishing touches on The Dark Parade, Mordred has also entertained audiences throughout 2020 with their streaming variety show and concert series, Mordred: Acting The Fool! where the band collaborates with writer, director, videographer Christian Powell  and features live music, interviews, sketch comedy and burlesque performances.

The Halloween edition of that series saw Mordred performing music from The Dark Parade. The event also featured guest appearances from guitarist Jude Gold (Jefferson Starship), burlesque performer Miss Kitty Oaks and South American thrashers Desastre Natural, as well as a healthy dose of tomfoolery, shenanigans, skits and shorts to satisfy any desire for the ridiculous and bizarre.

Last year they released the single ‘Not For You’. They followed it up with ‘Love Of Money’ and now ‘Demonic #7‘ – Videos for them all can be seen here at RAMzine.

Dark Parade will be offered on CD, digital, cassette, blue vinyl with orange splatter and a limited-edition, mail-order exclusive white vinyl variant and can be pre-ordered here. You can also order Volition here.


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Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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