A fascinating sub-genre to me has always been Melodic Death Metal, or “Melodeath” to some. Like most genres or sub-genres, the beginnings of it are of topical debate and have lots of credit to go around. Many point back to various bands from the mid 90s as pioneers. For me personally, given my age, generation, etc. I was first introduced to various derivatives of it in the mid 2000s. That’s what is at the forefront of my mind when I think about it. A band I was in at the time called Adapt To Torment, had members (in particular the guitar players) heavily influenced by Melodeath. That was my first round of education, via bands like At The Gates and In Flames. Up until then I was primarily into Metalcore and Nu-Metal type of stuff when it came to my heavier sensibilities. Since the emergence of key bands like the aforementioned (and let’s not forget KSE), we know now about the several variations that have spawned since then. Once more knuckleheads like me started discovering and appreciating Melodic Death Metal, things like Melodic Metalcore and even Melodic Black Death started to come about. Just some historical context. Inasmuch as we segue into the latest single released by the South African Melodic Death Metal band Brundarkh, it is an interesting context to have in mind while listening to the extreme yet symphonically orchestrated brutality that is “The Lair of the Gloomweaver.” The single was released 3 weeks ago, October 28th.
The project was founded by the very accomplished South African composer and visual artist Heino Brand. His visual art was one of the first things that jumped out at me as remarkable. Gothic, dark in tone, but not overtly over the top. Truly, some nice work. He also does freelance commissions. His compositions are also something I checked out and was happy to put in rotation on the radio station as well. Similar in methodology to some of his solo work, Brundarkh draws inspiration from stories or conceptual tales. Obviously however, in the case of Brundarkh, it is inspired by tales of dark fantasy and incorporates the harshness (in comparison to his scores) of Death Metal. One thing I particularly like about Melodic Death Metal however, is the tendency to incorporate synth and elements of Traditional Heavy Metal. So in that respect, Brand’s compositional propensity is a great fit musically. Brand tells Metal Digest:
I started Brundarkh with the intention of combining a lot of elements I am passionate about and also to try and create something I’d love to listen to. It is extreme metal with melodic and orchestral influences, all inspired by different fantasy franchises and folklore.Heino Brand, Metal Digest Magazine
Shortly after initial concept in late 2020, he was joined by a collaborator of similar taste and vision in Caleb Bingham of the band Athanasia and Nightmare Sound Studios. They produced and debuted a single called “Wraith Dominion” in February of 2021. The track was inspired by J.R.R. Tolkein’s “Lord of the Rings,” specifically the Ringwraiths. Subsequent releases thereafter also comprise of conceptual musings and references, some of which you can find on Encyclopedia Metallum. The rest of their discography is as follows:
“Bells of the Drowned” released 08-04-2021
“Haunted World” Debut EP released 10-11-2021
“The Dark Tree” released March 4th 2022
The band’s work has been well received within the Metal community, yielding 1,540 monthly listeners as of the publish date of this article. They have also been featured on several radio stations including airplay on BurgStudio Online Radio and Moshville Radio. “Lair of the Gloomweaver” is a second single released from their upcoming album “Those Born of Fire & Shadow.” The first single being “The Dark Tree” released last March. Both tracks draw inspiration from Tolkien’s literary work, “The Simarillion.” Specifically in concept to the character Ungoliant, an evil spirit in the form of a spider, in which band says the dark and brooding song is exploratory of her “dark splendor.”
With this latest effort, the band offers homage specifically to the influences of Hypocrisy and Morbid Angel. In terms of overall sound, their range of influences make them a good recommendation for fans of Fleshgod Apocalypse, Hypocrisy, Dimmu Borgir, Carach Agren, Stormlord.
Follow Brundarkh Online:
Instagram / Facebook / Bandcamp / Spotify / Official Website
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