Cruz Del Sur Music is proud to announce the signing of Dublin, Ireland doom metallers Death The Leveller. The label will release the band’s first proper full-length album, “II”, in March 2020.
Originally formed in 2016 out of the ashes of long-running Irish metal ensemble MAEL MÓRDHA, DEATH THE LEVELLER released their debut “I” EP in 2017 to critical acclaim and positive fan reaction. The band’s sound — a melancholic, but strikingly epic take on doom metal — is the result of its four members taking their combined experience and working to create something entirely distinct.
“I think the big takeaway for us was the whole approach to DEATH THE LEVELLER had to be honest, about us, our lives, our losses and our passions,” says drummer Shane Achill. “Sure, we are all influenced by one thing or another, but I can’t say the bands we were in in the past influenced us in any big meaningful way. I know we are certainly influenced by the mistakes we made in the past and how not to recreate those mistakes in DEATH THE LEVELLER.”
DEATH THE LEVELLER (who are rounded out by vocalist Denis Dowling, guitarist Ger Clince and bassist Dave Murphy) fell onto Cruz Del Sur’s radar by way of fellow Irish metallers (and Cruz Del Sur act) Darkest Era. Cruz Del Sur label head Enrico Leccese was instantly a fan of “I” and started up a conversation with the band, with the two parties eventually putting pen to paper in 2019.
“The great thing about Cruz is the quality of bands writing quality music being released by a guy who is a fan of the bands and music he releases,” notes Cahill. “There are not many out there like Enrico at the moment and it was very refreshing for us to find a home for our music that cuts out all the crap that takes away from creating and writing music. Enrico is not looking for the next trend or fashion statement, which is good for us, right? Shortly after that, we demoed three tracks and we finally met at Doom Over Vienna where our relationship was cemented and Enrico got to see us live for the first time. Suddenly it looked like we had a label and that ‘II’ was starting to become a reality.”
The band is currently holed up at Trackmix Recording Studio in Dublin with engineer Michael Richards for the recording of “II”. According to Cahill, the album will comprise of four songs at 42 minutes that are more “introspective” and “reaches more emotional depths than ‘I’.”
“We’re still exploring the human relationship with death and concepts of mortality, but whereas the first release approached the idea of legacy after death, this one goes on a more soul-searching journey to some darker personal places of loss but ultimately also has its uplifting moments,” he says. “Sound-wise, this one has a more laid-back feel in places, giving the general tone of the album more space to breathe and a much more natural sound to come through. On saying that, it also has some of the heaviest sections we’ve done so far. For us, writing each song is a journey, and as we write this, we’re in the studio putting the final pieces of the jigsaw together and the landscape forms in front of us.”
The remainder of 2019 will find DEATH THE LEVELLER putting the finishing touches on “II” while preparing for a run of dates in Europe and Ireland alongside new labelmates, Argus. The band will also be appearing at the bi-annual Redemption Festival in Dublin, as well as Little Devil Doom Days in Holland.
“The main focus for 2020 is to get out there and play to as many people as possible,” wraps Cahill. “These songs mean the world to us. It was a fairly personal and at times, a very emotional journey, but now it’s time to have some fun and bring all of that to the stage and let it rip.”
Long-running Portland, Maine doom trio OGRE has signed with Cruz
Del Sur Music for the October release of their forthcoming fifth studio
album, “Thrice As Strong”. The album was tracked with Rowan Bishop
at Garage Mahal Recording in Westbrook, Maine.
Practitioners of traditional doom with a mix of ’70s rock and proto metal, OGRE was formed in 1999 by Ed Cunningham (bass/vocals), Ross Markonish (guitar) and Will Broadbent (drums). To date, the band has released four studio albums, with 2014’s “The Last Neanderthal” their most recent. OGRE came to the attention of Cruz Del Sur through classic word of mouth — a handful of Cruz Del Sur bands put in the good word for OGRE to label owner Enrico Leccese.
“Once we started working on this album, we posted a few messages on social media, reaching out to any potential labels that might be interested in working with us this time around,” says Markonish. “Will started up a correspondence with Butch Balich from ARGUS who then put us in touch with Tom Phillips of WHILE HEAVEN WEPT, who works closely with Enrico. We played with WHILE HEAVEN WEPT years ago at a doom festival in Rochester, New York and we’ve also shared the stage with other Cruz artists, including ARGUS and APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE, so we couldn’t be happier to share a label with all those great bands, not to mention SLOUGH FEG, another favorite!”
Since the release of “The Last Neanderthal”, OGRE has kept themselves busy with shows in Portland, while working on the material that would eventually become “Thrice As Strong”. The band even found time to make their impact abroad: “One particularly cool thing that we did recently was travel to Arkhangelsk, Russia in October of last year to play the Belomor-Boogie Festival, a Russian rock festival that currently is in its 25th year of existence,” notes Markonish. “Arkhangelsk is the sister city of our hometown of Portland, Maine, so it was an amazing experience to travel across the globe and represent the Portland scene for the people of Russia. We made a ton of new friends and fans out there!” According to Markonish, the “Thrice As Strong” album title plays off OGRE’s power-trio formation and is taken from their namesake song, “Ogre”, which is the first track on their first album, “Dawn Of The Proto-Man”, which is also where “The Last Neanderthal” title came from. “As our fans know, we really like all of these self-referential details, as it sort of builds up the concept of an ‘OGRE Universe’. Not surprisingly, we are all fans of comic books, sci-fi and horror novels/movies, and bands like RUSH, who specialize in those sorts of geeky things.”
OGRE is recording with Bishop because of his “good set of ears” and the stripped-down feel of Garage Mahal Studios. Markonish says the new songs are not a departure from the band’s vintage sound, but fans can expect a few different influences this time around.
“When we first started working on this album, our original plan was to try to keep song lengths down a bit,” he says. “Reason being, our prior albums all featured at least one song in the 10-15-minute range, never mind our concept album, ‘Plague Of The Planet’, which consists of a single, 37-minute song! While that proved difficult (a couple songs on this album stretch into the 8-minute range), it still did inform our general approach to songwriting this time around.
“I would also say that there is a bit more of an ‘80s metal influence on these tracks — some MAIDEN, a little DIO perhaps, and also some of the more underground bands of the time, like CIRITH UNGOL and MANILLA ROAD. Rowan even said he heard a little MERCYFUL FATE on some of the songs! The way I put it to someone, while our prior albums were majorly influenced by ’70s-era PENTAGRAM, this one shares some of its sound and ethos with the Victor Griffin ’80s line-up that produced the ‘Relentless’ and ‘Day Of Reckoning’ albums.”
Cruz Del Sur Music is proud to announce the second vinyl pressing of the critically acclaimed full-length Times of Obscene Evil & Wild Daring from Canadian firebrands SMOULDER. Merging fantasy, glory and heroism, under the banner of epic doom and power metal, the album was released on April 26 and quickly sold out worldwide. With prices quickly inflating due to unscrupulous Discogs sellers , Cruz del Sur prioritized the fans who missed out. Pre-orders for the second vinyl press are available now HERE: this edition comes with a A2-poster depicting the gorgeous Michael Whelan cover art.
Here’s what the press is saying about SMOULDER:
“What we’ve got here is metal of the dragon-slaying, ass-kicking, stick-to-your-ribs variety, packed full of solos that cleave and chug, vocals that glide and soar, and arrangements that stampede on and on miles.” – Bandcamp Daily; This Week’s Essential Releases
“Going back to Ronnie
James Dio, Manowar and Cirith Ungol, fantastical tales of swords and sorcery
god hand in hand with heavy metal, and Toronto-based Smoulder honour that
storied tradition on their sterling debut album Times of Obscene Evil and
Wild Daring… Similar to modern standouts Atlantean Kodex and the late
Dawnbringer, Smoulder combine stately doom arrangements with fiery porto-power
metal bombast.” – Decibel Magazine
“Canadian newcomers Smoulder play one of my favorite traditional metal varietals: epic doom, of the sort we rarely hear performed at this level, except by cult acts like Atlantean Kodex, Reverend Bizarre, Scald, and Solstice.” – Stereogum
Signed by Cruz del Sur shortly after their Hammer of Doom performance in October 2018, SMOULDER originally exploded onto the scene following the release of their April 2018 demo The Sword Woman. Released by Hoove Child Records on a limited run of 150 copies, the demo sold out immediately. Soon, the label pressed a 300 run of the demo to vinyl, which sold out within weeks of release. SMOULDER then caught the eye of Cruz Del Sur Music owner Enrico Leccese, who offered the band a deal shortly after they recorded their debut Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring. Captured throughout 2018 at Chicago’s Swift Road Studios and Toronto’s Lincoln County Social Club, Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring was mixed and mastered by Arthur Rizk (Eternal Champion, Sumerlands). The striking artwork was created by iconic fantasy painter Michael Whelan (Cirith Ungol). Within a month of release, the album had sold out worldwide. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to get a copy!
1. Ilian of Garathorm
2. The Swordwoman
3. Bastard Steel
4. Voyage of the Sunchaser
5. Shadowy Sisterhood
6. Black God’s Kiss