German Epic Folk Metallers GRENDEL’S SŸSTER Join Cruz Del Sur Music

GRENDEL’S SŸSTER – “Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz” LP

Cruz Del Sur Music is proud to welcome Stuttgart, Germany epic folk metallers GRENDEL’S SŸSTER. The label will re-release the band’s 2019 “Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz” LP in September.

GRENDEL’S SŸSTER came together in 2015 when drummer Till, guitarist Tobi and vocalist Kathi held impromptu jam sessions in a little house nestled in the Vosges Mountains region of France. The gatherings revealed immediate chemistry between the musicians, making the decision to write and compose original material a foregone conclusion. Kathi would depart after the release of the 2017 “Night Sea Journey/Sayings Of The High One” single. Taking her place was Caro, whose first appearance was on the “Orphic Gold Leaves/Orphische Goldblättchen” EP in 2018. Next up was the “Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz” EP, which eventually caught the attention of Cruz Del Sur Music.

“Of course, I knew the label due to a host of absolutely stellar bands like SMOULDER, SLOUGH FEG, ATLANTEAN KODEX, LUNAR SHADOW and IRON GRIFFIN,” says Tobi. “So, it was quite a pleasant surprise when Enrico [Leccese] contacted us. It’s almost a little surreal, I have to admit.”

Drawing from a wide array of influences including IRON MAIDEN, MANOWAR, WARLORD and LORDIAN GUARD, all the way to folk artists such as SVANEVIT, TRIAKEL, PLANXTY, THE WATERSONS, ZUPFGEIGENHANSEL, KEBNEKAJSE and STEELEYE SPAN, GRENDEL’S SŸSTER is unlike anything in today’s metal scene, with each song possessing depth and intrigue while challenging the listener. This is partly owed to what Tobi calls a “third streak of influence” that stretches all the way to renaissance and pre-classical music, including Norwegian baroque guitarist Rolf Lislevand. “I don’t think that we came up with it in an orchestrated manner, it just happened when we threw together our varied influences,” says Tobi. “When it comes to writing songs, it’s simply the kind of thing I would enjoy listening to. I guess I am also kind of influenced by pub sessions, dance events like Bal Folk, or nights at the campfire. The music serves a certain communal purpose and people sing along or dance. I think it is definitely about catchy melodies, but also about an otherworldly atmosphere. Then again, it still simply feels like heavy metal to me, but I have to come to terms with the fact that this might be a minority opinion.”

Activity for GRENDEL’S SŸSTER in 2020 — including new recordings and regular practice sessions — was brought to a halt due to the global pandemic. In keeping with the band’s positive attitude, the members of GRENDEL’S SŸSTER have been able to find a silver lining in the pandemic and look forward to brighter days ahead.

“I read some inspiring books, so I don’t think the time was completely wasted,” notes Tobi. “It really could have been worse for us, all things considered.”

OLD MOTHER HELL Posts Full Set From 2018 HAMMER OF DOOM Festival

Like the rest of the metal contemporaries, Germany’s OLD MOTHER HELL is patiently waiting to resume live activity and work on their next studio album. The band is currently taking part in Germany’s country-wide lockdown to control the spread of the Coronavirus, but that hasn’t stopped them from unearthing their brilliant live set from the 2018 Hammer of Doom festival. The show was a critical turning point for the band — it was the second show for drummer Michael Frölich, who went from being a temporary replacement to a full-time member — and captures OLD MOTHER HELL in their pure metal power trio glory.

“The Hammer of Doom show still is something very special for us,” says guitarist/vocalist Bernd Wener. “We were invited just two weeks before because some other band had to cancel and were at least as excited as with the Hell Over Hammaburg invitation some month prior.

“It was just our second show with Michael as a replacement drummer and we never played in front of such a big audience before, so we were pretty nervous. So nervous indeed, that the first song of the set, ‘Another War’, is missing because I forgot to switch on our camera. From song to song there were more people gathering in front of the stage and more and more fists were raised into the air. What a view, what a feeling. We were overwhelmed by the energy and the positive reactions.

“After the show, Michi decided to join the band. Finally having a full line-up again, we instantly decided to work on a new album and made a rough schedule. Of course, we may have to postpone this due to the current situation, but we keep evaluating the situation daily.

“We cannot meet up to rehearse or stream live, so we decided to at least upload this very special show as a whole. Enjoy, and stay healthy!”

Cruz Del Sur Music re-released OLD MOTHER HELL’s self-titled debut album in 2018. The band has been assembling new material for a release sometime in the near feature.  

SMOULDER To Release ‘Dream Quest Ends’ EP In March

Firebrand Canadian epic doomsters SMOULDER will release the “Dream Quest Ends” EP next March via Cruz Del Sur Music.
The follow-up to this year’s critically acclaimed “Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring” will feature two new songs, a cover of MANILLA ROAD’s “Cage Of Mirrors”, as well as all three cuts from the band’s debut 2018 “The Sword Woman” demo, including, for the first time on vinyl, their cover of NIGHTMARE’s “The Queen Is Gone”.

The Vinyl Edition will be available in 3 different colors (PRE-ORDER AVAILABLE):
– BONE VINYL (lmt 300)
– NEON VIOLET (lmt 300)

– CD

“Dream Quest Ends” marks the end of a chapter for SMOULDER. The EP’s two original compositions, “Dream Quest Ends” and “Warrior Witch Of Hel”, was written by drummer Kevin Hester several years ago and accordingly were molded into a “more SMOULDER-esque” sound, complete with more lead guitars and choir-like vocal parts. Both serve as a milestone for SMOULDER — they are the last remaining songs from the band’s demo and “Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring” period.

“I don’t think these songs are what anyone will expect; we zigged instead of zagged,” notes singer Sarah Ann. “On a production front, we dialed it back a bit to make it sound more raw and unusual to match both the MANILLA ROAD track and the fact that a reprint of our demo is on the B-side of the vinyl. As for the A-side, what can we say? It’s unusual and both of the new tracks are slower. They are somewhat more bluesy and psychedelic within the context of power metal or epic doom, and I think that they fit very well alongside ‘Cage of Mirrors’.  

“In the title track, we do more experimentation with quiet acoustic parts, dueling vocals and top it off with a hugely epic triumphant end that sounds like a battering ram,” she continues. “The song lyrically revolves around a warrior sorceress who travels to an alien world to battle her titan nemesis in his sky castle, and Adam [Blake, bass] and I sing from the perspective of the titan and the sorceress to drive the epic-ness home. Meanwhile, ‘Warrior Witch of Hel’ starts out on this lurching, dark note with a repeating riff and lower register vocals. Once we get into the segments about the character — who is on a quest to free a castle full of slaves and cast the sorcerer presiding over it to Hel — it becomes much more upbeat and driving.”

The members of SMOULDER had been kicking the idea around to cover a MANILLA ROAD song ever since guitarist Collin Wolf and Hester joined the band. After leader MANILLA ROAD Mark Shelton’s untimely passing in July 2018, SMOULDER decided to move forward with a cover to honor his memory.

“‘Cage Of Mirrors’ is my absolute favorite track by the band and I’ve wanted to cover it for a long time so it was not a hard decision,” says guitarist Shon Vincent. “With its simple yet powerful structure, emotional vocal delivery and epic story-driven occult sword and sorcery lyrics, it was a perfect fit for us thematically. Sarah worked hard to match Mark’s wavering, unusual delivery, along with his growls, screams and laughs.”

The March release of “Dream Quest Ends” will coincide with the band’s appearance at the Up The Hammers and Horns Up festivals in Greece, as well as a spot at the Hell’s Heroes festival in Texas and Headbanger’s Open Air in Germany. After that, SMOULDER is going to give their collective creative batteries some time to recharge.

“We decided that we want to take some time on the next album rather than rush it out,” closes Sarah Ann. “All our favorite bands do things slow and steady, and we want to do the same to maintain quality.”