Portland, Maine Doomsters OGRE Join Cruz Del Sur Music; ‘Thrice As Strong’ Studio Album Due This Fall

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.”

WHILE HEAVEN WEPT’s ‘Vast Oceans Lachrymose’ Lineup To Embark On ‘Farewell’ European Dates

In early 2015, WHILE HEAVEN WEPT mainman Tom Phillips had to regrettably pull the plug on the band’s European tour in support of their latest studio album, “Suspended At Aphelion”. The decision led to Phillips’ unexpected retirement from the metal scene, effectively putting the revered doomsters on ice. However, Phillips and his bandmates have long sought to make amends to the European crowds who have so strongly backed WHILE HEAVEN WEPT over the years. Now, as 2018 draws to a close, the most recent incarnation of WHILE HEAVEN WEPT that started with 2009’s classic “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” will play its final shows together on a run of European dates that begins November 16 at Germany’s Hammer Of Doom festival.

“I agreed to do these shows to give everyone else — the band members, our fans, even myself some closure, especially since the last tour was cancelled,” says Phillips. “The other aspect is the circumstances and priorities of the musicians involved are simply not aligned with what an actively touring band requires anymore.”

The “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” lineup — rounded out by bassist Jim Hunter, vocalist Rain Irving, second guitarist Scott Loose, keyboardist/harmony vocalist Michelle Schrotz and drummer Trevor Schrotz — have been holed up in a Virginia rehearsal room putting together a setlist that is not only representative of the latest era of WHILE HEAVEN WEPT, but the band’s storied past as well. According to Phillips, some of WHILE HEAVEN WEPT’s most memorable shows have taken place on European shores, including their 2010 appearance at Hammer Of Doom alongside Irish metallers PRIMORDIAL, which was not only Irving’s third show with the band, but also where the “Triumph: Tragedy: Transcendence” DVD/live album was recorded.

“We’ve always had a great time sharing the stage with PRIMORDIAL,” he says. “I think we’ve played with them more than anyone else in our history — and that’s always been such a great insight into the scope of melancholia and epos. Of course, we’ve also had the great honor of playing with heroes, family and upcoming bands who have gone on to become some of the biggest names out there like ALCEST and GHOST. Most of all though, it’s connecting directly with the people who really care about what we do and again, that’s what these upcoming shows are really about.”

The shows will offer another treat for fans — a limited-edition shirt commemorating the 30th anniversary of the band. “It’s an exclusive design by Gustavo Sazes, who has done the covers for our last couple of albums,” says Phillips. “There’s quite a few layers to the design and it definitely correlates to ‘Fear Of Infinity’ and ‘Suspended At Aphelion’. Personally, I think it turned out amazing and while it does represent our 30th anniversary, for now, it will be available exclusively at the concerts.” `

While these European dates signal the end for the “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” era of WHILE HEAVEN WEPT, it does not mean the end for the band. Phillips says there is an entire album of unfinished material that sits between “Fear Of Infinity” and “Suspended At Aphelion” in which he may look to finalize at some point.

“In the end, I’d started on a solo project prior to being involved with the WALPYRGUS album [2017’s ‘Walpyrgus Nights’], but with the WHILE HEAVEN WEPT shows coming up, I haven’t even looked at that again. But for WHILE HEAVEN WEPT, as long as I’m breathing, WHILE HEAVEN WEPT exists, even if the lineup changes for the nth time or we are strictly DIY on a small, independent scale. Only time will tell. For now, it’s time to commemorate a milestone and the end of an era!”

 

WHILE HEAVEN WEPT 2018 European tour dates:

November 16 – Hammer Of Doom, Würzburg, Germany
November 18 – Temple, Athens, Greece
November 24/25 – Dutch Doom Days, Baroeg, Rotterdam, Netherlands
December 7 – Under The Doom VI, LAV Lisboa ao Vivo, Lisbon, Portugal
December 8 – Madrid Is The Dark, Madrid, Spain

WALPYRGUS release “Dead Girls”‘s videoclip

… LEGENDS TELL OF HER SLIMY BONES, AND HOW THEY WALK OLD WINDY ROADS …

US hard rock/heavy metal warriors WALPYRGUS have released today a videoclip of “Dead Girls”, the second single out of forthcoming WALPYRGUS’ album “Walpyrgus Nights”.

The videoclip is based on the original art created by Scott Waldrop (also Twisted Tower Dire) for the comic book that comes together with the vinyl edition of the album.
The glossy-papered, 56-page comic book depicts the lyrics of the album and as said, it is intended as a bonus for the vinyl edition.
However it is now possible, due to a little print-surplus, to buy it together the compact disc but only while ordering directly from Cruz Del Sur Music webstore here: http://tinyurl.com/mn2xsz2

“Walpyrgus Nights” will be released on JUN 9, 2017.