Baroque-influenced, post-black metal duo Mortal Thrall today unveils a new video for “A Path To Fire,” the title track off their forthcoming debut full-length, now playing at Nine Circles.
Mortal Thrall was forged in September 2020 by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Todd Harris (ex-Oubliette, Battle Path). Spontaneously conceptualized, written, and recorded over lockdown, A Path To Fire is an emotive fresco of intertwining guitar lines, stunning chord progressions, passionate vocals, textural synth, and martial drumming which evolved from Harris’ obsession with Renaissance paintings.
Thematically set in the last days of the Spanish Inquisition, the album tells the story of one of the final victims – Maria de los Dolores Lopez – murdered by the church for “heresy” and whose story was buried by the Vatican until the early 1990s. Harris felt compelled to pay tribute to her horrendous fate, seeing disturbing parallels in the still-pervading influence and authority of religious power in the modern world which has been a personal point of contention throughout his life as a gay man.
Writes Nine Circles, “[Mortal Thrall] takes the post-black elements we’re familiar with and wraps them in far-ranging layers, whether it be classical harmonies from the Baroque period or modern electronic synth to add tonal punctuations to their fierce sound… Bathed in a fiery orange glow, the video for ‘A Path To Fire’ is ripe with religious iconography in between the band performance, and that’s not there for decoration. Conceptually the album addresses the increasing grip of organized religion and its persecution of anyone not in line with its rhetoric… Further tying together the conceptual themes of the album with the visual palette and religious symbols is something more fundamental; namely, the classic videos Harris grew up with, solidifying his love for metal.”
Notes Harris, “When talking to the director Malcolm Pugh about the direction that I wanted the video to take, I was thinking a lot about the videos you’d see from the Peaceville label back in the early ‘90s. Those sort of abstract Gothic metal videos that sort of put you into their world. I feel like that was definitely achieved here while highlighting some of the key points surrounding the track.”
A Path To Fire will be released on May 20th via Trepanation Recordings on CD, cassette, and digital formats.
Influenced by the likes of Blut Aus Nord, Bathory, Liturgy, Katatonia, Kauan, and Alcest as well as post-rock acts like Shiner, Hum, and Dead Now, and featuring a sterling drum performance by Jack Blackburn (Chaos Moon, Skáphe, Gardsghastr), A Path To Fire is a strikingly elaborate, richly-layered debut. The eight-track offering was recorded in Seattle, Washington, Houston, Texas, and Murfreesboro/Nashville, Tennessee, mixed by Mike Low (Inferi, Oubliette, Arkaik, Enfold Darkness), and mastered by Zak Denham at One By One Studios. The record comes cloaked in the outstanding cover art of Caelan Stokkermans.