Arriving in 1989 towards the tail end of the thrash metal scene, San Francisco act Mordred may have only been together for five years but showed more invention and innovation in that time than some bands achieved over a much longer period.
Although suffering at the hands of shifting musical trends, by embracing a number of varied and differing styles, Mordred still managed to produce three highly eclectic and well received studio albums in their brief time. A legacy they have now added to with comeback album The Dark Parade (M-Theory Audio).
Combining their classic Bay Area influences with funk, groove and hip-hop, the record opens with the thrash meets Faith No More eruption of ‘Demonic #7’. ‘Malignancy’ quickly follows with vocalist Scott Holderby channelling his inner Jello Biafra against a melting pot of jagged, punky riffs, nifty turntable moves and stirring melodies. The headlong charge of ‘I Am Charlie’ recalls the 2015 shootings at the offices of French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, while the mid-paced Black Sabbath groove of ‘Dragging for Bodies’ is drenched in atmosphere and off-kilter sound effects.
The title track is a multi-coloured explosion of saxophone, brass and progressive eclecticism while the alternative thrash stomp of ‘All Eyes on the Prize’ and ‘Dented Lives’ take a simpler but no less effective approach. Closing the album with a cheeky blues groove, ‘Smash Goes the Bottle’ somehow manages to sound like it was written in the eighties and last week simultaneously.
Punctuated by memorably eccentric vocals, the band present an array of different styles that mesh together with total focus, The Dark Parade standing as one of Mordred’s finest records to date.
Buy the album here: https://mordred.bandcamp.com/album/the-dark-parade
8 / 10