I received a very intriguing email almost two weeks ago; I'll admit, the first thing that captured my attention were the bands mentioned in the title. These were, namely, Pyramaze, Aurora and Anubis Gate. All three should be familiar to anyone keeping track of metal. Apparently, various members from these bands had a different project before/after their various stints with these bands: Nepenth. These guys played what would later be known as "OG" melodic death metal; think early In Flames, Dark Tranquillity and Soilwork, when melodeath had a distinct and dirty edge to it. Alas, the band fell apart, apparently due to "differences in ambition", as members of the band themselves call it (if I had to guess, some saw it as an important project and others saw it as a side project to the other bands). Regardless, their music fell into obscurity, the tracks they had recorded never seeing the light of day.
OK, so what? There are a million bands with similar stories. I was prepared to delete the email and move on but then a few things caught my eye. One, the original Nepenth music was produced by Jacob Hansen (who had worked with/would later work with bands like Volbeat, The Black Dahlia Murder, Evergrey, Heaven Shall Burn and more). Two, Claus Michaelsen from Accelerator Records who contacted me about this release was clearly very passionate about the project and loved the music. Check out this quote from the press release:
So it wasn’t exactly written in the stars that Nepenth should ever do a porper release, but a couple of years ago Claus Wrang Michaelsen (Accelerator Records) was attending Gordon Tsujimoto Thaysen’s wedding at the Nidaros Cathedral (yes, the one from the cover of ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’) in Trondheim, Norway. Claus helped Gordon’s “soon to be” wife make a one-off vinyl version of the Nepenth tracks as a special wedding present for her future husband. During the later hours of the party, Gordon and Claus joked about releasing the music for real, but it would just be a stupid idea to release a record by a band extinct for more than two decades, right?
A few years later, Gordon got back to Claus again, this time determined to make it
happen. “Since 2022 would be the 25th anniversary of the recording session, a vinyl release would be a nice way to celebrate it” as Gordon put it. And thus a deal was inked with Accelerator Records.
I mean, how can you resist such a good story? Lastly, I had a third reason to give this a listen: I fucking love the early style of Gothenburg melodeath. And so, I ended up hitting play on the track you'll find below (yes, I did take this long to get to it) and instantly knew I had to write about this. This is melodic death metal by people who not only clearly understood what makes the genre so good (that is, tight guitar compositions that support the grandiose and theatrical gestures of the sub-genre) but also had the passion for it when the music was originally recorded. Slap on a remaster for vinyl by Andreas Linnemann (Bæst) and you've got yourself the makings of some great music.
Head on down below to check out the track and make sure you then go straight to the pre-order link to maybe get this on vinyl and support what is clearly a project filled with passion and love for metal. And that is, after all, why we're all here, right?