It seems like an epoch since A BAND OF ORCS debuted in Orctober of 2007 with the WarChiefs of the Apocalypse EP and the accompanying “Into the Maelstrom” video. Now, 5 years later, the monsters of DIY underground metal strike back with a self-titled full-length concept album, detailing the adventures of the Gore-Stained Axe Tribe as they war against the giants of Hirntodia. This offering is produced (executive producer Gruesom Grimp) and engineered by Juan Urteaga of Trident Studios, whose most recent engineering credits include Machine Head’s “Unto the Locust” and portions of Testament’s upcoming “The Black Roots of Earth.” Check out the artwork here: http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=80999
The story relates, in the form of 12 metal tales, how the Gore-Stained Axe Tribe (i.e., A BAND OF ORCS’ and their orc-kin in the home realm of Hirntodia) come to be hired and geased (if you don’t know what that means, check out this Wikipedia article – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geis) into settling some “giant troubles” for a neighboring human kingdom. The orcs don’t appreciate the coercion of the geas too much and vow to return and settle the score with the human kingdom after they fulfill the terms of their quest and vanquish the titan foes of the realm.
Says vocalist Gogog Bloodthroat, “We believe in the traditional heavy metal values of epic art and killer music all in one package.” Indeed, the whole project recalls the best elements of Iron Maiden with the emphasis on great cover art and King Diamond with his penchant for concept albums, with both artists placing a premium on solid song-writing and musicianship. These are the “traditional heavy metal values” that A BAND OF ORCS hopes to recreate with their full-length debut.
Toward that end, the band will embark upon another Kickstarter campaign to raise the money necessary to cover production costs on a double vinyl picture disc set with a gatefold cover, which will also include download codes for a digital version of the album and a 12-page art/lyrics insert booklet.
Veteran fantasy and role-playing game illustrator Chuck Lukacs (http://www.chucklukacs.com/) has once more handled the creation of this epic cover art and is completing work on an interior map illustrating A BAND OF ORCS’ trek through the various giant kingdoms. Up-and-coming fantasy art scene star, Lorraine Schleter (http://lorraineschleter.blogspot.com/), has begun work on the insert (some of which is pictured here).
When asked why A BAND OF ORCS would do something as archaic as an actual record release, Gogog Bloodthroat responded, “Humans always say, ‘us going to release record soon,’ but no record come out. By ‘record’ stupid humans mean i-tunes or CD. Us orcs, us mean RECORD. A BAND OF ORCS is releasing a RECORD, ahhahahahhaha!!!!” At least that’s the hope.
Being an artifact of a bygone era, records have become a bit of a novelty and the associated cost of production is more than CDs, due to a relatively small demand, and is therefore a risky investment. However, A BAND OF ORCS believes they have come up with a strategy to alleviate that risk—crowd funding! The basic premise is this: if the fans like the idea; they’ll support it and Kickstarter.com in particular is an all-or-nothing fund-raising platform. Either the orcs get all of the money necessary to fund the project, or they don’t and no one gets charged for their pledge, which is best thought of as an album presale, in this case. Artists such as Amanda Palmer have turned to Kickstarter with stunning success to fund their independent projects (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/holly-cara-price/amanda-palmer-kickstarter_b_1465243.html).
Also, recent music industry statistics indicate that physical vinyl sales have enjoyed an increase, going up by 39% in 2011, despite the alleged ever-present specter of internet piracy (http://www.mixmag.net/words/news/vinylsalesup39percent). So, this may turn out to be a winning strategy after all.
A BAND OF ORCS will begin this campaign in early June in order to coincide with a mid-August/late September conventional release of the self-titled album via a distribution agreement with Itchy Metal Entertainment.
The track list for the album is:
1. Prepare for Domination
2. When the Hills Run Red
3. In the Keeper’s Chamber
4. Of Broken Chains and Shattered Skulls
5. Wyrd of the Winter Wolf (a new recording of the previous super-single release)
6. Hall of the Frozen Dead (also a new recording of the previous super-single release)
7. Lair of the Ice Wyrm
9. At the Mouth of Fire
10. Fall of the Fire Lord
11. Adding Heads to the Pile
12. A Deeper Evil