Mastered by Patrick W. Engel at TEMPLE OF DISHARMONY in February 2023.
Morax from Bergen in western Norway is the brainchild of one Remi Andre Nygård, who is handling all the instruments and writes all the songs. He has been playing in various bands and projects for quite some time. The most important one being the thrash metal band Inculter, which has been active the previous ten years or so, and still is. The mini-album »Rites And Curses« on High Roller Records is Morax’ first release.
“I’ve been a huge fan of heavy metal for many years,” explains Remi, “especially the more evil side of heavy metal. That is something I felt that the genre needed a lot more of. So over the years I’ve been coming up with some riffs, melodies or whole songs that I’ve been messing around with for myself. That’s why, in early 2022 when I rediscovered the song ‘6669’ by Coven, it lighted a spark. Very spontaneously, I decided that I had to do something about these ideas I had in mind. I think I actually started recording drums the same day, and kept working on it
until I had three finished songs. As I was quite happy with the result, I tried to find a name for the project, and started sending it around to labels. High Roller answered, so now there was no way back.”
As already mentioned, Remi is playing all the instruments on »Rites And Curses« himself: “Yeah, that’s right. I wanted it to be a spontaneous thing that I could work on and do everything whenever I wanted to. Some ideas just have to be done the way I feel, or else they probably would never happen, at least for me. Logistics in a band (especially if you’re in several bands) can be quite time consuming, and it’s easy to start overthinking everything. I didn’t want it to be that way with Morax. So for this project, I’d rather deal with it being ‘not perfect’, than it being nothing at all.”
Regarding the drums, fortunately, there is no computer at work: “Definitely real drums! That’s why you can hear it lagging, changing tempos and almost tripping
over on some parts. I used to play drums a lot when I was younger since we had an electronic kit in the house where I grew up. I rarely play now though, so I have to kind of relearn it every time I am recording new stuff. I try not to be too picky about it, and just work on getting the right feeling, instead of perfection.”
For the time being Morax is just a studio project but who knows, maybe one day it will develop into a full blown live performing band.
Listening to »Rites And Curses« carefully, the name In Solitude springs up in my mind, which to Remi is not that far from the truth: “In Solitude has definitely been an inspiration. They were one of the best bands around, sadly I missed the chance to see them live before they disbanded.”
And Mercyful Fate might have been an inspiration as well. “Yeah, surely,” confirms the multi-instrumentalist. “Mercyful Fate is one of my absolute favorite bands. I think they are the biggest influence when it comes to Morax. Especially their guitarwork. I’m sure some people could pinpoint some Morax riffs directly inspired by Mercyful Fate. I try to find my own sound, but sometimes it’s hard when the best riffs are already taken, dammit!”
“Yours Now” is probably the most accessible track on the record, this reminds me a bit of Witchfynde … “That’s cool to hear,” finds Remi. “I’ve never thought about that, even though I love Witchfynde. But yes, it’s the most 70’s-rock inspired track, which makes it a bit softer than the other tracks on the LP. I wasn’t too sure if it would fit in, but at the same time I love albums that vary in intensity. So again, trying not
to overthink things, I just decided that it had to be there.”
“Adoration” follows on »Rites And Curses«, a nice instrumental piece with some acoustic guitar, not miles away from early Blackmore’s Night. “I’ve actually never listened to Blackmore’s Night,” confesses Remi. “But Blackmore’s medieval-ish acoustic guitar work on the early Rainbow records is something that I’m very fond of. The inspiration for ‘Adoration’ mostly comes from the early Black Sabbath albums though. Putting a down to earth clean instrumental before a heavy song makes the song feel even heavier.”
Which nicely brings us to heaviest number on the record, “The Curse”. “I think I would agree that it’s the heaviest song,” reveals Remi. “’The Curse’ was the last song that was recorded. It was added to the release as High Roller wanted to make it a 12” mini-album, instead of a 7” single. Since I was only adding one song, I had to make the most out of it. I think that’s why it became the longest, heaviest and also most progressive track.”
With »Rites And Curses« soon to be unleashed, Remi Andre Nygård is already working on the material for a full-length album which will hopefully see the light of day in the not too distant future.