5 Questions With Mhorgl

5 Questions With... is your chance to get to know a new or up-and-coming metal band. Mhorgl is a black metal group from Australia, who just released their sophomore CD Antinomian. Guitarist/bassist James Campbell introduces us to his band.

Give a brief history of Mhorgl, including what the band name signifies.
The name Mhorgl is a corruption of Morgul, taken from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. It means "dark sorcery," and when the band was starting out the idea of dark sorcery and dark magic fit well with the lyrical themes and style of music we were writing. Mhorgl was formed in 2004 as a studio project and recorded a demo and a full-length release The Sacrificial Flame.

After the opportunity arose to perform live, Mhorgl consolidated our lineup with the addition of drummer Louis Rando and set about refining both stage performance and broadening the band's songwriting horizons. Our second album Antinomian was recorded in early 2010 after about 18 months of regular gigging including a number of support slots for bands such as Satyricon, Amon Amarth and Destroyer 666.

Antinomian was independently released by the band in May 2010 and has been well received in general by metal fans and press. After sending the album around to various magazines and labels, Mhorgl was offered the opportunity for wider release of Antinomian via Italian label The Execution Kollective. TEK released the album on March 29th, 2011 and we are very happy to be working with them.

How has your sound evolved/progressed from The Sacrificial Flame to Antinomian?
The Sacrificial Flame had symphonic/keyboard elements as a major part of the sound. The songs had far more instrumentation and were more epic in nature. They were also a lot longer in general. These were songs that weren't written with live performance in mind, where with Antinomian the songs were written for a live band. They are much more stripped down and basic sounding, although they are actually more complicated and technical than any of the material on The Sacrificial Flame. The material is a lot faster and cleaner sounding, more clinical perhaps.

How did you decide to cover Ozzy's "Mr. Crowley," and how did you give it our own twist?
Guitarist Rob (Thorpe) is a big fan of Randy Rhoads' playing and I think that was the main reason that song was chosen. We had covered Venom's "Countess Bathory" previously on The Sacrificial Flame, but it was more of a re-interpretation of the song than a cover. We took the bare bones of the song and constructed something that reflects Mhorgl's sound and approach to music. We decided to continue this approach on Antinomian, taking the basic elements and musical themes of "Mr Crowley" as a foundation and adding more extreme metal elements, and hopefully Mhorgl's stamp on the song.

What's the extreme metal scene like in your area of Australia?
Mhorgl is from Perth in Western Australia, which is quite isolated and on the opposite side of the country from the majority of the extreme metal scene. The scene here I would say is small, but it seems to be on a par with the rest of Australia as far as crowds and number of venues goes, so I would say it is a fairly healthy scene. There are a handful of bands playing extreme metal, mainly black or death metal, and a number of those are getting recognition outside of Perth due to making the effort and playing regularly around Australia. This is not easy due to the distance we are from the nearest cities, making travel costly.

Anything else you'd like to mention/promote?
Antinomian has recently been released by The Execution Kollective, so if you see a copy please check it out! We are currently recording our third album and this should be completed in the near future. This new album will be another step forward for Mhorgl as we try to establish our own sound and style. It is a hybrid of black, thrash and death metal elements and will focus a lot on intricate guitar work.

Chad Bowar