There may be nothing new under the sun, but Germany’s brand-new black metal trio Markgraf sound like they hail from some dark and otherworldly place anyway. According to the Markgraf’s guitarist/vocalist Ódio, “Markgraf represents something noble and elegant yet deeply corrupted.”
Ódio continues, explaining Markgraf’s origin and band name, “Coming from the German city Baden Baden, where there’s a rich history of aristocracy, the band name Markgraf (Margrave) seemed like the only reasonable choice to represent the local tales and myths we’re melodizing. The idea to do music about Baden Baden and including my favorite building ‘the Trinkhalle’ was always present and I finally started working on it in 2019.
“Der dicke Mann was the first one to join the group and play the bass,” Ódio continues. “We’ve been friends for years and I kinda had the feeling that he would play an intuitive and emotional style which turned out to be true. However finding a drummer was a huge problem at first but in the beginning of this year I got lucky. I already play with Commander of Sonic Noise Warfare in the heavy metal band Stealth so I just asked him if he would do the drums for me. I have to [mention] though that he has no connection to extreme music whatsoever and was previously playing ‘80s arena rock and jazz.”
But we can’t pretend like the drums are the only thing that makes Markgraf’s hard-hitting black metal with Cirith Ungolian vocals unique. “I guess you can blame my interest in jangle pop bands like The Smiths, Cleaners from Venus or anything from the C86 Compilation and bossa nova for the melodic parts on this album.,”admits the Brazilian-born Ódio. “The heavier side comes from Sarcofago, Master’s Hammer, Archgoat and Merciless. It has always been a common practi[c]e of me mixing up genres and to see the reaction of people, so it seemed quite exciting to mix a more violent style of music with eccentric and theatrical vocals. I also believe that my drummer’s lack of knowledge about the black metal genre was beneficial because he basically had to develop his interpretation of black metal drumming while recording.”
Regarding the highly detailed and wickedly awesome cover art, Ódio explains: “The songs on the album retell some Black Forest tales which can be found as frescoes in the Trinkhalle in Baden Baden. We got Dávid Glomba to do the cover artwork and he delivered an outstanding own interpretation of the myths but also [of] the Trinkhalle itself. He basically drew the shapes and outlines of the hall as trees and included elements of the original frescoes in it. I don’t want to explain what’s happening on the artwork though since this album is intended to work as an invitation to go and do some own research on the original frescoes, the Trinkhalle, the myths and Baden Baden.”
Even though we’re just now hearing about this awesome band, Ódio and gang are already well on their way to finishing their sophomore follow-up. “The next album is basically written and it will be even more experimental and ambitious but we’ll take our time with that,” Ódio says mercifully. “We are also trying to find a second guitar player for gigs but don’t expect anything before 2022 since there are a lot of other bands and projects in the pipeline.We’ll see how things go but you can be sure: There are still plenty of myths that have to be told!”
In the meantime, don’t waste another minute . . .