The voiceover at the beginning of Smoulder’s “Victims of Fate” might sound familiar to fans of the revolving paperback racks in used bookstores. It’s delivered by none other than Michael Moorcock, the fantasy fiction godhead and creator of Elric of Melniboné, Tanelorn, and the beloved Eternal Champion multiverse. Like so many other true metal bands, Smoulder have turned to Moorcock’s work for inspiration before. The title of their debut album, Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring, is taken from a Moorcock short story called “The Greater Conqueror,” and their song “Ilian of Garathorm” is about one of the few female incarnations of the Eternal Champion. But collaborating with him directly puts them in rarified company. As singer Sarah Ann puts it in a statement below, “we’re immensely proud to know he’s now done work with Hawkwind, Blue Öyster Cult and Smoulder.”
“Victims of Fate” is the second song we’ve heard from Violent Creed of Vengeance, following the triumphant “The Talisman and the Blade.” “Victims” is a longer, doomier track, and once Moorcock’s intro fades, it delivers riff after riff of sword-wielding epic metal glory. Fans of Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol and Cauchemar should find a lot to love. (Helloween fans who queue it up by accident should get something out of it, too.) Listen to “Victims of Fate” below and read a statement from vocalist (and Decibel scribe) Sarah Ann:
“‘Victims of Fate’ was one of the hardest songs to finish and one we ultimately are the happiest about. It’s one of the tracks by Smoulder that both the music and lyrics were written entirely by Vincent, who worked on them for years and refused to let anyone make any changes: and it’s great that we didn’t… even if we had multiple fights about the vocal pacing, which was one of the hardest to nail out of any song in our entire discography. It’s our second track about the Eternal Champion, and the lyrics directly reference the iteration of the Eternal Champion which I wrote about on ‘Ilian of Garathorm.’ Musically, it’s aggressive and goes on this very strange journey, eventually transforming into this massive epic doom song with a huge ending and awesome solos. While it was being written, we talked numerous times about whether or not we should have an atmospheric intro for it, as the debut had Collin’s spacey intro to ‘Ilian.’ Vincent insisted that I ask Michael Moorcock, so I got to work. I knew it would be a huge ask, but I had to ask: this is the author of the Eternal Champion series; he’s done work with Hawkwind and Blue Öyster Cult—he is a living legend. Eventually, I was able to grab his contact information from a friend, starting an email chain that took almost two years. When I initially asked if he’d be interested and meekly provided lines to him, he came back with an offer more generous than we ever imagined: would it be okay if he wrote something original for us? Our eyes bludged out of our heads. OF COURSE! When we finally could record it over a call, it was mid-afternoon Texas time and 2 am in Finland. We waited up in bed all night for his call, and let me tell you: nothing quite beats sitting in your PJs in bed, hearing one of your favorite authors read words he wrote for you, to you. We couldn’t fall asleep after! We’re immensely proud to know he’s now done work with Hawkwind, Blue Öyster Cult and Smoulder.”
Preorder Violent Creed of Vengeance here.