For Mordred it began around 1984, but for me, and most fans, the introduction came via the musical term known as 'thrash' and the Bay Area of San Francisco had plenty of it. Heavy metal was big in the '80s, a time when it was actually cool to rebel in the name of Satan, cool to wear denim 'n' leather with patches, and record shops actually sold all the obscure vinyl you were after. Local stores sold all the 'metal' magazines, it was a genre feared by political groups, teachers and parents, and it was fresh, dark and exciting.
Originally, 'metal' was pretty bog-standard, many bands inspired by the pounding doom-laden riffs of Black Sabbath and boogie rock of Led Zeppelin, but by the mid-'80s 'thrash' metal was something bursting out from all over the world. The big boys at the time were Slayer, known for their blood-drenched lyrics from Hell, Anthrax, and their punky mosh stomp, Metallica, with their classical yet monstrous riffs, and Megadeth, intricate and complete with Dave Mustaine's sneer. In Europe bands such as Celtic Frost, Kreator and Voivod were branching out, their sound something harsher and more diverse, and snapping at the heels of the American giants were other crunching U.S. thrash acts such as Testament, Overkill and Exodus and the up and coming younger bands such as the impressive Death Angel, the frantic Violence and slower Forbidden. Thrash was big business, a huge part of the underground metal scene which was pretty much swamped by the death metal scene of the late '80s and early '90s, and eventually killed by the coming of 'grunge', although through all this many bands have been remembered, and some reformed.
Mordred, were unlike anyone else. Whilst other bands experimented, no-one, with the exception of Anthrax touched upon a hybrid, streetwise sound that mixed heavy soul with cutting edge metal, in turn blending hip-hop with technical thrash. And this kind of sound, tragically, and yet somehow triumphantly at the same time, came to the fore in the early '90s when 'heavy metal' became a place for experimental bands who became part of what was to become known as 'funk metal' which at the time meant anything with a funky bass, or in general, any band who jumped on a colourful bandwagon that simply meant creating a silly image instead of quality music. Whilst rock bands such as Faith No More, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and to a lesser extent, Fishbone, Bad Brains, came to the fore, hundreds of other, more artificial bands swamped the better artists, making the whole brief genre something akin to a pile of technicolour vomit. Average, bog-standard metal bands, as well as thrash acts were getting in on the act, slapping the bass, wearing daft clothes and singing about what they considered to be quirky subjects, but the reality was, 'funk metal' was fake, and unfortunately for Mordred, in 1991, they were lumped in with hordes of bogus bands such as Ignorance, Scatterbrain, Scat Opera, Heads Up, FFW, despite creating their own soulful sound years previous, and although the moment allowed metal to spread its wings and offer us some excellent groups such as Mindfunk, I Love You, Saigon Kick, Liquid Jesus, Last Crack, some of these bands were simply way ahead of the genre, and tragically faded, leaving behind a handful of records now difficult to find, yet oh so precious.
Thankfully, Mordred's records are still out there, and also evidence that despite the intoxicating scenes they waded through, they were one of the greatest bands you never heard or saw, and those that were privileged to experience the band, can now relive such treasures via this blog.
Anyone who stashed their Mordred vinyl away should be ashamed of themselves, because the band and their records are timeless, and made all the more relevant when we continue to hear nowadays awful hip-hop/rock renditions which owe oh so much to the band that was Mordred.
It seems that some interest in the band has resurfaced, members of the band past, and more present, have come forward, reunions have taken place, and the word on the street is MORDRED, a band that eclipsed so many styles in two main records and an EP, yet which awfully stalled in its last throe, that being 'The Next Room' opus, but put that aside, and let us delve into the magic and innovation of a band that should never be forgotten, and hopefully this blog, dedicated to the band and all its members, should stand as a testimony to what was a great time, a great career, and once over, a great loss. There will always be a place in music for Mordred because they have no ties, no boundaries to restrict them, or trend to follow. They were originators. And still are. Just listen to those records and hear the sound of something new....
This blog would not have been made possible for it not for the following people:
Obviously, the band, particularly Scott Holderby, Danny White, Aaron Vaughn, Art Liboon, James Sanguinetti and Gannon Hall.
Also, I would like to thank Jez, for everything, plus, the zines, tape traders, magazines, venues etc, at the time for supporting the band, and also Terry and Alan who constructed the EVERYDAY'S A MORDRED DAY website which enabled the band to realise how much of a fanbase they will always have, and Jemma for support X