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Interview

Mangog Awakens To Revitalize The Doom Scene

After signing with Argonauta Records back in June, Maryland's bluesy doom outfit Mangog just released debut album "Mangog Awakens" last week.

Featuring members and ex members of Revelation, Iron Man, Against Nature, and Beelzefuzz, "Mangog Awakens" is a true doom manifesto kicking off the year in a very unique way for the metal scene.

With the album out now, we got in touch with Mangog's Bert Hall, Jr. (Revelation, Beelzefuzz) to discuss the band's recent formation, the origin of the distinctive name, and the insanity of the Maryland Doom Fest crowd.

xFiruath: Since Mangog is a fairly new creation and this is your first full-length offering, can you describe the sound and genre of the band for anyone who hasn't heard it yet?

BH: Sure! We like to think of it as being doomy, dark, hard rock that has a bluesy, evil feel to it.

xFiruath: Does the band name come from the Marvel villain, and if so, are any of these comic book storylines inspiration for the music?

BH: Yes, our bassist, Darby Cox, is really into the first story line involving that character where he basically went on a rampage and tried to kill everything in its path! The connection kind of ends there, LOL. At the moment, nothing else is related to comics. We needed something that matched the music and the name works pretty well!

xFiruath: What led to the creation of Mangog and this particular type of sound over any other style of music?

BH: I had been writing new music after Revelation ended and rounded up some friends who I knew would be into it! I already knew that this was the direction I wanted to continue in. I played with Darby Cox and Myke Wells (vocals) separately in other bands over the years and I was aware of Mike Rix (Drums) from when he was in Iron Man. All of us grew up on Sabbath, Priest, Motorhead, Maiden, Dio, Manowar...

xFiruath: What's your connection with Argonauta Records and how did you get hooked up with the label for this release?

BH: For a while, we talked about trying to release something ourselves but eventually started looking at, and talking to, labels. Earlier in the year, Iron Man's vocalist, Dee Calhoun had released his debut recording with Argonauta. After a closer look, we saw that Hollow Leg, who have played in Maryland on a few occasions were there, too! We talked to Dee a bit about his experience working with them and got in contact and things went quickly from there! Gero and Argonauta have been very supportive of us following the direction we’d set off in and it’s a great roster! Dee is there, Monolith Wielder, Hollow Leg...a lot of cool music from all over!

xFiruath: When and where was “Mangog Awakens” recorded, and how did the recording process go for this album?

BH: We used three Maryland studios that we had worked with, individually, in the past and recorded everything over the course of three sessions. All the songs from our set, with the exception of three, that most likely, will be considered for the next CD, were recorded. Already, there’s another 30 minutes of new material we’ve written since completing the album. This time out, it was a matter of capturing the momentum and going with what seemed to be the most powerful option among the songs.

xFiruath: What's going on with the lyrics and overall themes on this new album?

BH: For the most part, the lyrics are about the state of life and the world around us at the time those songs were written. Unfortunately, if we continue to take that approach, it doesn’t look like the lyrics are bound to get any cheerier anytime soon LOL! The songs on this one are about fun things like relationships infested with lies and deception, facing ugly truths about yourself, being used, and decent into darkness.

xFiruath; Do you have a preferred format for listeners to experience the album, and will this just be arriving on CD/digital or are there any other options on the table?

BH: People will be able to get this one on CD or download a digital copy of it. Everybody has their own way that they prefer to get their music. I like to have the physical package that I can open and look at and read as I check out the music, so CDs are cool for me! I also, I buy downloads for my iPod for when I’m away from a CD player.

xFiruath: Will there be any music/lyric video releases for this album?

BH: We currently have two videos in circulation on YouTube for “Ab Intra” and “Daydreams Within Nightmares." There has been discussion of additional videos recently, but we’ll see.

xFiruath: What other bands are the members of Mangog currently active with?

BH: Darby has been playing for years in a band called Major Company, that plays a lot of different kinds of music. They’re popular around here and play often! I play bass with Beelzefuzz. I’m on the band’s second CD, “The Righteous Bloom” and the songs for third CD are coming together steadily. Beelzefuzz played at Psycho Las Vegas last August.

xFiruath: Where will Mangog be playing its first show of the year and what sort of live activity do you have lined up for early 2017 so far?

BH: So far, there are two shows a month from January through April. Our first show of the year is at Raw Ink Live, which is a venue in Gaithersburg, MD where you can get inked and see a show after you get your tattoo! We play a few shows in Pennsylvania and in Maryland, of course. There is a CD release show with Dee Calhoun from Iron Man on the bill doing his acoustic set! We’re hoping to get on some festival bills. The Maryland Doom fest has been a great show to be on! We played in 2015 and 2016, which is rare to have an opportunity to play something like that 2 years running with so many great bands around! Sludgement Day, Tennessee Sludge Fest, all of those were a great time!! So, yeah, festivals! We dig ‘em! Call us! LOL

xFiruath: What was the best or most memorable show you either played or attended back in 2016?

BH: About a year ago, we played at the Fishhead Cantina and had a new t-shirt (the image from inside the CD with us standing in fire) and looking out and seeing so many people wearing, either that shirt, or the shirt we had with the “Daydreams Within Nightmares” EP cover was crazy! The Maryland Doom fest was also a highlight because it was great being on a bill as insane as that was, with the Obsessed and Internal Void!! That was the best weekend of the year, easily!

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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