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UPC: 196588464911
Format: LP
Release Date: February 9, 2024
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  1. Dead Mother Moon
  2. Onyx Through the Heart
  3. My Destiny; a Weapon
  4. Dusk Sang Fairest
  5. Paradise Failed (feat. Brian Fair of Shadows Fall)
  6. Nocturnalism
  7. To Seek and Follow the Call of Lions
  8. The Lantern
  9. Dig Up Her Bones

Few bands can embrace their influences with the passion and intensity that UPON STONE does. With their Century Media debut, Dead Mother Moon, the San Fernando Valley, CA quartet tackle early 90’s influenced Melodic Death Metal (AKA “Melodeath”) with a rawness and intensity that not only matches the influence of the early Scandinavian scene but exceeds it. UPON STONE delivers with a ferocity that could only come from a band fueled by the scene-spanning influence of At The Gates’ landmark Slaughter of the Soul while growing up in the shadow of fellow Californians, Nails. For Melodic Death Metal, this isn’t a revival. It’s a rebirth.   The roots of UPON STONE twist back to its members' teenage years. Vocalist and bassist Xavier Wahlberg, drummer Wyatt Bentley and guitarist Ronny Marks began playing together in various Valley bedroom-bred outfits, “When you’re 18 you’re still stabbing in the dark,” says Wyatt of UPON STONE’s members’ early endeavors in demo days outfits fueled on the likes of Children of Bodom, In Flames and Dissection. “Those bands were the gold standard,” the drummer adds. “We could not love anything more than those classic Gothenburg and Finnish bands.”   The opportunity to revisit that love of early Melodeath came years later during the global pandemic and worldwide shutdown when UPON STONE, joined by guitarist Gage Goss, first truly came together. While the individual members were ensconced in different projects and different scenes, the pull of their early Scandinavian-influenced inclinations couldn’t have been stronger. “The minute we first picked up guitars and started playing together, we knew there was something magic about this,” says Xavier. “It was obvious this was supposed to happen.” UPON STONE’s first recording session with producer Taylor Young (Nails, Drain), a fours song EP, Where Wild Sorrows Grow was released on the Creator Destructor label and became a mission statement for the long-gestating band.   “From the start, there weren’t any bad ideas,” says Wyatt of UPON STONE’s early writing and recording days. “For instance, we want to put an acoustic interlude on a demo – yeah, let’s do it! Or we wanted to add synths to a part – do it! Everything was so seamless. When we brought it to Taylor, he was surprised and told us ‘I wasn’t expecting it to be this technical or this fast. Or this dark.’ It was really cool to get that feedback from someone we had so much respect for as a producer and a musician.”   UPON STONE made its live debut on a short run of dates with Japan’s Kruelty in the barely post-pandemic January 2021. “Once we started playing live, we realized that this is the band we’ve always wanted to do,” states Xavier. UPON STONE began gigging relentlessly, finding their audience between Los Angeles’ hardcore and metal sects. Area gigs with the likes of Judiciary or Bewitcher as well as early tours with Creeping Death and Vomit Forth cemented UPON STONE as a ferocious live proposition.   Not surprising given the band’s deep roots in both scenes and its members' involvement in outfits including Vamachara, Xibalba and Momentum. “Hardcore has always been a corner of heavy music that has retained its authenticity and intensity,” says Wyatt “You talk about a

band like Black Dahlia Murder, and I remember in interviews them saying ‘We learned everything from the Hardcore scene.”    Once more produced and mixed by Taylor Young, Dead Mother Moon is a nine-song blast of viciously delivered Melodeath. From the title track opener to the vicious “Onyx Through the Heart” to the growling melodies of “Dusk Sang Fairest”, it’s an album that not only revisits the sound of the early 90’s Scandinavian underground but also reinvigorates it.  “We made a record that we wanted to hear,” states Bentley. “If I found this record on import at a record store, this would be my favorite new band.  I think it’s a good sign when you’re writing the stuff you would have loved to hear when you’re first getting into a sound." Joining UPON STONE for the feral anthem, “Paradise Failed” is none other than Shadows Fall vocalist Brain Fair, whose band sprung from the same influences two decades ago. “People forget that that’s where bands that are huge now like Killswitch Engage or Darkest Hour got a lot of their influences,” states Wahlberg.   UPON STONE doesn’t merely encompass the sound of their early 90’s influences. Songs like Dead Mother Moon’s closing track, “The Lantern” are rooted in the same sense of spirit that echoed through the forests of Sweden and Norway. “The lyrical content of that era seemed so much deeper than the early guts and gore stuff that came out of the Swedish or Florida death metal scenes of the 80’s,” says Wyatt. “I searched for that feeling when I got into bands like Agalloch or Limbonic Art– or even something like In Flames’ Lunar Strain record. I tried to incorporate that into UPON STONE’s music. Something deeper, not in a pretentious way but in a way where we’re able to explore esoteric ideas. A lot of the early Gothenburg bands were doing that too. Were they singing about the forest or were they tackling more personal themes like isolation and depression?”   UPON STONE’s love for early melodic Death Metal is unmistakable. Down to the album cover artwork by renowned German artist Andreas Marschall (Dimmu Borgir, In Flames), Dead Mother Moon revels in the sound that would go on to inspire Metal scenes worldwide while making it sound immediate and vital. “Without sounding arrogant, it feels like a rebirth of a sound that changed how we all looked at music,” says the drummer. “We hope that it’s a gateway for people to go back and discover albums like The Jester Race and Storm of the Light’s Bane. I want it to matter to a new generation in the same way those records did for us.”

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