It was obvious from the first riff on the first song from their very first album: MASS WORSHIP were born fully-fledged, utterly unique and magnificently destructive. Emerging from Scandinavian shadows like an unstoppable, shape-shifting bulldozer, they have swiftly become one of the most praised and talked-about bands in the metal underground.
After generating a fearsome, under-the-radar buzz, MASS WORSHIP released their highly praised self-titled debut album in 2019, rapidly grabbing the attention of the underground metal scene around the globe, while also proving that they could resonate with music fans far beyond the underground metal scene, despite their relentless, crushing sound. From the aforementioned opening bars of “Celestial” to the dying embers of the closing “Downpour” it was an extraordinary and idiosyncratic mutant metal revelation. The album received widespread acclaim and MASS WORSHIP were suddenly gate-crashing the mainstream, receiving frequent airplay on national radio in their home countries of Sweden and Denmark and being included on Iggy Pop’s BBC Radio show playlist, as well as being highlighted on The Guardian‘s list of “50 new artists for 2020”.
Despite spending a big part of 2020-2021 locked inside, writing and recording new material, MASS WORSHIP did complete a highly successful tour in support of Polish death metal legends Vader.
Meanwhile, MASS WORSHIP are primed and ready to unleash their second full-length assault. Due for release in 2022, “Portal Tombs” is a terrifying but electrifying exploration of the gloomy depths of human nature: a monolithic manifestation of the musical force that is MASS WORSHIP. Drawing inspiration from bands such as At The Gates, Mastodon and Meshuggah, MASS WORSHIP could be likened to many bands, but somehow forge their musical identity into something exceptionally distinctive and transcendent, and with enough confidence and conviction to win over even the most orthodox fans of the genre. As drummer Fred Forsberg explains, the new record will once again proclaim MASS WORSHIP’s one-of-a-kind potency with maximum force.
“We packed our van full of gear and spent a couple of weeks on the west coast of Sweden, in the gloomy industrial city of Uddevalla,” Fred recalls. “A dear friend of ours lent us his studio (Studio Enheten) to track the foundation of the record. Our vision was to make this record sound organic, heavy and contemporary, with a production that didn’t sound like it was ‘just another metal record’, done in front of a computer. I feel that we accomplished that. It’s MASS WORSHIP on steroids — More aggressive, more progressive, more explosive, more organic. With the debut we nailed the direction for this band — with this album we’re taking that foundation and going all in on all fronts with full conviction.”
Having hit their creative stride so early in their evolution, MASS WORSHIP approached the recording of “Portal Tombs” emboldened by their own rapidly developing collective experience. The result is an album that nurtures and magnifies everything that ruled on the band’s self-titled debut, injects multiple new shades of grimy black into its swirling core and spews out the resultant nihilistic cacophony with startling ferocity. Colossal grooves, waves of disorientating dissonance and enough brute force to shake the foundations of Valhalla itself, songs like monolithic opener “Specular Void” and the pitiless rush of “Unholy Mass” represent the sound of a united, self-sufficient and unassailable force. Produced, recorded and mixed by Fred Forsberg in his own Fuck Life Studios and the neighbouring Studio Enheten, the band kept most of the production process in-house.
“It’s a great advantage to be able to do most of the work ourselves, using the expertise and gear we’ve collectively accumulated over the years,” says Fred. “It helps ensure that the original intent, integrity and the core expression of each song is being honoured all the way from inception to final product. Coincidentally, a good friend of the band, Jonas Stålhammar of At The Gates, practices in the same building and came by to put his magic touch on one of the tracks. The other guests are Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway of Napalm Death, and Jonas Renkse of Katatonia/Bloodbath. It’s pretty mind-blowing to have members of such inspirational pioneers on our own album.”
A triumph for both style and substance, “Portal Tombs” is the kind of metal record that shatters epochs, audaciously redefining what it means to be heavy. MASS WORSHIP continue to lead the charge for individuality and verve, while still delivering a never-ending tsunami of life-affirming, spine-shattering riffs. Lyrically, too, “Portal Tombs” takes the path less trodden, exploring the dark recesses of humanity’s past, its present and, darkest of all, its future. As we spiral towards an abyss of our own making, MASS WORSHIP’s soundtrack will resonate loudest of all.
“We as humans are approaching a state where we don’t believe in anything,” Fred concludes. “Our elected leaders are merely there to sustain a seemingly perpetual status quo, and to grab whatever opportunity they can to shift the public focus. What happens behind the scenes is a slow and steady collapse of our financial, political, ecological, spiritual and cultural world. We can’t envision any alternative, it’s far too late and far too terrifying to try to stop it, and we all know exactly where it’s heading. ‘Portal Tombs’ symbolises that Death is the only true way forward. All things must end, and all endings are the beginning of something new.”