Norwegian experimental progressive thrashers Vorbid are finally back with new music!

Four years after the release of their critically acclaimed debut album Mind, Vorbid are set to further explore the outpost of progressive metal. Both of the band’s previous releases, a self-titled EP from 2016 and Mind from 2018 received amazing reviews and got lots of media attention. Landing them tours with Norwegian underground heavy weights such as Aura Noir, Obliteration and Einherjer.

In 2022 the Vorbid have returned with even more technically challenging and intriguing music, stepping up the game and proving themselves worthy of a place at the prog metal table.

Vorbid’s music is highly conceptual. On new album A Swan by the Edge of Mandala they wanted to compose and produce an album with a clear storyline. As such the music and lyrics for the album were written in parallel and then sewn together with regards to the concept and rhythm of the underlying narrative.

Vorbid comments: “On A Swan by the Edge of Mandala we have chosen an even more progressive direction than on the previous releases. Our main inspiration was to seek out both a renewal of the sound and at the same time challenge ourselves musically. Through this process we ended up creating a new sound for Vorbid which we strongly believe is where the band should be, and which fulfills our potential.”

Daniel, the lyricist on the album, explain that the lyrics are about fear, something which is very subjective, but also a motif and feeling everyone can relate to in some way. This brings a powerful eeriness to the album and the stories told through it. His greatest fear is the hopelessness, grief and anxiety associated with loneliness that can occur when you become a prisoner of your own body.

Imagine waking up one day with physical and mental impairments that prevent you from communicating with other people. That you suddenly are alone in the world; a silent spectator without the ability to convey your own feelings and needs. This extreme form of solitude is, and has always been, his greatest fear.

The band reflects: “The darkest of fears isn’t necessarily attached to one specific scenario our situation, but rather a deep-seated feeling that can be difficult to express in words and explain by reason. And although the album’s concepts also grasp more familiar themes such as life and death, self-destruction and existentialism, the overall inspiration for the album, and what ties it all together is fear“

When Vorbid started working on material for the new album, they wanted to end up with an even stronger concept than what they had had on Mind. Opposed to letting each song have their own theme, the band wanted to create an album with a coherent story this time around.

And the band lists albums such as The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis, Metropolis Pt.2: Scenes from a Memory by Dream Theater and Hand Cannot Erase by Steven Wilson as major inspirational sources for the project both musically and lyrically.

This new approach to the creative process, as well as strict regulations imposed under the pandemic, had the band members write a lot of the material in seclusion, meeting up whenever they could to rehearse and tie it all together. As a direct result of this, all the songs written for this album were given both more time and more consideration, and perhaps also a stronger identity due to the current, and critical state of the world.

The album was recorded in Dub Studio in Kristiansand by the talented Endre Kirkesola (who has produced albums for Green Carnation and Abbath).

The choice of both studio and producer has had a major impact on the sound; Endre is both an experienced and a voraciously capable producer, who also understands Vorbid’s sound. By his hand Vorbid sound tighter, more musical, and heavier than ever. At the time of the actual recording the band stood without a bass player; Hans Jakob Bjørheim joined when the album was already recorded and the band was to go on tour.

As such Vorbid invited Stian Gundersen from Blood Red Throne to play the bass and he accepted.

The band states: “Stian’s technique is impeccable, and technique is something we really wanted to be the focus of the new album”

All in all, Vorbid has, through A Swan by the Edge of Mandala, created an album with room for both contemplation and gratification. An album made by and for people who love eclectic and meaningful music, for people who feel a little lost, or for people who have lost.

Vorbid concludes: “Through A Swan by the Edge of Mandala we have experienced that the music we write can vary quite a lot. From super heavy riffs to elaborate and vibrant saxophone sections, there really isn’t anything excluded in the “Vorbid-repertoire”, it just has to be created out of real conviction and genuineness. We have also experienced just how much the choice of producer impacts both the working environment in the studio, and on the outcome of the sound in its entirety. In other words, our relationship with Endre Kirkesola has just begun!

The music on A Swan by the Edge of Mandala has taken a different direction than what any of us in the band could have envisioned, and we have learned to find excitement and energy in the band again which is extremely fun!”