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Arð release new video single 'Hefenfelth'

With the song and video clip 'Hefenfelth', monastic doom instigators Arð set up an artistic monument to a fateful battle. The track is taken from the Northumbrian band's highly anticipated sophomore full-length "Untouched by Fire".


Battles and kings often seem to be the only surviving memories of ancient times – particularly when the fate of lands and people hung in the balance. With his crushing victory at Heavenfield ('Hefenfelth'), King Oswald of Bernicia saw his powerful enemy Cadwallon ap Cadfan, King of Gwynedd fallen on the battlefield alongside many Welsh warriors. This battle paved the way for the Kingdom of Northumbria and it also crushed the British Celtic resistance against the rising Germanic Anglo-Saxon tide in the Northeast of what is now known as England.


The lyric video 'Hefenfelth'' is now available via the following link: https://youtu.be/ZNO3PWxyp-U




Arð comment: "The location of what is now thought to have been Heavenfield is nowadays a fairly unassuming, remote field", mastermind Mark Deeks tells from experience. "If you visit at night, it feels like you can 'hear' every sound for miles around. If this really was the location to which Oswald returned in order to claim the Kingdom of Northumbria, the field was witness to some truly significant sights and sounds in terms of the history of both the region and England as a whole. Musically this was the beast that I wrestled with the most and over many months. Yet when it all came together, it felt deeply satisfying."


Historical background


In the year 633, the lands of Northumbria were ravaged by an alliance formed between the Christian British King Cadwallon of Gwynedd and the Pagan Anglo-Saxon King Penda of Mercia. At the Battle of Hatfield Chase the combined Welsh and Mercian forces defeated and killed the Northumbrian King Edwin, which split his realm into Bernicia and Deira again. Those two kingdoms had first been united by Edwin's brother-in-law Æthelfrith. The death of the former caused a chain of events, which led to the return of Æthelfrith's son Oswald from seventeen years of exile in the Christian Irish kingdom Dal Riada at the western coast of Scotland. Oswald spent a year raising an army against the invaders. In 634, Oswald, who had become a Christian in his Northern exile and through this won powerful Irish allies met and vanquished King Cadwallon at the Battle of Hefenfelth. As one of the results of this victory, Bernicia and Deira became permanently joined into Northumbria.


While the precise location of "Hefenfelth" or in a modernised spelling "Heavenfield" is still subject to an ongoing debate, many historians point towards a place near Chollerford, just north of Hexham. According to the Venerable Bede in his "Ecclesiastical History of the English People", which was written about 731, Oswald, who knew that his army was outnumbered by the enemy, erected a wooden cross in the night before the battle and prayed to his new Christian god for victory. Following the victory, people would drink water with splinters from the cross in it, believing this would give the drink healing powers.

Video credit

Lyric video created by Aimed & Framed



Tracklist



2. Name Bestowed



4. He Saw Nine Winters


5. Beset by Weapons


6. Casket of Dust



Arð are of Northumbria. With their eagerly awaited sophomore album "Untouched by Fire", the inventors of monastic doom present another stunning milestone on their fast rising trajectory. Both musically and lyrically, mastermind Mark Deeks has climbed to new heights.

Arð continue on their mission to explore the culture, heritage, and identity of the Northern English lands of Northumbria. The debut album "Take Up My Bones", followed the legend and century-long wanderings of the relics of Lindisfarne saint, Cuthbert (634–687). The tale narrated on the new full-length shines a light on a very different kind of saint. It revolves around the warrior king Oswald (604–642), who forged Northumbria with fire and sword by uniting the kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira. With powerful allies of the Irish kingdom of Dal Riada on the west coast of Scotland, excellent diplomatic skill and the martial prowess of a warrior who had fought battles both in Ireland and Scotland, where his bravery supposedly gained him the honorary name 'Whiteblade', Oswald was widely regarded as the most powerful Anglo-Saxon king by his contemporaries. It was most likely he, who ended the British Celtic kingdoms in the North and expanded Germanic rule in all directions. On "Untouched by Fire", Arð trace Oswald's rise to power from his exile as a youth in Dal Riada due to a family feud, via his victorious battles to conquer the lands that his father had claimed until his founding of Northumbria.

Musically, Arð stay broadly true to their original doom course. The signature 'monkish' choirs also remain prominently present as is to be expected from a musician who works as a choir arranger and conductor among other occupations such as bestselling author, teaching the piano, and playing keyboards in leading UK black metal act WINTERFYLLETH. Yet Deeks has also added new elements for example well-placed sprinkles of prog throughout the album. The compositions on "Untouched by Fire" reflect the gained experience and confidence of their mastermind in the sonic mirror of a more focused songwriting and stronger dynamics. This evolution is aided by the powerful and organic production courtesy of Markus Stock (EMPYRIUM, THE VISION BLEAK) as Arð recorded the album at Klangschmiede Studio E.

The story of Arð began when Mark Deeks, who had earned his PhD in Philosophy on the topic of "National Identity in Northern and Eastern European Heavy Metal", noted that an avalanche of metal bands from Scandinavia referred to the history, myth and sagas from the Viking age but there was hardly anything comparable for the North of England. His choice of insular doom metal as the ideal medium for his ideas is locally well rooted, with pioneering acts of the genre like PARADISE LOST and MY DYING BRIDE hailing from the area of ancient Northumbria that included what is today Yorkshire.


When Deeks started Arð in the year 2019, the composer did not dare to hope for what was to happen the coming years even in his wildest dreams. His demos soon gained him a label and the first print run of the debut album "Take Up My Bones" (2022) sold out before the album even hit the stores. Several print runs followed and limited editions went quickly as well. The first shows of the band for example at Prophecy Fest in Balve, Germany spread an excellent reputation of Arð as a live act by word of mouth like a wildfire. The band was not only featured in the global metal and music press, but also got interviewed for German state television, renowned UK newspaper The Guardian and mentioned by BBC as well as other British media outlets for their special Organic Doom Show for which Deeks had rearranged tracks from "Take Up My Bones" to be performed by band and a real organ in Huddersfield.

Although the rise of Arð, who took their name from an Old English word meaning "native land” in the dialect of the Anglian Kingdom of Northumbria, has already been steep; it is bound to receive a massive boost.


With the sophomore album "Untouched by Fire", Arð have raised their own bar by several notches. Perfectly arranged monastic doom songs with high dynamics and pristine songwriting have found their match in a massive production. Close your eyes and let the Northumbrians take their listeners to an age when Germanic warrior kings carved out new kingdoms with sword and fire – and a new god by their side from whom they demanded victory in battle! A bloody feast for the ravens, a golden treasure for the ears!


Recording line-up

Mark Deeks – lead & backing vocals, rhythm guitars, piano, keyboards, bass guitar


Guest musicians

Dan Capp (WOLCENSMEN) – lead guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals

Callum Cox (ATAVIST) – drums

Robina Huy – cello

Beverley Palin – Northumbrian pipes on 'Beset by Weapons'


Live line-up

Mark Deeks – lead vocals, rhythm guitars

Chris Naughton – rhythm guitars, backing vocals

Mark Doyle – lead guitars

Kostas Panagiotou – piano

Nick Wallwork – bass guitar

Jeff Singer – drums


Recording, Mix & Mastering

Markus "Schwadorf" Stock at Klangschmiede Studio E, Mellrichstadt (DE)


Artwork & layout by Dan Capp


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Available formats

"Untouched by Fire" is available as a hardcover 36-page 2CD+DVD (feat. the full Organic Doom Vol. 1 concert) artbook, on Digipak CD, and as ltd. gatefold "Embers of the Kingdom" clear vinyl LP, and as gatefold black vinyl.


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