Soldiers of the Mark is the fifth album from Canadian crazies New Jacobin Club. The six piece band fronted by founder The Horde have recently returned from their short tour of Britain. This album tells the story of a Hellfire Club that summons demons to scourge the Earth.
Soldiers of the Mark is available on 12inch vinyl. It starts at $18 for the black version. there are coloured vinyl options for a slightly higher price.
It’s also available on CD for $8.00 to download or $12.00 for the Deluxe CD pack which includes five extra tracks.
The fifth album of the Canadian based band has been fully available for two years now. I acquired my copy at the steampunk event A Splendid Day Out and I’ve held onto it until now for a good reason. You see the band are celebrating their 20th anniversary in October 2016 and I wanted to release this review at the same time.
The background of Soldiers of the Mark focuses on the old Hellfire Clubs that were popular in the 18th century. The clubs were highly secretive so not much is known about them, but they were rumoured to be a place for the upper class to meet and get involved in socially immoral acts. There were one or two well known clubs but they disbanded in the late 18th century. Only a handful are still in existence with most of them located in Ireland.
Because of the lack of information surrounding them and the popularity of other secretive organisations there’s every possibility that they could have been involved in all sorts of crazy shenanigans. The band decided to take it a step further and create a situation where a club is summoning demons (beasts) of the Earth and the Sea.
“Soldiers of the Mark” is specifically about a Hellfire club who’s secret agenda is raising the two great Beasts and initiating the events of the Book of Revelations. They do this by indulging in decadent and depraved activities. They all wear “The Mark,” and thus they they believe they will rule alongside the Antichrist and Dragon Lord (Satan) on Earth for 1000 Years.
As “The Mark of the Beast” is (and always has been)a metaphor for money, the entire concept album is also a political statement on the current state of world affairs.
Track one The Mark starts ominously with a slow rhythm treated with building drums and peeling bells. It soon breaks into a pounding track with a really catchy bridge and chorus. It follows the Club summoning the Beasts before we move into a more settled approach of Parade of Innocents. What I like about this track is the way it cuts from the Horde’s rough lyrics to Candi’s gorgeous chorus. Her voice is laden with her inspirations of legendary 80s rock chicks.
Being someone who likes the lighter side of metal, I find faster tracks such as Champagne Ivy more appealing. The latter has loads going for it as well. The chorus is catchy, it has a great instrumental, it will appeal to a wider demographic and it’s loaded with ethereal sounds from the Theremin, not to mention the sweeping majesty of the Cello.
Arguably my favourite track on the album is Angel MMXIV (2014) which features Candi on lead vocals. It seems to emulate 90s gothic rock tracks with a hint of punk and metal in there. It’s catchy and lighter than the rest of the album, serving as a welcome respite.
It’s always been my theory that classical instruments are still the backbone of successful music. Even with the rise in popularity of electronic instruments. Listening to this album is case in point. Numerous times throughout the album I could hear the low tones of the Cello drifting over the vocals or complimenting the other instruments. At those times I found myself inadvertently swaying to the skills of The Luminous.
There’s no denying the talent and energy that comes from this 20 year old band. The style of music is reminiscent of the rock from the 90s but has a good wallop of present day lumped on top too. Rat King’s drums are sharp and on point while The Ruin throbs my subwoofers.
Horde and Poison Candi work really well together. Their voices harmonise perfectly on the songs where they both contribute.
Soldiers of the Mark is the fifth album from New Jacobin Club and they’re still going as strong as ever. If their live performances are anything to go by, they have absolutely no intention of slowing down anytime soon. The energy of the album as well as it’s seemingly nostalgic feel add to its appeal and this is definitely one for the collection.
Make sure you read our splendid interview with New Jacobin Club here: Steampunk Journal talks to New Jacobin Club