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Warhammer 40k metal music declares exterminatus on your ears

We interviewed Richard Pell, the vocalist of two-person metal project Our Martyred Lady, about their Warhammer 40k inspired deathcore music.

The logo for Warhammer 40k metal band Our Martyred Lady, superimposed on a field of gore

Vocalist Richard Pell and instrumentalist Jacob Lizotte are the talents behind Our Martyred Lady, a Warhammer 40k metal music project creating brutal deathcore tracks inspired by the grim dark world of the 41st millennium. With two EPs in the wild, Wargamer interviewed Pell to find out how the duo bring the nightmare to life.

Pell calls himself a “hobbyist vocalist” who got into deathcore and other heavier-than-heavy metal while in high school. He discovered Warhammer 40k later, and “almost by complete accident”, stumbling across a video about the Tyranids while on a lore deep dive into the Flood from Halo.

“I spent the next several months crawling over the lore”, Pell says, adding “I was amazed at how great of a network of content creators existed for 40k”.

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The Warhammer 40k project wasn’t planned: “I just wanted to write a song about the Tyranids but then this material just kept coming”, Pell says, adding “I never intended initially to have a whole 40k project”.

Pell made the connection between 40k and Deathcore almost as a joke: he was “listening to the lore of The Death Korp of Krieg and said ‘I should do the Deathcore of Krieg’”. That pun would eventually become the title for a song on Our Martyred Lady’s second EP.

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Pell sees deep thematic resonances between Warhammer 40k and the deathcore genre. “Deathcore has a long history of cosmic imagery and horror violence… it almost feels like these two were made for each other”. He thinks that symphonic deathcore – which uses elements of classical music – is a particularly good fit: “[Warhammer 40k’s] themes are really heavy and powerful but there’s also this grandiose and cathedral quality to a lot of the lore”.

He’s considered spreading out into other genres, if they’re the right fit for a particular Warhammer 40k faction: “I kind of want to do a slam-death song for the Orks”, he says.

Pell and Lizotte work by bouncing ideas back and forth. “Usually I’ll start with a concept”, Pell says, which he’ll discuss with Lizotte “and go over what direction the song should take”. Once Lizotte fires back a track and tempo map “then I’ll really get to writing”.

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His notes app is filled up with concepts for lyrics, “or a good few lines that powerfully draw from the lore”, but “it isn’t until I have the track that I can actually focus these ideas into a vocal performance”.

Pell and Lizotte “are working on a third Our Martyred Lady release”. They’re taking their time to marshal the funds needed to do the source material justice: “this is the best material we have ever written and I don’t want to cut any corners”.

If you’ve come to Our Martyred Lady because of the 40k connection and want to find more ear-blistering music like it, Pell has some recommendations. “Lorna Shore is a powerful band and has really kind of blown the doors wide open for symphonic deathcore and I’d be lying if I said they weren’t an inspiration”. He also points out Immortal Disfigurement, Signs of the Swarm, and Worm Shepherd as well worth listening to.

Warhammer 40k and metal have a long history together. Under the management of the late Bryan Ansell, Games Workshop opened its own, short-lived metal label in the late 80s, and there are always fan projects: check out this Space Wolves metal project!