Seven years since their widely celebrated Woodfall full-length, the elusive Canadian chamber folk trio MUSK OX — featuring members of Leprous, The Night Watch, and The Visit, among others — will release their highly anticipated third record, Inheritance.
Despite the long wait between albums however, the musicians within MUSK OX have remained prolific between releases. Since 2014, MUSK OX classical guitarist Nathanael Larochette released a solo double album, a collaboration with poet Conyer Clayton, and two acclaimed full-lengths with the instrumental chamber metal quartet The Night Watch, of which MUSK OX violinist Evan Runge is also a member, while cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne’s staggering output saw the debut release of the haunting cello/voice project The Visit, three improvised world music albums with the duo Kamancello, a stunning solo album and two full-length records with Norwegian prog masters Leprous as well as continuous appearances as a session musician.
The trio’s combined stage and studio experience is on full display throughout Inheritance, a captivating set of compositions representing new levels of growth and maturity for MUSK OX. As with Woodfall, the original skeleton of the album was composed on guitar by Larochette before being handed to Weinroth-Browne for string compositions, restructuring and additional guitar contributions. The trio then spent hours workshopping, arranging, and rearranging parts in the rehearsal room, leading to a more refined and collaborative album. Once the material was ready to record, MUSK OX once again called upon long-time friend, collaborator, and studio wizard Dean Watson who engineered and mixed the self-titled debut as well as Woodfall. The material was then carefully tracked at his woodland studio The Workshop.
Though MUSK OX had prepared to mix the album with Simon Larochette (Sarin, Chastity) at The Sugar Shack in March 2020, nature had other plans, leaving the band to spend the following months mixing the album online in isolation. Though far from ideal, the great pause allowed MUSK OX to dive even deeper into the mixing process than ever before, pushing the band’s already painstaking approach to new levels. Containing some of the group’s most ambitious as well as intimate material, Inheritance is a cathartic collection where wordless hymns of worry and wonder form the stirring soundtrack to an uncertain age of reckoning, reflection, and resilience.
Inheritance will be released independently July 9th on CD, LP, and digital formats with preorders and track teasers to be unveiled in the coming days.
Inheritance Track Listing:
1. Inheritance (Part 1 – Premonition)
2. Inheritance (Part 2 – Hindsight)
Formed in 2006 by guitarist Nathanael Larochette, MUSK OX‘s enchanting self-titled debut was released in 2009 and received unanimous acclaim from Decibel, Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, and Terrorizer among many others, an astonishing feat for a meditative collection of completely acoustic elegies to the Canadian wilderness. That same year, cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne joined MUSK OX and the two began performing live while collaborating on new material. After two years of meticulous composing, MUSK OX welcomed violinist Evan Runge to round out the lineup, an obvious choice as Larochette and Runge were already bandmates in the instrumental chamber metal quartet, The Night Watch.
The overwhelming and unexpected reception of the project’s debut set the stage for MUSK OX to make a lasting statement with their ambitious second album Woodfall, a sixty-five-minute, five-part suite for classical guitar, cello, and violin. Displaying the stunning contributions of Raphael Weinroth-Browne (cello, composition) and Evan Runge (violin), Woodfall pushed the project conceptually and musically, landing the album on numerous year-end lists, including The Needle Drop’s Top 10 Canadian Albums of 2014.
Though largely celebrated for their recorded output, MUSK OX has also developed a reputation for captivating live performances, opening select shows on three tours with dark metal masters Agalloch as well as sharing the stage with Norway’s otherworldly folk ensemble Wardruna at the legendary Wave-Gotik Treffen Festival in Leipzig, Germany. With the release of their third full-length Inheritance, MUSK OX has reached new levels of expression, blending nature folk intimacy, classical precision, post-black metal atmosphere, and progressive metal intensity into a sweeping set of captivating instrumental odes to the past, present and future.
Nathanael Larochette – classical guitar
Raphael Weinroth-Browne – cello
Evan Runge – violin