MaelstroM Returns To Music After Three Decades

MaelstroM; press photo

MaelstroM; press photo

Despite the current COVID-19 pandemic having kneecapped the live music industry, it’s proven to be a boon to the likes of musicians who have seized upon the opportunity to craft new songs from shelter. The most notable of these is Maelstrom.

Beginning in 1988, the metal band played consistently at live venues in the Long Island area of New York and even recorded some demo tracks. The group played live for the last time in 1994 before disbanding.

MaelstroM "Of Gods And Men" album cover

MaelstroM “Of Gods And Men” album cover

Maelstrom has officially come back thanks to vocalist Gary Vosganian and guitarist Joey Lodes being spurred on to complete a task they never accomplished during their intial run: completing an album.

“I turned to my partner Joey and said ‘you know what, this may be the best time in the entire world to release this,’” recounts Vosganian.

Vosganian, though now focused on a career as a graphic artist who specializes in advertising, says the digital release of the album “Of Gods and Men” on May 22 not only owes its creation to the ongoing quarantine effect of COVID-19 but due also to Maelstrom choosing the studio over the stage.

”We have the advantage of not having to tour,” relates Vosganian. “We’re not a touring band really. We really have just been wanting to get this album out for the better part of our lives. It’s been going on 32 years now and, for the one time in the universe or in the world, that being a non-touring band had an advantage happened to be now.”

“Of Gods and Men” is effectively a musical mash-up of new and old. Combining brand new songs along with many of their older ones such as Predestined and Arises, the album is effectively a definitive collection of the songs Maelstrom has created and played throughout their career. It’s an experience that’s sure to please the most veteran of avid metal heads.

Vosganian adds too that the songs on the album are put together in a way to tell an overarching multi-part tale from start to its finish.

“It’s a kind of fantasy story relating in large ways to the differences between dogmatic rules-based religion versus the inherent soul within us and how that is part of a greater god let’s say and that we are each part of god himself.”

Despite now opting to record such music over playing it live, Vosganian still fondly recalls Maelstrom’s early days playing their music live in New York.

“We absolutely loved it. We had a great local fan base. For two years in a row we were the top drawing band at the local club that sort of all the metal bands in Nassau County, Long Island cut their chops called February’s which eventually renamed itself the Hammerheads.”

The club may be familiar to many rock history buffs as it is a noteworthy starting ground for famous musicians like Twisted Sister and Dream Theater. Though such bands found success beyond the club, Vosganian is blunt about the potential reason Maelstrom was prevented from “breaking open” as they did.

“One thing that we regret though, which may have made a difference back then, was that we never jumped into a van and grinded it out. We never did our own tour. We never booked our own shows across the east coast that kind of thing. You know, try to make our way up to Canada. We never did any of that.”

Though Vosganian says that he would love for Maelstrom to somehow play live again, “Of Gods and Men” is a major accomplishment for the once inactive music group. It’s an accomplishment that he wishes to currently focus on sharing.

“The intent is just to get this out to the world in recorded form and to do some stuff beyond digital, to do some hard copy discs, possibly an LP – you know: actual vinyl – and I kind of have a dream of doing this in a book form because each song had its own piece of art and my lyrics are very important to me. I would like to do this as a book with an accompanying disc.”

Beyond that, Vosganian doesn’t rule out the potential of Maelstrom returning to play live saying that such a possibility will happen on a smaller and more accommodating scale befitting for the 49-year old vocalist and guitarist Joey Lodes who, sadly, suffers from a hearing condition.

“For us to play, it’s definitely something that I would want to do more as a specialty kind of thing rather than trying to bang out a tour.”

But, though small in scale, Vosganian promises a show just as entertaining as their album “Of Gods and Men.”

“I’m kind of having a dream of doing 70-thousand tons of metal. I would absolutely love to play that gig.”