Umbilicus, a hard rock supergroup comprised of death metal alumni—drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz (Cannibal Corpse), guitarist Taylor Nordberg (Deicide, Inhuman Condition), bassist Vernon Blake (Anarchus) and vocalist Brian Stephenson (Fore, Old James)—have announced they have has signed a digital distribution deal with Blood Blast Distribution, and the quartet's debut full-length album will arrive later this year. In addition, the band released a teaser video to show off their heavy and hazy 70s vibe.
In a statement, Nordberg said, "We are all so excited to finally start releasing some music from this band! I have worked with Blood Blast Distribution with several other bands, and they are absolutely killer to work with. Pro, great communication, and they care about the artists. Our first single should be out this month, so stay tuned!"
The roots of Umbilicus date back to the early 2000s, as Mazurkiewicz told Extreminal in a 2021 interview: "20 years ago when [Jack Owen] was still in [Cannibal Corpse] … he and I started a side project and we wrote some original songs and we played two shows in Tampa in a small bar. The name of the band was Path of Man. And we wrote about 15 songs, we made a couple of demo tapes. But we didn't really do anything with it. We played two shows and then the band fell apart. It was three of us. We had a singer, another friend of ours, Vernon Blake. That was 20 years ago. It lasted a year maybe. [It was] a lot of fun and [then it] fell apart.”
Then, in the spring of 2020, Mazurkiewicz got the idea to revive the side project. “I said, 'You know what? Now is the time to [do it] if I wanna do this again. Now is the time to do it because Cannibal Corpse is finished recording the new record.' I had some time on my hands. So, I called my friend Vern who played bass on that project, and I said, 'Hey, you wanna start a project back up again? Let's do this.'"
Speaking about the vibe that Umbilicus conjures with their sound, Mazurkiewicz said: "[It is] a total kind of hard rock project. More rock and roll/hard rock kind of stuff. Stuff that I grew up with—the late '60s, early '70s kinda stuff."
About the current line-up, Mazurkiewicz said: "Jack wasn't gonna get involved in this. He doesn't live in Florida anymore, so we had to start fresh. And we found [Nordberg]. He's the guitar player that plays in The Absence right now and Inhuman Condition. He is playing the guitar with us right now. We're trying to make this project go a little farther than we did the last one."
Mazurkiewicz noted that Umbilicus currently has 10 songs written, and the group is looking big picture when it comes to the releasing their album “Our plan is to get this music out to the masses," he said. "We definitely wanna get it known. We wanna get something out there to see what can happen.
"I've been listening to well-known bands like Grand Funk Railroad, Bad Company and Steppenwolf and not-so-well-known bands like Sir Lord Baltimore and Lucifer's Friend for the last 20 years or so now. The more I listened to these bands, the more I wanted to play music like this. It is just so much fun to sit back and groove out and play by complete feel without beating my body down. To just play some pure hard rock!"