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From Hell Rat to Hellcommander

Updated: Feb 24

The odyssey of a modest guitarist from the realm of knights to the domain of the Vikings.

Live with Myronath 2019

Embarking on a journey steeped in Metal's depths, Hellcommander Vargblod, known in the mortal realm as Mark Azzopardi, emerged from the island’s cradle in 1982. His initiation into the realm of Metal began as a mere child, enraptured by the thunderous riffs of Black Sabbath and the hypnotic melodies of Led Zeppelin, resonating through his father’s and uncle’s hifi system at home. It was this early exposure that ignited the flames of his passion for the genre, setting him on a path destined for greatness.

Hellcommander Vargblod 1997

As adolescence dawned, Vargblod's fervor for the guitar blossomed under the tutelage of his father. However, it wasn't until his formative years that he delved deeper into his craft, coalescing with two school comrades to birth his inaugural ensemble, the Hell Rats. Their sound, a fusion of thrash and NWOBHM, tinged with the burgeoning influences of black metal, marked the genesis of his musical odyssey. Simultaneously, he lent his talents to the ranks of Mannaris, a garage band endeavoring to carve their mark upon the Metal landscape.

The late 90s heralded a pivotal juncture as Vargblod departed his early endeavors to embark on a 12-year sojourn with local symphonic black metal stalwarts, Martyrium.

Live with (i) Martyrium 2008 (ii) X-Vandals 2011 (iii) Lord Adder 2008

Martyrium 2009

This alliance bore witness to three full-length

albums, myriad performances, and traversing the European expanse. Yet, his voracious appetite for sonic exploration led him to join the ranks of Maltese hard rock veterans, Lord Adder in 2008, simultaneously joining also thrash metal outfit X-Vandals with whom he played till 2013.

During 2011, after Martyrium, Vargblod's creative essence surged forth, birthing Draugul and Khaospath—two solitary ventures that epitomized his artistic ethos. Draugul, a melange of folk, pagan, and black metal, unleashed 4 full lengths, 1 split and 1 EP until 2019, alongside 3 incendiary offerings of Khaospath.

Relocating to the Northern realms of Sweden in 2014, Vargblod's solo project Khaospath was developed as a four-piece outfit with additional guitar, drums and bass and captivated audiences across Sweden, Bulgaria, Finland, and his native Malta with a performance at the Xtreme Metal Assault in 2016.

Draugul promo photo 2016

Around 2016 Mark guested on some guitar parts together with Lord Ahriman, from Dark Funeral, with a band named Thokkian Vortex, the new project of Lord Kaiaphas, the ex-frontman of Norwegian Black Metal act Ancient on the album ‘Into The Nagual’.

Khaospath was put on a hiatus in 2019 after a line up change forged an alliance with Bjarkan, continuing the project under a new name, Myronath. Amidst a revolving door of members, Myronath garnered acclaim, bolstered by the contributions of luminaries like Lars Broddesson (ex-Marduk) and Fredrik Andersson (ex-Amon Amarth). As the eve of May 2024 looms, Myronath stands poised to unleash their third blasphemy upon the world on Italian record label Dusktone.

Khaospath (i) 2015 (ii) live in Malta 2016 (iii) live in Bulgaria 2017
Live with Ragnarok 2022

Vargblod's creative fervor knows no bounds, as evidenced by his collaboration with Bjarkan in the creation of Dodskold, releasing an album “Ödesriket” up till now and their alliance with Norwegian Black Metal veterans Ragnarok, culminating in the birth of Helvitnir. A band that also consists of ex-Mayhem live member Ilizahg on guitars and Jan Axel “Hellhammer” Blomberg. Their first album together is set to be released later this year.

Helvitnir promo photo 2024

In his home studio – “Minas Morgul”, he also helped out fellow brother in metal Zain (as Saint Vermin) with his debut solo album “Together as None”, released in 2013 with mixing and mastering. This collaboration brought Vargblod an alliance with Zain, Clint Aquilina, and Clayton Cini forging the infernal symphony Horned Majesty, releasing their debut single in the second part of 2023. Yet, amidst the chaos of creation, Vargblod's solo odyssey, bearing the moniker Hellcommander, emerges yet again as a beacon of unbridled creativity, unleashing upon the world through, the auspices of "Pesttanz Klangschmiede", the EP titled Year of The Goat.

Hellcommander Vargblod Live 2022

Endorsed by the venerable Ibanez Guitars and Richter Straps, Vargblod's journey into the Abyss knows no bounds—an eternal symphony of Metal's unyielding might.

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