UMBILICUSthe new project with the drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz (CANNIBAL CORPSE), guitarist Taylor Nordberg (DEICIDE, INHUMAN CONDITION), bassist Vernon Blake (ANARCHUS) and singer Brian Stephenson (FORE, OLD JAMES), signed a digital contract with Distribution of blood breath. The quartet’s first full album will arrive later this year.

Nordberg said, “We’re all so excited to finally start releasing music from this band! I’ve been working with Distribution of blood breath with several other bands, and it’s really great to work with them. Pro, great communication, and they care about the artists. Our first single should be out this month, so stay tuned!”

Regarding how UMBILICUS came together, Mazurkiewicz told Extreminal in a 2021 interview: “20 years ago, when [Jack Owen] was still in [CANNIBAL CORPSE], literally 20 years ago, he and I started a side project and we wrote original songs and we played two shows here in Tampa at a little bar. The name of the group was WAY OF MAN. And we wrote about 15 songs, we made some demo tapes. But we didn’t do anything with it. We played two shows and then the band fell apart. We were three. We had a singer, another friend of ours, a friend of mine, Vernon Blake. It was 20 years ago. It lasted maybe a year. [It was] lots of fun and [then it] collapsed. Around May or June [of 2020], I said, ‘You know what? Now is the time to [do it] if I want to do this again. It’s time to do it because CANNIBAL CORPSE finished recording the new record.’ I had time ahead of me. So I called my friend Verne who was playing bass on this project and I said, ‘Hey, do you want to start a project again? Let’s do this.'”

Regarding the musical direction of UMBILICUS, Paul mentioned: “[It is] kind of a total hard rock project. More like rock and roll, hard rock. Stuff that I grew up with – late ’60s, early ’70s a bit.”

As to how he found the other musicians for UMBILICUS, Paul mentioned: “Jack wasn’t going to get involved in that. He doesn’t live in Florida anymore, so we had to start fresh. We’re, like, ‘Let’s start from scratch’, Vern and I. ‘Let’s find a guitarist.’ And we found a guitarist. It’s the guitarist who plays in ABSENCE now and INHUMAN CONDITION. They just released a CD, a small band, but their name is Taylor Nordberg. He’s playing guitar with us right now. We are trying to make this project go a little further than the previous one.”

Mazurkiewicz went on to say that UMBILICUS had “10 songs written. Our plan is to get this music out to as many people as possible,” he said. “We really want to let it be known. We want to do something to see what can happen.”

When UMBILICUSThe formation of was first announced last December, Mazurkiewicz said in a statement: “UMBILICUS was formed in the summer of 2020 and powered by our love of late 60s, 70s and early 80s rock and roll.

“I’ve listened to well-known bands like BIG FUNK [RAILROAD], BAD COMPANY and STEPPENWOLF and lesser known bands like SIR LORD BALTIMORE and LUCIFER’S FRIEND for about 20 years now. The more I listened to these bands, the more I wanted to play music like that. It’s so much fun to sit back and have fun and play with a full feel without bringing my body down. To play pure hard rock!

“We’ve made 10 very cool songs throughout 2020, but one piece of the puzzle was missing: an awesome vocal to tie it all together. Enter Brian Stephenson! An amazing singer and lyricist who completed the lineup!

“I’m so proud of what we’ve written and can’t wait for the world to hear what we have to offer!”


Brian Stephenson – voice
Paul Mazurkiewicz – drums
Vernon Blake – bass
Taylor Nordberg – guitar

Group photo by Deïdra Kling