Album of the Month

The debut full-length from Greek band Automaton is weighty, sludgy, coffin-lid-slamming Doom perfection.
(Read more)

Random band

A solo project formed in 2016 by Bruno B. Braga, Lelantos sits at the more gentle and atmospheric end of Funeral Doom. Should appeal to fans of bands lik...
(read more)

After a long hiatus and a secretive reformation in 2014, Poland's '90s veterans Mordor are ready to unveil their third full-length album. Comrade Aleks talked to original members Paweł M and Paweł Z about that and more...

Interview with Mordor (Poland).
"Mordor was formed in Częstochowa, Poland in the early '90s. This was one of the first Death Doom bands, with a murky history, so I guess only die-hard fans know that they released one Death Doom album, 'Prayer To…', in 1993, and by the next full-length, 'The Earth', the band had turned to a proggy Gothic Metal direction. After ten years of noise, Mordor split in 2000, to rise from the ashes again in 2014. Four years of work in secrecy led the band to their third full-length album, 'Darkness…', released on 20th April through Pagan Records. We've done this interview with two of Mordor's original members - Paweł Midera (guitars) and Paweł "Slaughter" Zieliński (vocals) - in order to learn what the band can offer their listeners in 2018."

The current Mordor line-up: Paweł Midera (guitar), Dariusz Boral (keyboards), Paweł "Slaughter" Zieliński (vocals), Paweł "Stormblast" Pietrzak (drums), Bartosz Żyngiel (bass), Jacek "Carrion" Woszczyna (guitar).

Hello gentlemen! For long years Mordor was disbanded, and even after its resurrection in 2014 you kept silent for a while. Let's remind our readers about the band's roots. So, Mordor existed as Black Coven for the period 1988 to 1990. What did you do in those first years? Why did you decide to rename the band?

Paul Z: As you told, the Black Coven was active in the late 80s of the last century. Together with my friend Jacek Woszczyna, we founded this project, which was as a local band that took music and text inspiration from Mercyful Fate. During the two years of its existence, the band gave some gigs and gathered more and more listeners, but after two years of existence, the band terminated their activity. After the dissintegration of Black Coven in 1990, we were joined by drummer Beіkot and bassist Bartek Kuџniak - he suggested to changing band's name to Mordor.

What influenced Mordor's sound when you wrote the first songs that got into the 'Nothing...' demo in 1993? Though there's a Paradise Lost cover amongst your own songs, so it seems obvious.

Paul M: Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride.

Paul Z: In my opinion, the sound of the band is created mostly by it's members, regarding inspiration, music was definitely influenced by doom metal bands from the '90s, but in fact our ideas were inspired by various types of music.

'Nothing...' line-up: Gerard Niemczyk (drums), Bartłomiej Kuźniak (bass), Paweł "Slaughter" Zieliński (vocals), Jacek "Carrion" Woszczyna (guitar), Paweł Midera (guitar).

What was on your mind when you entered the studio to record the 'Prayer To...' full-length? What kind of result did you want to reach?

Paul M: We expected that we will record an excellent album with very nice sound quality, our then label spent a large budget on these recordings, we had rented one of the best studios in Poland at the time, we had a lot of time there at our disposal - sometimes 3 albums are created in that time. Unfortunately, the plans were made in half - the music on Prayer To... is great but the sound engineer was completely inexperienced in such music and our lack of experience in the studio caused the album to sound very poor. Paul Z: Entering the studio, we were sure that we brought great tracks with us, and we will be able to give them a powerful sound. Unfortunately, the second part of our expectations did not work :)

Your influences in this album were wider than just Death Doom, how would you describe that? How did you compose songs back then? Did you have a main writer or did you throw in ideas together?

Paul M: Inspirations have not changed as much as it seems (see question 2) because not much time had passed. The way of writing songs was more or less the same what we're doing now. Technically, it's easier in nowadays because we can work at home and send e-mails with track ideas to each other, but still the whole band is working on new material. The main load of composing has always been on the shoulders of guitarists, but the final shapes of riffs are mostly made while at rehearsals and whole band are involved.

Paul Z: Every band member was involved in writing Prayer To...'s music - for example the riffs for Two Real Stories was created on guitar by ...our drummer Gerard Niemczyk.

Mordor - 'Nothing Makes Any Sense':

How did you work in the studio? Did you face any problems during the session?

Paul M: It was our first experience in a real, large studio, so every day we had to face something new, remember those were times when recording was made on analog tape, if something went wrong the sound engineer had to made a real "delete" "paste" etc instead of using ctrl+copy on a laptop keyboard. We wasted a lot of time to properly - as we thought so - set the sound of recordings and levels of mixes. But eventually it turned out that album sounds bad anyway.

Paul Z: There were the problems, of course.. It turned out that we mostly had to work in studio on night shift as during the day other bands worked there. You can imagine that not always we were properly rested :) We were about 20 years old than, and youth has its own rights. The biggest problem was the sound engineer who often fell asleep at the console during the session, for example, the vocals in "Ice bound" were recorded by our drummer Gerard Niemczyk, because we could not wake Mr. Engineer up :) . In general, he could not transform Mordor's sound expectations into reality, the more so as he wasn't a metal music fan.

The band's name is tightly connected with Tolkien, but your lyrics don't have anything in common with his stories. Why didn't you use some of his images in your songs? However, the lyrics on 'Prayer To...' sound pretty thoughtful, so I believe that they were important for you.

Paul Z: Stories written by Tolkien are fairy tales, fantasy stories, I feel creating of lyrics in other ways. True it's important for me, reality, experiences... yes some of the lyrics are very important for me, especially one of them.

'Prayer to...' line-up: Bartłomiej Kuźniak (bass), Paweł "Slaughter" Zieliński (vocal), Dariusz Boral (keyboard), Gerard Niemczyk (drums), Paweł Midera (guitar), Jacek "Carrion" Woszczyna (guitar).
But why did you choose such a name for the band if it isn't connected with the lyrics?

Paul Z: Because in those days not many people knew Tolkien's work, so it was unknown, it was not hackneyed. Furthermore, it reflected the mystery and darkness which, in our opinion, perfectly suited our music.

What was going on around Mordor after the release of the first album? How often did you play gigs? Did the media pay you enough attention?

Paul M: We played a lot of gigs in the whole country. Regarding mass media - except those underground metal fanzines - we were almost not present in them but we had a lot of devoted fans wherever we appeared. It was very nice and very surprising for us.

There were already "gothic" elements in the first album - keyboards, female vocals, some arrangements, etc, but with second album 'The Earth' Mordor totally switched to Gothic Metal. What influenced you during the composing of this material?

Paul Z: Mordor rather switched towards the progressive rock. Path we have followed in those times was caused by total change of band's crew. There was a moment when I and Jacek were alone. We wanted to continue the band but new members who joined didn't understand doom metal. During this period of time we noticed that bands such as Tiamat, Paradise Lost or The Gathering choose their paths in unknown directions, vocalists started to really sing, new music solutions appeared. We, with our new crew, went toward art rock, we realized very well that we were losing a lot of our fans who were deep in doom metal and we had to accept it.

The time when we created The Earth I remember as a very good time. We met a lot of interesting people, we gained a lot of new fans, played some gigs in USA and played a lot of gigs all over the country. In my opinion this album is musically very good. Regarding the vocal side there are a few imperfections, I think today I would sing it totaly differently. I treat The Earth like completely another part of my musical way in which I was involved together with some great guys and we all had a great time then, and creating music gave us amazing joy. The Earth was like an affair on the side which will never happen again.

Mordor - 'Higher & Higher' (Official):

Really? You played in the States? How did you manage to get there? Can you tell more about this tour?

Paul Z: We were invited by the then patron of Polish music in the USA, Mr. Leszek Њwierszcz, we played two gigs in his club in New Jersey. Unfortunately, we did not have a time to stay a few days longer and play in existing then legendary New Yourk club C.B.G.B. In general, the whole trip took 9 days and it was a great time.

How does the message of 'The Earth' differ from 'Prayer To…'? Can you say that you wrote different lyrics for this album?

Paul Z: They are more or less about the same, maybe in less sad version

How did people react to such changes? And how did 'The Earth' influence the band's life?

Paul Z: We gained new fans, but unfortunately we lost a lot by changing the style. It was predictable and we had to accept it. Regarding the story of the band, the previous answers seem to be comprehensive.

What were the main reasons for disbanding Mordor in 2000?

Paul Z: I think it was natural burn out as well as the improper music way which was suggested by other band members.

You had an 11-track promo recorded in 2000, what happened with this material?

Paul Z: We haven't found any label interested in publishing it.

In which style were those tracks written? Do you have an idea to release them someday?

Paul Z: It was the beginning of a new century, a lot of new synth sounds, loops and others appeared. We started to use it heavily in Mordor and the music was going towards modern metal but probably not adequate for us. Regarding release of those tracks in future – no, we do not consider it.

Live, 2016.

However you returned to the scene in 2014. What motivated you? How did you manage to gather almost the whole original lineup?

Paul M: I think we all always loved Mordor and the original line-up from the '90s was the best and created the best songs. Besides, all four of us from the original line-up (Paweі Z. Jacek W. Darek B and Paweі M.) still live in Czкstochowa and we have always had some contact with each other. It was not a difficult decision, when I heard the proposal I had no doubts we had to do it. We were joined by two other great and experienced musicians and we hope that we'll kick your ass again :)

Paul Z: I was thinking about it for a long time. I proposed to the other guys resumption of the band and everyone immediately said - we are in! Bartek and Gerard also got the proposal but they live far from us and both have a large amount of other activities so they refused. But they sincerely wished us a successful reactivation.

Was it difficult to start everything anew? The way everything works now differs from things in the '90s, so how smooth was this return for you?

Paul M: It was easier than it seems to be. Remember that we are not just woken up from hibernation, we are all living in nowadays and we know how life works now :)

The release of Mordor's new album 'Darkness...' has already been announced by Pagan Records; how much Death Doom and Gothic will we find there?

Paul M: Let it be a surprise, but musically the album will be completely different than anything created by Mordor before. Even black-metal fans will enjoy it ;)

When were these songs composed? Do you have some tracks from the past or is it completely new material?

Paul M: All songs were written after the band's last reactivation. We created much more than you will hear on upcoming "Darkness" but we chose only the best ones for the album

Mordor - 'L.U.C.I.F.E.R.' (Official):

Considering your problems with studios in the past... how smoothly did this recording session go? How much time did you spend there?

Paul M: Recording process looked completely different than in the '90s. M who was our sound engineer is a talented musician and songwriter, but he is also a great producer who almost telepathically understands our intentions and knows what needs to be done before we say it. I am sure that if he was not the leader of a great band, he could become a great sound engineer. It is difficult to say how much time we spent in the studio because we worked mainly on weekends and had a great time there. Of course, there were several dozen hours of recording sessions

Do you already have plans to support the album's release with a tour? Where will you play?

Paul M: We do not have any concrete concert plans yet. We have several proposals for this year but I think and hope that the machine will start just after the release of the album.

Thank you for this interview, gentlemen! Did we miss anything? What do you want to add?

Paul Z: Thank you for your willingness to talk to us, greetings to all who read this interview and we invite you to listen to Mordor and buy the new material "Darkness ..."

Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.

Visit the Mordor (Poland) bandpage.

Interviewed on 2018-04-22 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
Advertise your band, label or distro on doom-metal.com