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Two full length albums in 22 years is pretty slow going even by Doom standards, but US Trad band Orodruin finally got their second release out last year. Comrade Aleks talks to co-founder John Gallo about the long journey.

Interview with Orodruin.
"Orodruin is one of the US Doom scene's long-timers. Started in 1998, they have had their ups and downs… or, rather, up and down - as there was just one highly productive period, during the band's first years. Debut album 'Epicurean Mass' (2003) and a great European tour earned them the reputation of a true Doom band. But then the focus of Orodruin's members turned to other projects and led to a long period of inactivity. The release of the long-awaited EP 'In Doom' (2012) brought some hope to Doom cult worshippers, but the band didn't return to the studio until years later. The result of their sessions at Wicked Squid Studio in 2018 turned out to be the second full-length album, 'Ruins Of Eternity', released by Cruz Del Sur Music in October 2019. This killer collection of inspiring Doom anthems was a sheer blessing for the cult's congregation. John Gallo (with a little help from Mike Puleo) answered a few questions about Orodruin's long pilgrimage."

Orodruin: John Gallo (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Mike Puleo (vocals, bass), Nick Tydelski (guitars).

Hail John! How are you? What's going on in the band's camp?

John: Hello, doing pretty good! Just laying low for the moment while things get back to normal in the world.

Your second album 'Ruins Of Eternity' was released about half a year ago, what do you feel today consider this material?

John: Still proud of the music and hungry to play out again!

The band was founded 22 years ago, now it seems to be another epoch for the Metal scene and for the Doom scene particularly. How did you spend Orodruin's first demo years?

John: Even though we began as a slightly pre-evolved entity in 1998 with a separate demo that was more NWOBHM than doom. The years that lead up to Epicurean Mass was one of an explosion of riffs, ideas and playing gigs. The true inspiration came from Vitus, Trouble, Sabbath, Candemass, etc. In those days we tuned to B standard and were like wooly mammoths in the heat of battle!

Your debut 'Epicurean Mass' was released by good old PsycheDOOMelic Records in 2003. There is a lot of talk that the Traditional Doom scene was always more eagerly embraced in the Old World. Did you feel the same back then?

John: Yes, it was an obscure scene at the time and we felt the calling to create something heavy though we never knew what we were playing was called traditional doom until people reviewed us as such.

Orodruin - 'Voice In The Dark' (2019):

Orodruin's split with Reverend Bizarre, that short tour in Europe, spring 2004. What are your memories about this period?

John: Amazing, was our first time going across the ocean and experiencing a little chunk of Europe alongside our comrades of doom, Penance, will always be a special time for us that forever molded our hearts.

How often did you play live in the USA back in those years? What kind of shows were they?

John: Quite a bit, we also did the Mourning Beloveth & The Prophecy tour in 2003 as well as great festivals like Templars of Doom, Stoner Hands of Doom, Days of The Doomed and Declaration of Doom! Lots of Doom there!! Haha

John, it's hard to tell how active the band's been in the past years as nothing seemed to happen after the EP 'In Doom' release, 2012. Was your occupation with Blizaro a reason why it took so long to finish 'Ruins Of Eternity'?

John: It didn't help, I like to write a lot of music like the same way I dabble in drawing art. But it really was hard to stay focused and dedicate all my time to Orodruin if I was involved in other outlets. So even though we were still active it wasn't to 100% power!

What prevents you now from working at full capacity on Orodruin material and its promotion? Besides the virus, of course, and Blizaro which is no more.

John: Nothing, I was talking about about at the time when I was involved in four bands but those years are over and Orodruin has been number one for at least two years now.

The band recorded new material with almost the same line-up as 22 years ago - excepting Mike Waske. What happened with him?

John: Mike chose a different path and we respect and wish him the best.

How was recording 'Ruins Of Eternity' organized? What were your requirements for Orodruin's sound in 2019? Can you say whether your vision of Orodruin has slightly changed with the years?

Mike: Unlike our previous demo releases, we worked with a great recording engineer on Ruins Of Eternity. We wanted the production to be better than anything we had done in the past. So first we assembled a great drum kit and recorded in a huge space with a lot of mics. During our next session we did live tracking for guitars and bass. Then, over the course of a few months we overdubbed some guitar solos and vocals. We went through some revisions with the mix, I think we all were striving for an organic, live, heavy sound for our comeback LP. My vision for Orodruin hasn't changed much over the years. We still connect with the music the same way that we always have but in my opinion the songs have gotten better as we have become better musicians. Orodruin will always be a Doom Metal band, that vision will always remain.

Did you aim to support the album with live performances? How many gigs did you manage to play?

John: We played our first comeback gig in October with Pentagram locally and then flew off to Germany to play Hammer of Doom with Kevin Latchaw of Argus on drums!

Orodruin - 'Man Of Peace' (2019):

And that's all? Didn't those gigs inspire you enough to play live more?

John: Yes we had a few festivals booked this year but due to the corona outbreak those were put on hold.

Can you say how the attitude to the Doom scene in the US has changed in comparison with the band's early years? Do you feel it was a demanded release?

John: I believe things are turning around and I hope that we helped by releasing Ruins of Eternity. A lot of things in the song structure such as tempo, riffs, and tone seem to have gone astray so far that it needed to come back to Earth a bit. Take away all the gimmicks it's still doom metal.

You didn't take part in split releases after that one with Reverend Bizarre. Can you name bands which you consider your brothers at arms today?

John: Lord Vicar, While Heaven Wept, Argus, Mirror of Deception, Gates of Slumber, Solstice, etc

What about new bands? Can you name a few titles which drew your attention in 2019/2020?

John: Alot of great new music coming out and we hope by having our new album be a stepping stone as well as classic masters like Cirith Ungol, and bands like Lord Vicar and Pale Divine keeping that torch burning that the younger bands can follow suite to tradition of heavy and simple with a sense of style and originality without taking the templamatic approach. Don't follow trends, follow music. Let that inspire you.

What are your plans today for Orodruin, when virus panic rules the world and the future is more blurred than ever?

Create more Doom!!

Orodruin - 'Live' (2019):

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Visit the Orodruin bandpage.

Interviewed on 2020-05-18 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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