Oldschool Sunday: MORDOR

Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway

We recently reported [HERE] about the return of Poland’s MORDOR with its first new album in over two decades.

We will get to more on that in a few minutes but first, let’s take a look at the origins of this iconic doom and death band. Those origins begin in Częstochowa, Poland circa 1990 when the band, known as Black Coven at the time, changed their name to MORDOR.

By 1992, the quintet of vocalist Paweł Zieliński, guitarists Jacek Woszczyna & Pawel Midera, bassist Bartosz Kuźniak and drummer Gerard Niemczyk issued an 8-song demo, ‘Nothing…’, for Baron Records. The band’s music was an aggressive take on death metal-tinged doom, the type similar to such contemporaries as Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, or Katatonia.

When MORDOR released their 1993 studio full-length debut for Promus Records, ‘Prayer To…(streaming here), the band’s lineup had increased with keyboardist Dariusz Boral. The band’s heavy, yet atmospherically-augmented, styling was equally brooding and sonically savage.

‘Prayer To…’ also received a release from the Norwegian record label Arctic Serenades which helped MORDOR garner larger scale exposure and thus, increased fans too. This helped them in landing club gigs all throughout Poland, as well as assisting them in securing slots on many of the country’s largest festivals at the time.

MORDOR would not release their next studio album until 1997’s ‘The Earth’ for the label Ars Mundi. The album would reflect an obvious musical shift in the band, one yielding more progressive elements in their music. This could have been a natural musical evolution of course but more than likely, it was the result of  all new members in MORDOR, with singer Paweł Zieliński the only constant from the earlier era.

The new blood consisted of guitarists Jacek Wax and Dariusz Bafeltowski, bassist Sławomir Przysiecki, drummer Tomasz Raszewski, and keyboardist Jarosław Malasiewicz. ‘The Earth’ was MORDOR‘s most successful output, it was released in the U.S., Canada and Japan along with its European availability, which helped cement the band being invited to perform in the United States.

In 2000, MORDOR began writing material for their next studio album but things were not on stable ground within the band’s members. That year would see the disbandment of MORDOR, a state that would remain for almost fifteen years.

2014 would see the reformation of MORDOR but nothing musically happened until November of 2017 when they released a cover of a Venom song on a split with Bunkur. Now, here we are in 2018 with the incredible news I eluded to earlier on.

April 20th saw the first new studio full-length release from MORDOR in 21 years, ‘Darkness…‘, via Pagan Records. The album, which contains six new, original tracks was recorded at No Solace Studio and the band offered the following comment about their return and new opus:

We return after 21 years with a new album called ‘Darkness…’ with which we relate to the roots of the band, but at the same time add a new doom/black metal spirit. We hope that the material will be positively received by new and old fans of heavy music. We don’t have unrealistic expectations, we just wish to return to the scene, meet with fans at concerts so that we can both draw positive energy from them.”

Now that we are all caught up to current events of MORDOR, we present you the full album stream of the just-released ‘Darkness…‘ below. Congratulations are in order for the band’s return with such a powerful doom opus for the modern age. ‘Darkness…‘ is available for purchase HERE.

Paweł Zieliński  – Vocals
Jacek Woszczyna – Guitar
Paweł Midera – Guitar
Dariusz Boral – Keyboard
Bartosz Żyngiel – Bass
Paweł Pietrzak – Drums

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