SummaryTo dwell in the landscape of lost dreams
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During the 1990’s doom/death metal was all over the place in Europe, yet Poland is most likely not one of the countries you’d think of when it comes down to the style. Still, this country featured some oddball bands that you wouldn’t easily associate with the earliest gruff Dutch doom/death metal camp or the English Peacevile three. Enter Mordor, who were taking inspiration from a variety of sources and putting them together in a serious Frankenstein-esque manner.
Leaning more towards a versatile and melodic kind of doom/death metal, Mordor probably owes more to the earlier records of Tiamat than anything else, but there’s more; an unexpected embrace of more conventional styles that somehow find their way into the flexible arsenal of this guitar duo, as their style ranges from captivating speedier riffs to elegant lead riffs. “False Prayer” opens up with a violin passage that might have suited the moods of early My Dying Bride, yet it quickly turns into a festival of catchy riffs and melodic leads leading the way towards a mysterious journey, not unlike something you’d expect out of The Astral Sleep. If that wasn’t enough already, the biggest surprise occurs at 4:30, where that Fates Warning-esque riff appears and feels like a vague reminder of Perfect Symmetry. Clearly, this sounds like a bizarre description, but it’s a fair reminder of how experimental extreme metal had become in the early-to-mid 90’s. “Why Me” recalls a young Johan Edlund jamming with Steve Harris and from the Maiden-esque bass lines to the heavy/power metal-esque verses to the emotional climax halfway through, it’s yet another example of Mordor’s bizarre, if effective songwriting mania working surprisingly well.
For a while Prayer To… sounds efficient at what it does, but its flaws later clearly become notable and range from questionable songwriting ideas and some unfortunate amount of awful clean vocals. The former gets represented by tracks such as “Ice Bound” and “Nothing Makes Any Sense”. “Ice Bound” exchanges the enchanting doom/death atmosphere of the earlier tracks with a laid back vibe that’s reminiscent of… wait for it – The Doors! It only makes me wonder if Mordor were too ambitious for their own good or had weren’t exactly sure about their musical identity at this point, but I digress. “Nothing Makes Any Sense” kicks off with what seems to be a tribute to Black Sabbath’s iconic self-titled track, only to turn a little less haunting by the time that main motif of an additive lead takes over. While it’s a bit of an overlong track, it’s by no means terrible, as the second half of the track conjures more dream-like visions that recalls pre-Wildhoney Tiamat or Vale-era Mental Home (if they were a more interesting band, that is), even if it’s not exactly one of my favorite track on Prayer To…
Vocally rough throated Pawel Zielinski barks his way through Prayer Too… and sounds like a less raspier Aaron Stainthorpe, sometimes interchanging vocals with the seductive female chants of Anja Orthodox (surely that can’t be her real name, right?). While the two make a decent duo in terms of beauty and the beast vocals, Pawel Zielinski occasionally exchanges his gruff barks for some nasal clean vocals and simply put… they’re pretty horrible. It’s as if this guy thought that Septic Flesh’s Sotiris didn’t sound nasal enough and while these cleaner vocals are fortunately limited, they’re terrible enough to turn “Wind-Storm-Song” and “Two Real Stories” into disasters. While these tunes damage the pacing of Prayer To… quite a bit, the album fortunately features more pros than cons at least.
While not a lost classic by any means, Prayer To… should be a decent addition to your doom/death metal collection and as with most early doom/death metal albums, it’s pretty unique and overall good for what it is.
Release date: 1993
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