Review Summary: black ambient funeral doom so grim you’ll puke of how grim it was
A droning doom album released in 1991, Mordor’s Odes
can be considered the precursor to the entire funeral doom genre. Formed from the disbanded core of a black metal band, the album relies on a thick and sinister atmosphere to create rather ominous and disturbing soundscapes. As a drone album, Odes
is successful in that the mood seems somewhat genuine, if a little laughable at times; what pushes the record ahead is not only its novelty of being ridiculously grim and kvlt, but also because it is almost twenty years old, undoubtedly having an effect on the various ambient, drone and funeral doom genres that are similarly executed.
The band’s black metal origins are apparent on Odes
, both in the aesthetics of its atmosphere and in its vocals. The vocal performance can be likened to the particular style used in the USBM scene today, not all together toad-like, but rather throaty and menacing. In order to add the ambience, the vocals often are prolonged and sonically twisted, melding into the background. The album opens with ‘Dark Throne of Blasphemous Evil’, a track characterized by its use of feedback and portentous tones to create something seemingly perverse. Next track ‘The Great Kat is God’ opens with a fuzzy rendition of Greensleeves, before falling into a droning and rhythmic bass line. Considerably shorter than the opener, ‘The Great Kat is God’ showcases some very unpredictable and eerie guitar lines that play over the aforementioned bass. Where ‘Dark Throne of Blasphemous Evil’ was more of an ambient track, taking long moments of reflection in between its various sections, ‘The Great Kat is God’ is more focused as a song, its steady beat driving it along. Third track ‘Lamentations for Corinne’ tops off the previous two tracks, combining the ambient and mechanical aspects of the opener with the plodding nature of the second song; the use of keyboards in the second half came as a pleasant surprise, and worked very well in elaborating on the song’s cold and bleak mood.
It’s definitely not an album for everybody, but Odes
marks a turning point in metal, one where the typical standards were being cast away and different structures and styles were being incorporated into the genre. Mordor are unfortunately very obscure, perhaps as a result of them never releasing anything more than two demos and an EP, but you can be sure that everybody will think you’re elite for listening to it.