Presented today is a grave monument of a demo. Dubbed Eternal Solitude, this two-part epic in 37 minutes represents San Diego-based quartet Mordom’s debut recording. Played out in seven movements, like the breaking of the Seven Seals, Eternal Solitude boasts an original and soul-stirring sound, quite unlike anything we’ve heard before. Combining the leaden misery of funeral doom, the hideous unconventional songwriting of death metal and the monomaniacal disgust of black metal, Mordom prove themselves to be preternaturally gifted at transmuting their darkest moods into monstrous moments of crushing sonic majesty.
Get to know this young and incredibly promising quartet with one of the most sincere and honest interviews we’ve encountered in all our years of featuring new bands. Presented in its original Q&A format, here’s what Mordom, e.g. Max (guitar, vocals), Kian (drums), Dane (rhythm guitar) and Dan (bass), have to say about this massive piece of misery and desolation they’ve unleashed upon the world.
First of all, what brought the four of you together to make such desolate music? Have any of you played together before?
Max: This is our first time playing together as a group. Kian was actually supposed to be our bassist, but when our original drummer left the group, Kian instantly hopped on drums to fill that gap. We tried another bassist out but he didn’t last long in the group due to the high stress environment (we were supposed to record in only a few weeks before our original drummer left, which amplified the stress of the practicing process). I knew Dan from a circle of friends and gave him a call two weeks before we were set to record—I told him I needed an “emergency bassist” (HAHA) and during our practice sessions it became clear he was a great fit for the band. Our writing chemistry and our desire to “duel” with each other resulted in competing but complimentary bass and guitar parts. We tried recording the demo then (in August) but the session went poorly and we weren’t satisfied, which resulted in our at-the-time session rhythm guitarist leaving the group. As a last minute effort I called up my friend Dane from school and asked if he could play rhythm for our demo and thankfully, it all worked out and we shot our final recording in late September.
Kian: I had seen some videos of Mordom before I had joined and had contact with them through the internet. When they reached out to me saying they needed a bassist I immediately said yes because I was super fascinated with their sound. I’m a drummer first and wasn’t super confident in my bass skills but I was able to get by. After some lineup changes I hopped on drums and I think that’s when the sound really came together. Even though I hadn’t played with Max for a very long we were able to lock in the guitar and drum parts. Not to mention Dan and I had really good rhythm section chemistry. I think interaction with bass and drums is super important in any style of music.
Dan: A phone call and the promise of food was what brought me over, but the way the music flowed between all of us so freely was what made me stay.
Dane: Max and I were friends from school and he knew I played guitar but we’d never really jammed much together. One day he called me up and said Mordom was re-recording their demo and he needed a new session guitarist, so I came in and learned the rhythm parts. I’d played plenty of metal before but not much death and never any death-doom, so needless to say the demo was fairly out of my comfort zone. That being said I loved Mordom’s sound just from hearing the first recording, and of course the riffs were fun as hell to play, so it was a no-brainer when it came to deciding to help out with the demo.
How did you come up with the name Mordom? What’s it mean, and what made you want to change your old name?
Max: Mordom was actually our “original” name. We (the original members of the band) came up with Mordom in mid-2018 as a play on “Post Mortem”. When our original drummer left (in what was an extremely rough split), I wanted to cut all connection to his involvement in the band and I changed the name to Mortis Memoriam, essentially meaning a memory of what Mordom was supposed to be. After a little while though, I realized that the name Mordom invoked a far greater emotional response in me, being the band I had curated and devoted so much time to, and I felt like using any other name wouldn’t be true to myself or the music. Our original drummer and I have made up over the split since then and we are on good terms again, so it’s not as if there’s any conflict of interest over the name between me & him, thankfully.
About how long was Mordom writing this demo? What was your practice situation like? Did the pandemic affect it at all?
Max: We originally formed Mordom in late 2017/early2018, it was a pretty on&off thing until maybe summer of 2018 when I started writing a few riffs and stuff of the sort for the group. My going off to college on the east coast that fall forced us into a sort of hiatus before we really had anything though, but I eventually started writing the first few songs on my own. During the jam sessions that ensued the following summer we started taking the music more seriously and came up with the ideas for the songs that eventually became Eternal Solitude; I spent the following year at school working on the music slowly but surely, constantly improving & rewriting the existing parts and adding new parts on top of them. … The pandemic was honestly what made the entire thing possible. I was sent home halfway through the second semester and did my summer work virtually, so we were able to find a practice space and actually start grinding away at the demo. Practices were brutal and we would be there nearly 20 hours a week at times this past summer, practicing until 2AM some nights, made worse by the fact that (due to Dovid) we couldn’t bring guests into our practice space to help loosen up the vibe. Our original drummer’s departure made things even worse since it threw the band into a highly stressful period where the amount of work seemed insurmountable; finding a new bassist and teaching them a 30+ minute song is a lot to ask with only a month left ‘til our recording date. We were drained & during those weeks, there were practices where we’d all show up and be literal zombies in that room…it was insanely depressing. After that recording session, we took a break for a few weeks before reconvening to get the demo right; the fact [that] we’d practiced so much before made the music essentially muscle memory and with renewed spirits, we were able to pour more emotion into the music due to the memories it evoked in us.
What was the writing process for Eternal Solitude like?
Max: The beginning of the writing process was almost always jamming. We’d jam an idea and if it worked, it worked, if not, we canned it. There were a few parts that I explicitly wrote outside practice and had the band play exactly as I had written, but most of the music really came from the grooves we developed the more we played it. I arranged most of the music when I was away at school, though. Leaving a place as nice and sunny as San Diego and going to the middle of nowhere in the northeast did not make me a happy person and fueled a lot of the writing process. Winter helped a lot. In the rehearsal stage, parts changed up until the day we recorded basically; I’d call for a tempo change or a few different notes here and there and Kian’s drumming & Dan’s groove evolved as we got a better idea of how we were going to attack the music going into the recording.
Kian: Max mostly wrote all the guitar parts but writing my drum parts was a lot of fun. I took the drum parts we had after the old drummer left, but added my own touch. I had fun because there were a whole lot of slow parts, but also a fair share of crazy drum fills and fast blast beats!
Dan: By the time I had joined the whole piece was already arranged as Max and Kian had been working on it but what really seemed to be missing was a solid BASS sound. I told Max that if I was gonna help him play this piece, I had to be able to play the bass as I saw fit which for me meant a lot more energy, groove and power into the bass lines. Rather than just following the rhythm guitar, I was able to interact with the band as a whole and that only flourished as we all interacted back with each other.
What immediately struck me about your demo was the discrepancy between its appointed genre and what it actually sounds like. This is a black metal release. Well, it’s a truly old school death-doom release then, i.e. from like ‘93 when bands like Ceremonium and Evoken were carving out a special kind of moody, funeral bell tolling-paced dismal doom of death. Were you attempting to resurrect an old sound?
Max: I just wanted to make something extremely sad and bleak. I wasn’t necessarily trying to make something old school or obscure as much as I just wanted to make the saddest piece of music I knew how to make and I guess to do that, I ended up going down that route. Perhaps it sounds like an old school release where genres were being blended to create a desolate piece of doom since that’s really what it was—I (clearly) love death/doom as a genre but most of this piece was really taking stuff I’d written before I even got into that and just making it slower and experimenting with it until it captured the dreary atmosphere I sought as much as possible. Going through such a rough split with our original drummer amplified all the emotions put into it too, the fact it made us all as depressed and dead as it did definitely helped us channel our feelings through the song. Every feeling of pain felt like it lasted forever and we just tried expressing that through what we had as much as we could.
Dan: The obscure sound did not necessarily come from us trying to “resurrect” anything in particular I guess. I want to say what brought the sound to be how it is, was the energy we all had dedicated into not only playing the music, but how we all played in our own individual styles to blend different elements together.
Who are some of the bands that inspired this release?
Max: There’s a lot of bands I took inspiration from, especially since I didn’t want a 30+ minute song to have too many repetitive parts, so, it’s hard to name just a few. I listened to a lot of Spectral Voice, Mortiferum, and Krypts among newer bands and Obituary, Death, Entombed, and old At The Gates as far as older bands go throughout the process, but I can’t necessarily say they “inspired” the writing as much as they were the bands I was listening to at the time. I just wanted to write what sounded best to my ears. That being said, I use an HM2 on my guitar so that should give you a hint as to what country has inspired me the most as far as learning how to structure melodies and construct riffs, haha.
Dan: I wanted to be able to play with the aggression of Dystopia and the groove of Eyehategod. That being said, Primitive Man really helped me understand how to blend my style into this piece.
What about the name of your demo, Eternal Solitude. How does that encapsulate the themes and sounds of this demo, in your opinion?
Max: I went to small schools my whole life where there was never a metalhead circle (or frankly another metalhead around), so I always felt like an outsider/the weird kid for being as into extreme metal as I was. When I finally found a group of metalheads that wanted to make music…it was amazing…I finally found MY GROUP. But I left it behind when I went to college & I felt lost, which only amplified the feelings of before, now having felt what it was like to finally have that group. Sure there was a rocker here & there but nobody into the same stuff (even ballpark) I was. In that way, Eternal Solitude really is just my way of expressing what it’s felt like to be THAT metalhead…you know, the only person who’s into that “weird screamo garbage” that nobody seems to understand yet makes up a huge part of who I am.
That being said, the rehearsal process where everyone involved was leaving and those who weren’t were starting to hate me made me feel very alone and depressed in its own right and is the direct inspiration for the title and lyrics. Our original drummer had been my best friend for nearly three years and his departure from the group on bad terms completely ruined our friendship. As I’ve said before, the stress that created was insane and I think the name Eternal Solitude captures the feelings of those months where it felt like I was being dragged through hell and back just to be able to make this demo happen.
Fucking love the IVth part It’s just a slow build up into a hugely beastly scream cast over a desolate doomscape. What song or moment on this demo is your favorite?
Max: It’s hard to say but playing the breakdown in the middle of part I, I feel like a total badass, so that’s gotta be it for me.
Kian: Oddly enough, my two favorite parts are the outros of both songs, which are parts that have zero drums hahaha. I really liked them because hearing the delay on the guitars in such a dark riff is so terrifying. Plus we would always play with the lights off which helps the atmosphere hahah.
Dan: For sure part VI, this part is where I feel the most groove coming from everyone, If there’s something I enjoy it’s just being able to “lay it down” right on motherfuckers, hit them hard and slimy.
Dane: For me it’s a tossup between parts V and VI. From a player’s perspective, I could play part V for the whole 37 minutes and not get bored, but from a listener’s perspective, the energy and anger in part VI is just unmatched.
Tell us about the recording process for Eternal Solitude? What measures did you take to ensure it sounded as dungeon-based and abyssal as possible? I can imagine Ethan Camp had no small hand in this process.
Max: Before I say anything, I want to give Ethan an enormous shoutout and express my gratitude for everything he did for us to help us make this demo happen, from helping us secure a practice space, believing in us through the period of uncertainty from our old drummer’s departure and our lineup changes and pushing us to make the demo as good as possible. The first time we tried recording the demo, we actually lost a channel on the Tascam tape recorder and had to mix the drums and bass into one channel with a single mic. As you could imagine, it didn’t go so well and the bass guitar was hardly audible. It was good in the end though since frankly, our performance was off that day but Ethan was able to get a good scope for what the music was and what we were going for sonically, so when we went in to rerecord, he really knew the sound and the atmosphere we were shooting for. Recording the demo live in a tiny practice room we all loathed (we shared it with some not-so-great people) helped to capture the atmosphere we wanted—reverb was leaking all over the place which in theory I guess doesn’t usually sound good but [for] us, it was perfect. It also helped capture how pissed we all were to be in there—again—after all thinking we were done with it for good. Honestly, too clean of a capture would have killed the vibe.
Kian: The recording process was really cool looking back on it. I’ve recorded some things before but it was clear Ethan was on a whole new level versus some other people I had worked with. We recorded it on a 4-track tape machine but Ethan had like 5 mics on my drums being mixed down into a mono channel. He also took on some producer-like roles and gave us tips that I think went a long way in making the music sound so complete. Another funny thing I can remember is the room we recorded in made the sound bounce all over the place. The drum heads would ring very boisterously, so when the drums weren’t being played in some parts I pushed my forehead down on the snare, my left arm across my two rack toms, and my right arm on my floor tom in an attempt to try to mute all the vibrations! As much as I can look back and laugh at the recording session, we all were actually in a very depressive state. Some things had happened in our personal lives and with the band, but we were able to put all of it (and leave all of it) in our recording takes.
Dan: Recording was a really emotionally heavy process for us. There was nothing but desperation and pent up energy in us just waiting to really be let loose, just itching to bite someone in the ass. Ethan was more than skilled enough to capture that energy, he found the best way to encapsulate what exactly it was we were trying to do with his skills and helped us flesh out the sound.
Dane: As fun as it was, the recording process was definitely stressful, especially coming in as the new session guy whose job is pretty much to not hit a wrong note for 37 minutes. Luckily, that stress, as well as the energy between the four of us and the atmosphere in the room, allowed me to inject as much feeling into my playing as I could. I learned a lot during the process as well, and of course Ethan was an absolute professional.
This is not an ordinary demo. It’s more like a damn album. What can we expect as far as physicals?
Max: We basically consider it to be a full length demo. We originally expected to release our own home-dubbed tapes just to get a few out there and were hoping a label would hear it at some point once it was out, but Transylvanian Tapes reached out literally as soon as we released a preview, asked to hear the demo, and offered to take over the release for us from that point on! I had already ordered the tapes though and figured doing the home dubs would still be a great & really fun experience, so we had Ethan make us a master tape with the levels cranked on the original mix, and used that to dub our own. I printed the jcards at home after making the layout in google drawings (HAHA) & cut + folded each one individually, which took a while but it was so worth it to see a box full of 50 Mordom tapes. Each tape is hand numbered and labelled. TT got our demo mastered so their tapes are going to sound a lot better than our tapes, which are extremely raw and nasty sounding (both of which I think are cool). They also made us an awesome layout for the jcards, seeing it look like an actual tape release and not just like something I did at home is really awesome.
What has Mordom been up to since recording this demo? What can we expect from you next?
Max: We’ve been talking about a true studio debut and have been writing stuff slowly but surely. We’re also looking at some potential splits with the other upcoming SD death metal groups (Putrid Tomb, Cessation, etc). In either case, we fully expect to show that Eternal Solitude really is just a demo. We all know we can step our game up.
Kian: Whatever comes next, whether it be a split with other local bands we are involved in or a full length, I think we are all definitely ready to keep stepping it up. I’ve learned a lot about how to play with this group and how to really lock in with everybody else.
Thanks for the awesome interview, Mordom!
Max: Want to give my thanks to everyone who’s helped this demo happen, especially Ethan Camp, Transylvanian Tapes, and to Decibel Magazine for giving us this awesome opportunity!
Kian: Same goes for me, as well as Nate Gonzalez for helping write and inspire the drum performance on the demo!
Dan: I cannot wait until we can finally play with others so we can spread more music. The more shows we can throw, the more people are exposed to music that may change their lives, I know for sure this music changed me.
Dane: I just want to thank Max, Kian, and Dan for giving me the opportunity to come in and make such awesome, miserable music with them. I’m really proud of what we created, and can’t wait to see what Mordom has in store for the future.