Mines of Moria
Khazad​-​dûm EP
  • Man… now that is an album cover.

In the annals of heavy metal/extreme music, the writings of JRR Tolkien have long resided in largely black metal  (Summoning), power metal (Blind Guardian), ‘garb-core’ (Battlelore) and even death metal (Khazaddum). But what the world was clearly lacking was some Tolkien-based, technical, blackened deathcore.

Well, here comes Washington state-based project Mines of Moria, whom I discovered whilst going down a rabbit hole of symphonic deathcore on Spotify, and just released their debut EP on promising, newish UK label Reality Fade and as a huge Tolkien nerd, I just had to check them out.

It’s a short 5 song, 18-minute affair, and the band clearly has a deep love and understanding of the source material with some impressive lyrics that certainly rival some of their more known peers mentioned above (“Mirrormere, shimmering, lake of pearls, hidden from the sun, Anar, brought by moon, Isil, show the way into Dwarrowdelf, Hadhodrond in Sindarin tongue, before the present name granted, Moria, the mines become wombs to the gargantuous tombs with never-ending halls, now glorified in mist“). Unfortunately, the music isn’t quite there, yet, but has some promise.

This is very clinical and surgically impressive, technical deathcore with some orchestration here and there (not nearly as much as I’d like, or what the subject matter calls for…).  But it’s just a bit too sterile for my liking and that’s largely due to the very clicky programmed drums. These kinds of epic themes deserve something a little more hefty, organic and majestic. But its by no means bad, as they however occasionally look on to something that really gets my attention, like immediate and epically spazzy, shreddy opener “Khazad-dûm”, the throttling opening salvo of “S.H.E.L.O.B”  (Silent.Her.Embrace.Latching.On.Breathless),  which have cool little bursts of orchestral chaos, which fit the concepts perfectly.

But also, while I generally understand ( and embrace) that you can sing about whatever you want in whatever genre you want (go ahead you do your brutal symphonic, polka, tech, slam about various homemade jams and jellies, I don’t care). But here, these two elements don’t quite gel, especially in the more pure, non-orchestral tech-death bluster (“Witch King”, or the cover art’s namesake, “Durin’s Bane”). I feel things like Ents paired with pig squeals and breakdowns don’t truly ‘fit’ (“March of the Ents”).

Still, certainly a unique band and a mix of things I like,  so I’ll be on the watch for them if they can deliver music that’s as impressive as the artwork and themes. And on a side note, I really like what Reality Fade is doing – they got on my radar last year when they released Gravewalker’s  As The Earth Grew Dark and Exorcised Gods, Banished From Inferno, and have a solid, growing stable of deathcore, slam, and death metal that has potential heavy hitter in the scene as a European version of Comatose Records or Unique Leader if they continue to grow.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 18th, 2022

Comments

  1. Commented by: Jack

    Oh yeah, man, those drums are utterly killing my enjoyment of what is a decent mix of stuff I like. Far, far too clicky for the level of epic they should be shooting for.


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