If you haven’t heard of Mortichnia yet there is a good chance you don’t keep up with a lot or Irish metal, something that you really need to remedy. They play a style of black metal that can only be described as the Norwegian sound made angrier, fuller, and more vibrant. I got to sit down with LM, one of Mortichnia’s guitarist to tell me more about the band and their amazing new release “Heir to Scoria and Ash.”
Resounding Footsteps: Heir to Scoria and Ash” is one of the front runners for Resounding Footsteps’ “Album of the Year.” Tell me a little bit about how your guys conceptualized the album and how did it come about?
LM: Firstly, I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the record, I appreciate your enthusiasm. The record was a culmination of a few years of hard work and a determination to write the music we wanted to hear. It all started with the core concepts, imagery and riffs, the backbone of the record so to speak, and it spiraled out from there after many hours in the rehearsal space. So really the album came to fruition little bit by little bit of the course of a few years. I’m a perfectionist so I’ve a very slow and deliberate way of writing. Everything needs to be practiced extensively and gone over from multiple angles before it makes the final cut, we feel a lot of bands fall short in terms of quality control so it was important to us to fuss over every minute detail until we had a record we felt was as good as we could feasibly make it.
RF: Several of you guys were in the band Wound Upon Wound that had a lot of Gorgoroth influences and inspirations. Do you think that carried over into Mortichnia? What would you say are your main influences both lyrically and musically?
LM: I don’t think much of that influence carried over to Mortichnia if I’m honest, we’re all in very different headspaces than when we started out in WuW all those years ago and these days we tend to look inward for inspiration rather than outward. Lyrically, our main influences would be our surroundings, we’re all a product of our environment and actions within that environment. It’s this reflection on the consequences of our actions, what it is that shapes who we are and exploration of oneself that was the main drive, conceptually, behind the record. Musically, influence comes from all sorts of places. Everything from trying to capture and convey a particular mindset or feeling, to our favorite bands subconsciously influencing what we play, to something as deliberate as needing the listeners pulse to race at a particular moment to really drive home a point in the lyrics.
RF: Mortichnia means death march, what does that mean in reference to the band, or does it have any meaning whatsoever?
LM: It definitely has meaning to us. As I said earlier, we’re very deliberate in what we do, so something as important as our name was a discussion that ran for months. We wanted something that captured what we had already outlined on our first record conceptually while also leaving room for expansion in the future. To me, the music we write is a documentation of our own personal exploration and failings, the choices and influences that lead us toward our subsequent downfall. Taken with this context in mind, I feel the name is very fitting.
RF: Which of the songs were your favorite to record? Which ones are better to perform?
LM: Oddly enough, I didn’t enjoy recording any of them. The process of recording an album is time consuming and stressful so it’s probably one of the few aspects of being in a band that I don’t particularly enjoy. Sure it’s extremely satisfying to sit back when you’re finished and enjoy the fruit your hard work has borne, but I much rather the raw intensity of playing songs live as a group rather than the repetition and dissection that is required to record. They all feel great to perform, it’s very difficult to pick an individual track, but If I had to I’d say “Carrion Proclamation”. The chords in that song are just huge and the way the playing constantly retreats back to the same droning root note puts me in a trance every time I play it.
RF: Give me a little history as to how Mortichnia came to be.
LM: Well we’re all old friends and playing music together in some sort of a capacity is something we’ve always done, even as far back as when I was just beginning to play music. There was a point a few years back where my previous band dissolved, morale was low in the group and we just decided that if we we’re going to continue writing original pieces we had to give it 100%, write a record that means something deeply personal to us and holds its own amongst our peers and I feel we’ve accomplished what we set out to do.
RF: A lot of reports of the black metal scene in Ireland say it’s pretty bleak, what are your opinions on the scene, both at home and internationally?
LM: If Im honest I find there’s a lot for the Irish to be proud of, some of my all-time favorite acts are from here. Naturally with any local scene there’s a lot of stuff that falls short of the mark but there’s also some quality bands doing rounds at the moment. Stuff like Wreck of the Hesperus, Slidhr, From the Bogs of Aughiska, Malthusian, Mourning Beloveth, bands like Coscradh, Gourd, and Unyielding Love have all released quality demos this year, and that’s not even mentioning the impact bands like Altar of Plagues and Primordial have had at an international level. I find I’m content with the scene locally and abroad, things are more diverse within the metal scene than ever and bands these days are really pushing the boundaries of what it is to play metal. It’s a very exciting time to be involved within the metal scene.
RF: How do you guys approach the music writing? Do you set times to work on it or is it more laid back and spur of the moment?
LM: I’d describe our approach as very meticulous. The initial seed of an idea would be spur of the moment, either a tenuous melody that comes from seemingly nowhere or a concept that lingers inexplicably at the back of my mind for a period of time. After a bit of refining and deliberation, if I think it’s good enough of an idea I’ll approach the group and we’ll expand on it after we’ve let it digest a while. This process usually takes a few months per song, long enough for the idea to sit with us and really resonate and to undergo a few rewrites. Naturally, finalized structure comes a bit later when we’re nearing completion of a record and when the lyrics have a more solid form. The ebb and flow of the full duration of a record is of paramount importance, nobody will get engrossed in your music if you don’t allow the songs to breathe and flow correctly in the context of one another.
RF: What do you see in the future for Mortichnia? What are some things you would like to accomplish?
LM: First up we’re off to do a small number of UK shows next week with our friends in From the Bogs of Aughiska, which we’re all very excited about. After we’ve that out of the way we’re going to focus on completing the work on our follow up to “Heir to Scoria and Ash”. New songs are beginning to take form so Im excited to see where they’ll end up whenever the completed body of work coalesces.
I.D. – Vocals
L.M. – Guitars
J.H. – Bass
P.F. – Drums
D.G. – Guitars
Heir to Scoria and Ash is out now on Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings!