Even before you reach the music here with Thomas Eriksen’s Mork one man project, you kind of get big galloping clues as to what you’ll get. From the logo to artwork and even the damned label you are walloped in the face with a whole chunk of old school, Darkthrone style black metal. And from the opening song, ‘Hedingens Spisser Broder’ that’s what we get. Kind of. I mean I’m not going to tell you Mork have got a whole new take on the wheel here; from the opening, sharp riff and belligerent shout this is bitterly cold, raw black metal from the True Norwegian template. It rages out those almost punk tinged speeding black metal riffs, then drops down into a bleak and grim slow trudge with no real fancy moves. It bites and class and snarls.
However by the time you reach the title track and its crackling, ancient keyboard intro which morphs into the riff you will have noticed a couple of things that set it apart and above the herd. Firstly there are the vocals. The range of expression here is excellent, with barks, shouts, screams and howls like a blizzard bringing real character to the songs. Then there is the variation to the riffing here. It is not just the tempo from menacing crawl to full eye of the storm maelstrom, but even the tone has shifts, going from razor edge buzzes to a meatier pummelling. Plus we have careful brush strokes of melody coming in on tracks like ‘Likfolget’ that crank up the atmosphere superbly.
The production is pretty spot on too. Not intrusive, just simple, basic and clear with a real good tone to the bass and thankfully no lo-fi biscuit-tin-at-the-end-of-a-corridor sound to the drums either.
As the album goes on we also get a little use of simple keyboards and a little more variation to the sound whilst still keeping the traditional feel. ‘Et Rike I Nord’ being a fine example, but ‘Morkets Alter’ with its haunting midsection and the simply superb closing track ‘Gravol’ drawing down the melancholy really frame the album perfectly.
Like the recently reviewed Vassafor, Mork prove that for musicians with imagination and feeling there is still a huge lake of potential in the old and primitive sounds of black metal. If your spirit knows how these waters flow you can create such glorious sounds as Mork have here. Just very fine black metal.
Oh yeah and they even have a live line up too.