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Mork - Katedralen Award winner

Mork
Katedralen
by Chris Hawkins at 26 April 2021, 10:13 AM

MORK is the name of the musical project of one Thomas Eriksen.  Taking shape in 2004, he has since released four previous full-lengths and a slew of EPs.  The new album, “Katedralen,” was released last month via Peaceville Records and is absolutely stunning to say the least.

Dødsmarsjen,” the opening track, is immediately violent, visceral, and raucous beginning the album with a furious display of riff acrobatics.  Sure, this is True Norwegian Black Metal, but there is a very forward-leaning aspect to it.  The riffs themselves are not only inventive but intersect un unique ways melodically.  An absolutely sick breakdown sneaks in about halfway through as well making for an ultimately engaging track.  As a listener, I was transfixed.  “Svartmalt” follows with a groove-heavy foundation.  Rhythm is such a vital element to MORK’s sound from the drums to the massive bass lines weaving underneath.  There is a distinct celebratory vibe, a Black Metal reveling in the debauchery of it all yet there is true ingenuity tying everything together with incredibly intriguing songwriting.

For me, this is the album to point to for all of those people who try to write off Norwegian Black Metal as an exhausted well.  No, it is a blueprint that can successfully be expanded upon into new worlds of possibility.  Some of the most exciting albums of the genre were those of the late second wave that were unafraid to take a leap in exploration.  ARCTURUS would be a definite point of reference.

All of this talk of brave new worlds and such should not negate how deeply rooted in the essentials MORK is.  One can hear some echoes of the past indeed but what sets the music apart is the unique character of the musician.  It has a deeply personal quality evident sonically from the rapacious transitions to deathly shrieks to a novel approach to both textures and noise.

Det Siste Gode I Meg” is based around a riff that sounds like it could have been born from old ENTOMBED and CELTIC FROST.  The clean vocals make another appearance in this song, a melodic dimension that adds to the spell.  The later half of the track reflects an understanding of when to let the chord ring out, yet things soon regain a more aggressive pace.  Yet again, the rhythm is very determined, not in a lopped BURZUM way, but in maintaining a steady, mid-pace, heavy on double-bass and a sharp, staccato snare attack.  The following track, “Født Til Å Herske,” is a maniacal headbanging scorcher with one of those riffs to impress even the most anti-Black Metal fans.  The way the guitar tracks are staked on each other just enhances the sheer insanity of the vibe.

There have been some seriously killer albums released as of late, but this is certainly something extra special.  It is just one of those albums where it is blatantly obvious the level of dedication and heart put into the writing and recording of the music.  The production nails it with an exceptional guitar tone that is both modern and Black Metal apropos.  An excellent pair of headphones or speakers definitely enhance the experience especially in the nuances, the way the bass and guitar are played against each other.  To his credit Thomas Eriksen plays bass like a bassist and guitar as such as well.  I truly could not recommend this more, and it will definitely be on my best-of list at the end of the year.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Dødsmarsjen
2. Svartmalt
3. Arv
4. Evig Intens Smerte
5. Det Siste Gode I Meg
6. Født til Å Herske
7. Lysbæreren
8. De Fortapte Sjelers Katedral
Lineup:
Thomas Eriksen - Everything
Record Label: Peaceville Records
     


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