Mork encapsulate the sound of True Norwegian Black Metal from the opening strains of “Mørkeleggelse” to the closing punches of “Det Svarte Juv” and this one-person band from the homeland of cold, harsh black metal is paying homage with their music yet dragging it screaming into the modern era of blackened music. The raw elements are swirling chaos, raw vocals, climbing guitars and desolate darkness and for Mork the abyss beyond the soul is one that needs to be explored and conquered, rather than drowned within.
Mork’s founder and sole recording member, Thomas Eriksen, has seen the darkness and with Det Svarte Juv he is trying to find his way out of that cavernous hole by seeking the light and harnessing his anger. “Da himmelen falt” is a raucous ode to falling while “På tvers av tidene” showcases a distinctly different side to the band with baritone clean vocals bringing a bittersweet melody to the song and a sense of foreboding to the fore. It’s a stunning break from the forceful nature of the black metal on offer here and it sits proudly forward, giving us a narrative despite the lyrics being in Norwegian and so trickier to decipher if it is not a language you understand. Your understanding comes from tone and speed, the cadence of the words spat out in most songs and the rough textures of the drums hammering the pace forwards.
“I flammens favn” plays with those clean textures again and the clash between the deep voice and the extremely present drums is one that elevates the song beyond the classic and quintessential style of following track “Skarpretterens øks” which is as early 90s second wave as you can get without actually being a band from that era. There are definitely nods to Darkthrone here but it’s not tackily done by any means, Mork is clearly in debt to those forefathers and so Det Svarte Juv can revel in those olden days while also bringing something new to the table.
The exceptionally beautiful “Siste reis” swirls with emotion; the guitars build layers of sorrowful sound around a cycling beat while Eriksen’s voice pulls from the depths of darkness to recount the final steps towards the unknown. Det Svarte Juv is a personal journey and one that Eriksen seems to have come through, more or less, intact. Music can be cathartic for listeners but it is also the case for its creators.
8.5 / 10
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