As of late, the Swedish black metal scene has seemed to dry up. All its main attractions (Bathory, Dissection and Shining, to name a few) have since passed and it’s as if for every good black metal band to come out of Sweden, we get four bad ones (see Watain ->Satariel). In a black metal documentary I watched recently, the Norwegian and Finnish bands make fun of the Swedish scene; Impaled Nazarene and Gorgoroth were talking together about how they plan to build a bridge above Sweden to connect the other two countries so they can “laugh and *** on them all”. Mörker is one of the bands inbetween, where they have the potential to go down the path of clichés or the path of righteousness, but haven’t yet decided.
Being only the second release on an obscure record label, the band is still in their infantile stage, where they make the classic mistakes of writing songs that sound similar, especially around the second half of the album. Their sound is comparable to that of older …And Oceans and newer Dawn, with more piano, but just as many catchy riffs. For black metal, the production actually isn’t that bad, but the guitars are still 1000% on overdrive and the vocals use a lot of reverb, so I guess the producer was going for a clean necro sound? You can hear the bass, and the album isn’t riddled with blast beats…and now I’m starting to wonder what the hell is going on here.
If you listen close enough, there are all sorts of different influences throughout the album. Dodsangest sounds like Bathory in the Twilight of the Gods era, and Djupa Spar Av Tvivel sounds like mid-paced Finntroll, for instance. Naturally you have your usual second wave of black metal influence, but it’s put to non-monotonous good use. Segertag is a solid track with tremolo guitars almost the whole song, and the song structure is very Norwegian, if I can say that. As the song progresses the drums do a great job at keeping your interest by being pretty consistent in switching up the rhythm. However, Mitt Arv completely owns this record like Charizard, possibly one of the best black metal tracks of the year. It starts off a bit typical with the blast beats and “epic” riffing, but completely breaks down into this infectious 6/8 groove with dissonant lead parts. It eventually goes back to the fast intro, but goes back to a new 6/8 rhythm with a bunch of arpeggios; at this point it’s as if some death metal influences are seeping into the entire song.
The reason vocals aren’t being mentioned is because this record is very musical and the vocals are the typical black rasp, they don’t take away from anything but don’t add much either. A surprise I found is that there are instrumentals, four in fact (that’s four more than on any black metal record I know of!). The first one is merely a short acoustic interlude. It only serves as a bridge to the next track, so it’s nothing special. However, Undergangen plays its simplistic card and succeeds. It flows as elegantly as old Ulver, so that should say something. And then you have Falk, which is just purely the band’s own sound, and it’s glorious, the next best track under Mitt Arv.
Sure the band did a lot of things right this time around, but they also hurt the record with some very average tracks, as well as out of place tracks, out of place as in the order of the songs. If they cut the first and last track off the album, it would sound so much better and less tedious. There are a few generic tracks within the record too, but are masked by the enjoyable ones surrounding them, but this still hurts the overall rating. If you’re not a huge black metal fan, but still kinda dig it, the cleaner production and outside influences could lure you in, plus the band wrote instrumentals, which more bands need to do to keep things interesting and kill the singer’s ego (cough cough InFlames cough). All in all, a worthwhile release, and a welcome addition to the Swedish metal family.