Morild’s Så kom mørket og tog mig på ordet En sort sky af minder I afgørende stunder Frosset fast i mit indre Jeg håber det forsvinder med lyset At dø eller blive fri (Indisciplinarian), a single passage broken up into six parts to mark the album’s different movements, and translating to “Thus came the darkness and took me by my word A dark cloud of memories In crucial moments Frozen inside of me I hope it disappears with the light To die or become free”) is a strange and surprisingly bold statement for a first album.
Beyond its staggeringly oblique title, the only other written statement released by the band regarding their work is an elaboration on their name – a Danish word denoting “the embellishing phenomenon of bioluminescent plankton”. It’s a move that seems to signal a reluctance to over-elaborate, and if nothing else focus attention instead on the album’s central premise. This appears to be a protracted meditation on the vast and alien realm of Earth’s seas – and the various Proterozoic life forms that inhabit it – articulated through heavy, rolling rhythmic sections shifting at turns to dense onslaughts of staccato drums, and interspersed with sections of ponderous, strange ambience.
It is interesting to note that this soundscape is achieved almost entirely without reliance on effects; and the first we hear – on the penultimate track – seem almost unnecessary. Instead, the production seems to emphasise the strange interrelationship between physicality of the sound and the images it evokes, juxtaposing sharper drum effects and snags of guitar strings against the more ambiguously atmospheric sounds.
Though the vision behind it seems pretty singular, the sound it comprises is eclectic.
While undoubtedly shaped by the recent wave of Black Metal of the Pacific Northwest – with notable cues from the likes of Deafheaven and Wolves In The Throne Room – the influences are varied. There are heavy echoes of King Crimson and even Van der Graaf Generator, that resonate particularly strongly through sequences like the great processional overture that opens the album. For many of the more ambient sections, though, perhaps the closest comparison is Echo and the Bunnymen’s 1984 album Ocean Rain – another work riffing on aquatic themes – whose scintillating, almost distant guitar sounds and heavy use of string sections find.
True to its oceanic theme, the composition exhibits an eerie degree of patience, and consciously plays with expectations, giving the album an unpredictable but very much coherent feeling whole. It’s ambiences never feel like they lack structure, allowing its heavier sequences space to maintain a constant sense of progression. And while this coherence perhaps doesn’t hold up for the whole album – the penultimate track seems comparatively directionless, and the finale somewhat abrupt – it is definitely a strong demonstration of Black Metal’s atmospheric potential.
8 / 10