Created in 2004 by multi-instrumentalist Thomas Eriksen, Norwegian act Mork was intended primarily to be a solo project but has now matured into a fully-fledged live band, although Eriksen still maintains full control of everything in the studio.
Following on from 2017’s Eremittens Dal (Peaceville) new album Det Svarte Juv(both Peaceville) continues with the same classic sounding, cold and raw Norwegian Black Metal, adding some colour and texture along the way. Tremolo picking and blast-beats become enmeshed in doomy melancholia, while many of the riffs take on an almost mantra-like quality, ingraining themselves quickly into your consciousness, aided by the slithery croak of Eriksen’s vocals.
Shifting in tempo and mood, virtually every song evolves and progresses organically. The atmospheric keys of ‘Mørkeleggelse’ are soon brushed to one side by frantic riffing, before changing again when the song heads into Black’n’Roll Satyriconterritory. The angry opening bludgeon of ‘Den Utstøtte’ is soon replaced by something more melodic before driving towards its climax with a crushingly heavy, groove-laden riff, and the absorbing ‘Siste Reis’ suddenly bursts into life, taking on a different energy halfway through.
‘Skarpretterens Øks’ contains deep shades of Celtic Frostand Satyricon, and the briefest hints of Iron Maiden can be heard among the furnace of ‘I Flammens Favn’. Vocal tones not too far removed from Rammstein‘s Till Lindemannfeature in ‘På Tvers Av Tidene’, and Eriksen’s bass work is among his best to date here, most notably on ‘Den Kalde Blodsvei’ and ‘Da Himmelen Falt’. The atmosphere remains appropriately cold and grim for ‘Karantene’ and especially the title track which closes out the record in style.
Boasting a clear but minimalist production, Det Svarte Juv manages to sound like it could easily have been recorded in the early nineties. A classic sounding record that effortlessly manages to sound fresh and relevant.
7 / 10