Mork - Katedralen
Genre: Black Metal
Release Date: 5th March 2021
Record Label(s): Peaceville Records
Thomas Eriksen - Everything
Mork - Arv
Rating (out of 5🤘): 🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘
Favourite Track(s): Arv, Evig Intens Smerte, Det Siste Gode I Meg, Svartmalt, Lysbæreren, Dødsmarsjen
Since the pandemic hit, depriving all touring bands of the opportunity to perform live, Thomas started the The Thomas Eriksen Podcast where he sits down and has informal discussions with his peers in the scene, most notable Nocturno Culto (Darkthrone), Gaahl (Gaahl's Wyrd), Fenriz (Darkthrone/Isengard), and Nag (Tsjunder) to name a few. He also been busy igniting and keeping the dark and grim flame of old school black metal alive with Mork. The project was started in 2004 as Thomas Eriksen's side project. Since then, Mork have been on a steady but substantial rise to the upper echelons of the Scandinavian black metal scene. With a unique and eerily melodic take on the old school black metal sound, the band have released a series of energetic and entertaining releases over the last eight years. However, they never stray too far from the traditional Norwegian black metal roots and present us with grimy, gloomy and raw music that stirs the eternal blackness within the soul. Katedralen is the incredible fifth studio album that follows on from the equally grim Pesta EP that was released in November 2020.
Katedralen (translates as Cathedral) is drenched in a plethora of grim and desolate emotions that are the culmination of a journey spanning several years, making it stand out as Mork's most accomplished and complex release to date. With guest features from fellow countrymen Nocturno Culto and Dolk (Kampfar) alongside Finland's finest funeral doom keyboardist Eero Pöyry (Skepticism), the album draws on their weighty influences to create something distinctive, richly textured, and beautifully harsh all encapsulated within a grim grandiosity. Before truly becoming aware of the album's concept, you get this very vivid imagery of a bleak and dead land with empty buildings and no signs of the living. The album's concept of course is an interesting one, as Eriksen describes; "I always had a vision of a vast desolate cold and dead land and a gigantic cathedral where lost souls are kept for all eternity.". Accompanied by album artwork created by French artist David Thiérrée, the whole album could fast become a certified black metal magnum opus as you are fully absorbed in this grim and dark vision that Eriksen has created. The diabolically cold riffs fuse progressive grooves with the hulking weight of doom. Which makes the music feel like a significant experimental expansion on what the band were starting to establish on 2019's Det Svarte Juv to some extent the two songs on the Pesta EP. What stands out is the use of the organ, Dødsmarsjen opens the album with an ominous call to barren worship before launching into a violent thrashing. The end of De Fortapte Sjelers Katedral closes the album with a sombre and sorrowful, solo organ outro. Accompanied by the tense atmospheres enveloping the listener via almost monastic style chants and vocal passages as demonstrated on Arv, the album has a very sombre ritualistic feel. This considerable attention to subtle details gives the album this incredible conceptual cohesiveness, and perfectly bookends every song between the opening and closing seconds within the album's concept. The album demonstrates a deeper exploration of Eriksen's musical capabilities and his personally emotive journey in creating the album, especially with the funeral doom influence provided by Eero Pöyry. The contributions from Nocturno Culto and Dolk cannot be understated as they have also influenced the album considerably, as the brute force of Darkthrone is expertly coupled with the soaring atmospheric nature of Kampfar shines through in various sections of the album. In some areas the album feels quite progressive in it's structure and riff direction, this has slowly become a Mork staple but it at its peak on Katedralen. This makes the album have an enjoyable ebb and flow, effortlessly transitioning from brutal and blunt black metal to graceful doom sections that feast on sorrow. Overall, the album is an incredible listening experience, capturing the essence and raw emotions related to isolation, loss and sorrow. You can feel the presence of lost souls as you listen to it, which leaves a remarkable impact on you. Deeper concepts aside, it is a thoroughly entertaining, old school black metal record, with everything you want in abundance, Katedralen is a feast of black metal brilliance.
The albums production only serves to add emphasis to the well written music mentioned above. Channelling the original black metal rawness with a modern edge helps bring the full aggression of the album to the fore. The kick has an unusual fullness compared to some other modern black metal releases of recent times, but it is to be embraced as it hammers the songs into your skull. Alongside the heavy and thick bass, the rhythm section is tight but, oxymoronically, it makes the music sound more expansive. With this in mind, the guitars sound uniquely and distinctly expressive, with two very different tones swapping rhythm and leads, it creates a captivating listen as each gives something different to the song. the tones are gritty, fuzzy and full, everything you want in a metal album. Overall the mix retains a lot of the signature Mork grit whilst letting the more experimental and atmospheric sections to shine through, Eriksen has struck a perfect balance of thrashing metal and beautiful atmospherics within an old school black metal framework. With that in mind, the album still sounds it invigoratingly fresh and new.
Mork have created an epic and the most invigorating black metal album I've heard for a while. So if you fancy listening to some of the finest Norwegian black metal, you can buy Mork's new album Katedralen here.
Mork - Katedralen