One of the best black metal records of recent years.
Hiding behind distorted blue imagery is Denmark's black metal unit MORILD (translates to phosphorescence in English). This phosphorescent unit first formed in 2016 and has captivated the minds of those who have had the privilege to listen. A year later, MORILD released their debut EP VI (2017) and garnered praise and high expectations for an anticipated full length. The band, consisting of Kristoffer Alm (bass/vocals), Simon Frenning Sørensen (drums/vocals), Jakob Georg Neilsen (guitars), Lasse Heidner (guitars), and Tue Krebs Roikjer (guitars/vocals), are now set to release their debut full length three years since their inception. After one spin, it's evident that they've done more than just release a great black metal record.
The band will unleash 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 friwhich, which translates 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 in English, on February 1st, 2019 via Indisciplinarian Records. The album is broken down into six songs, one for each line in the title, making up a spectacle to behold.
One click of the play button and Sa kom morket og tog mi pa ordet welcomes us all to a world beautiful beyond measure. This is exactly what you hear as you enter the Gates of Valhalla. The track opens with a grand choir and is then joined by shrieks and punishing screams, creating a balance between love and suffering. This theme is prevalent throughout the record, as if the instruments are meant to embody the beauty of life and the vocals the horrors that come with it. Drums are kept at a slow pace as the choir chimes throughout. Don't expect anything heavy from this opener, as it serves the role of introducing one to the journey that lies ahead through majestic measures.
On the other hand, the following track En sort sky af minder comes rushing at you with an emotionally charged force. This is what MORILD does best, bridging the gap between happiness and dread in a musical manner so defined, you can't help but bask in it's glory. The track embodies melodic aggression so well, similar to that of Panopticon and Dödsrit. As furious and electrifying as the blast beats and raised screams are at the beginning, the mellow segments towards the second half of the song do enough to balance the playing field, merging the two extremes to a perfect unison. The use of various vocalists adds depth to an already layered black metal composition, enforcing the pain felt behind the microphone. Two tracks in and the balance is well established.
We transition onto I afgørende stunder, which just brings us to our knees. As the title suggests, this eight-minute piece is emotionally devastating. You can't help but let your emotions reign free with guitar melodies as serene as this entering your mind and being prevalent throughout. The emotion on I afgørende stunder is indeed heartfelt and the band achieve evoking sentiment upon the listener. The track serves as a perfect emotional transition onto the record's climax.
If there was any highlight among the illustrious set of tracks on Så kom mørket..., it would be Frosset fast til mit indre. Strong is but one word I'd use to describe this masterful composition of music. The use of the ethereal choir comes back, only to be joined by guitar melodies from the heavens. Blast beats, thunderous crashes, painful roars, and well layered fret work come together to form a spiritual entity of vigor and harmony. This masterful track leads us into Jeg håber det forsvinder med lyset, a tear inducing instrumental. While it's the shortest track of the record, it holds the most emotional value despite it having no vocals due to the tranquility it transfers upon our souls. The vibrations of the acoustic guitar are sincere and melancholic, capable of bringing tears to the happiest of people. If you can't help but cry, we understand and invite you to join us.
Our journey ends with At dø eller blive fri, the heart wrenching conclusion to our excursion through the seas. If you've followed along, you'll notice that there's a pattern along the record so far, each song transitioning from slow to fast and each embodying a balance between hope and sorrow. Following this pattern, the band close the record on a colossal note. The track may open in peace, but about a minute into this gem, you feel the thunderous drums explode through your sound system, pulsating with every kick of the double bass pedal. Death defying screams, speed, and guitar melodies return once more and the energy levels rise to new heights. The song ends with the serenity of the choir vocals, drifting away into complete solace, completing our religious experience.
MORILD have put together a record that guides listeners through a transcendental experience of the most epic proportions. Så kom mørket... radiates extraordinary amounts of energy, capable of moving the highest mountains and the deepest of seas. This isn't simply a great record by a talented band. It's an experience demanding full attention and focus in order to fully grasp it's god-like qualities. With compositions this grand and an album release show planned at The National Danish Aquarium, MORILD have set a new standard for musical excellence.
Overall score: 9.5/10
FFO: Dödsrit, Panopticon, Drudkh, Sunken, ORM