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  • Faye Coulman

REVIEWED: Mork - 'Katedralen'

Despite this humble webzine’s fanatical and, at times, gushingly effusive (sorry, not sorry) admiration for the more complex and compositionally diverse facets of extreme music, there’s no disputing the classic allure of bands who embody their subgenre of choice in as pure and quintessential a form as you could possibly imagine. And as an act whose every deliciously abrasive accent of frostbitten tremolo oozes unadulterated darkness, Norwegian black metal unit Mork are a collective that audibly revel in the classic trappings for which their country of origin has long been historically revered.

Following a momentary flurry of ghoulishly echoing church organ notes, it’s with blinding and instantly brutalising immediacy that we’re flung headlong into the frenziedly accelerating throes of explosive opener ‘Dødsmarsjen’. With its thickly contorted layerings of thorny tremolo and brimstone-scorched screams bristling with hostility from the get-go, there’s no shortage of coldly harrowing atmosphere to be found in the densely churning grooves with which this monochrome opus is generously furnished. Beyond this initial burst of instantly gratifying aggression, riff-laden standout ‘Arv’ is thoroughly drenched in diabolical grandeur, its luxuriant layerings of inky groove taking ample time to work their coldly mesmerising magic on the senses. Indeed, as we delve ever deeper into the desolate, nocturnal territories and stony recesses of ‘Katedralen’ (no prizes for guessing the English translation) it fast becomes apparent that, for all its classically blackened trappings, theirs is a presence quite unique and particular to its creators.

With the album’s central concept revolving around founder Thomas Eriksen’s overarching vision of “a gigantic cathedral where lost souls are kept for all eternity”, ‘Født til å herske’ is particularly rich with deathly majesty. Combining viciously energised stints of aggression in amongst expansive lashings of introspective fretwork whose sleekly unravelling accents palpably glimmer with diabolical beauty, this abrasive yet absorbing standout deftly conjures a myriad different shades of darkness. And from pulverising extremes of aggression and sultry lashings of diabolical groove to icily transcendental glimpses into the abyss, ‘Katedralen’ is a finely-executed and, at times, utterly haunting exercise in quintessential Nordic darkness. 7.5/10

'Katedralen' is out now via Peaceville


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