Mork is an excellent tribute to old-school black metal, and proof that it can be done right, respecting the essence of the genre while simultaneously adapting to the performance and production demands of the 21st century. Their latest release, Det Svarte Juv (Peaceville Records, 2019) is proof of just that, and it might be the best work of this Norwegian one-man project – straight out of the brilliant mind of Thomas Eriksen.
It is safe to say that Det Svarte Juv, as well as Mork in general, are not here to shatter any stylistic conventions of the genre. This is a straight up, full blown Norwegian black metal release, ideal for fans of early Burzum, Darkthrone, Bathory and Mayhem. Thus, if you can’t get enough of this particular aesthetic, Det Svarte Juv is a safe bet that will undoubtedly meet your kvltish needs! The abundance of tremolo riffs permeates the songs with that ethereal, transcendental ambience that is so iconic in black metal, and there is a somewhat epic tone to them, making the songs surprisingly catchy, despite Mork being far from commercial – which in itself is a very desirable trait among black metal’s fiercest followers. Also, it is worthy of noting that, despite the album in itself not being a pinnacle of originality, the songs themselves have some level of identity, as opposed to many other albums from the genre that sound like just one very long song.
The production in this album is clearly designed to sound nostalgic. However, everything sounds neat and perfectly audible without losing that old-school vibe. Moreover, the performance in the album is top notch and greatly demonstrates Eriksen’s considerable musicianship. Sadly, the somewhat commendable determination of paying tribute to the genre greats comes with a price, since some might call it this album’s less desirable trait. Do you remember that feeling when you heard some of those bands for the first time, when black metal was far from even being a thing? You’re probably not going to find it here, since this album arrived about 25 years late to the party. However, it is probably safe to assume that Eriksen’s mindset while writing this album was more aimed towards hailing black metal’s finest than redefining the genre. That being true (pun intended), one might call this album a success, since it flawlessly brings to life the artistic vision with which it was created. So, if you’re a black metal fan that is feeling retro and wants something catchy and well-performed to listen to, this is the album for you!