Mork – Katedralen: Album Review

Mork are a black metal band from Norway created by Thomas Eriksen. Their fifth and new album Katedralen, which translates as ‘Cathedral’, is a ferocious and unsettling take on the genre coupled with an intriguing creativity, that goes well beyond any preconceptions about what black metal should sound like. 

Release date: 5th March 2021

Label: Peaceville

Format: DL / CD / Gatefold Vinyl

Black metal is a compelling and varied genre within metal, which can embrace heavily distorted guitars, high pitched screaming and growling vocals, intense fast drumming with blast beats, and an emphasis on unconventional song structures and atmosphere. Live the experience is all consuming with bands often taking to the stage in corpse paint, a distinctive style of make up associated with black metal. The new album from Mork creatively plays with the black metal template to come up with an exciting and intriguing musical step forward.

Opening track Dodsmarsjen, which Thomas Eriksen has described as translating as ‘The March of Death’, disarmingly begins with gently flowing ambient keyboards, before an un-nerving pause unleashes an other-worldly and somewhat terrifying scream on the listener. Its a fast pummelling song with a wall of sound frenzy, that also has some surprising twists, with at one point a death metal type groove driving the song.  

It’s followed by Svartmalt with its punk like musical attitude that literally assaults the senses with its extreme guitar noise, sneering vocal and deep thudding drum patterns, resonant of the Velvet Underground’s magnificent Moe Tucker.

Evig Intens Smerte which Thomas has translated as ‘Eternal Intense Pain’ is perhaps the most unrelentingly brutal of the album songs with discordant guitar motifs, despairing vocals and some incredible drumming, combining blast beats and majestic drum fills. 

Det Siste Gode I Meg at the mid point of the album is a deceptive song in its composition and structure, creatively segueing a full on black metal soundscape with some strikingly lush and almost tender musical passages with clean vocals. This track in particular gives a strong sense of the creative playing with the genre that Mork are able to successfully pull off on this album.

On the final epic track De Fortapte Sjelers Katedral, clocking in at well over 9 minutes, Mork deliver career defining musical excellence. Thomas has translated the title as ‘The Cathedral of Lost Souls’, and has described the concept behind it, as evoking a bleak and cold landscape, as a setting for a cathedral “…where lost souls are kept for all eternity”. Right from the opening riff, the track has an incredible groove, that sweeps you along in its energy and intense momentum. There is soaring and anthemic guitar work, intricate melodies and intense driving rhythms. With a heart stopping pause that transitions the listener into a final musical section, where the music evolves into something more lilting and pastoral, showcasing some evocative pipe organ playing by Eero Poyry of Skepticism. A stunning musical experience.

If you have ever been curious about or wanted to try out black metal, this album will have you hooked into the genre and wanting to hear more.

View the video for Svartmalt, from Mork, below.

Mork online: Website / Facebook / Instagram

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