Mörkö: Itsensänimeävä

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Mörkö: Itsensänimeävä
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Mörkö: Itsensänimeävä
Doom Metal, Experimental Blade Metal
Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions (LP Distro), Self-release
September 16th, 2013 (Digital) / October 8th, 2013 (Physical)
Release length: 35:04
Bandcamp
Black and Doom Metal trio Mörkö have existed since 1997, but haven’t made much of an impact outside their home town of Lahti, Finland, and the certain circles of the Metal underground that know their name. 2000 saw the release of their demos Paluu and Mörön Maa, followed a year later by their self-released debut full-length effort III. It took another seven years for their follow-up, IV, to be released through Vaticanian Roadkill Recordes, a label that only existed for that album, or is one the band made up for some reason. Fast forward another five years to find Mörkö independently releasing the digital version of their next album Itsensänimeävä, dropping the Roman numerals entirely, while Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions handles distributing the later physical pressing. Is this a new album that presents their best to a wider audience, or is it a lost opportunity all around?

“Ruumis loi itsensa omaksi kuvakseen” kicks things off with white noise and dialogue for a good minute before the music actually kicks in. The traditional razor-like riffs are replaced with duller, twanging chords, and when the pace slows down there’s a strong emphasis on the bass. The earlier dialogue appears from time to time as well, and the main vocal approach is handled more as whispers, a choice that helps the chilled desolation of the slow to mid-paced music, though not so much with the faster, more chaotic explosions, or the Avant-Garde material infused early Punk material that appears six minutes in. This kind of experimentation represents the album well, though “Nesteen luo” takes things into a Viking Metal atmosphere. The slower, sombre riffs and clean harmonized chanting creates a truly depressing tone when used, and the slower passages weave a twisted, icy touch to the bass-driven material that leaves a lasting impression on the listener, standing out as the strongest this album has to offer.

“Kosmoksen huhmareessa” is the longest track of all, and that’s largely due to how the band opted to end this five minute performance. The softer guitar introduction establishes that creepy tone properly, especially when joined by the faster unplugged notes in the background. The harsher whispers return, as do the spoken word segments in the slower, icy spots. Aside some groove filled slower areas, the performance has a furious pace that brings the technical riffs from the start back into play. But, when you reach that five minutes, Mörkö changes into a Drone group, ushering in a coffee house style acoustic performance that also picks up on the breath of the performing guitarist, and even what sounds like the ticks of drum sticks being moved around in the background and clicking together. It seems on purpose though, as it keeps happening even when the guitar work becomes richer, killing some of the emptiness as it fluidly leaves behind the aforementioned atmosphere for that of bleak emptiness for the remainder of the song.

While the other three are enjoyable to certain degrees, “Alhainen liejukoira” ends up the only song that is actually really hard to sit through, up to the point of the later material being high enough to start a headache. Things kick off like an early Darkthrone recording, instantly grabbing your attention and refusing to let go until the chaotic mess that grows from it ushers in nasal chanting vocals that are often layered, going a bit overboard three-and-a-half minutes in and causing all but the bass kicks of the drum kit to pretty much vanish under the shrill pitch of the vocals and riffs. Meanwhile, the slower passages present a bass groove that seems like it wants to be creepy, but instead could easily be part of the soundtrack to a spy film from the seventies or eighties.

Itsensänimeävä is definitely interesting to say the least, spanning a few different styles that are often loosely or closely knit to the Black Metal genre. Sadly, interesting doesn’t always mean engaging or enjoyable. While “Alhainen liejukoira” is the only track you’ll want to skip after that first time through, the rest showcase decent to solid performances with odd, yet well executed shifts from one approach or speed to the next. Mörkö show they are definitely not for the rainy day casual Black Metal fan, presenting a somewhat confusing album that is geared more for the niche audience that is willing to experience something a little different without completely violating the expectations of the genre as a whole. It’s worth checking out with an open mind, but if this sort of experimentation isn’t your cup of tea, then sampling this first is the best way to go.

01. Ruumis loi itsensä omaksi kuvakseen – 7:21
02. Alhainen liejukoira – 5:56
03. Kosmoksen huhmareessa – 13:50
04. Nesteen luo – 7:55
Initial Pressing Score: 6.5/10

Mörkö

Digital review copy of this release provided by Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions.