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Riff-Flexing on Mork’s “Eremittens Dal” (Album Stream)

Black metal in the style of its early second wave is not known as a complex art form. Much like the noble winter stew, its warmth and heft is more meant for sustenance, a stalwart staple of the colder months. To most, it’s just “meat and potatoes,” which, in the long run, isn’t wrong. Composing riff after riff in nigh endless succession is high-density, ready-to-eat music — four bites and you’re set. It is wonderful, and I certainly love both stew and black metal, but second wave black metal’s uncomplicated, driving nature is streamlined for fulfillment.

At face level, Mork is the essence of “meat and potatoes.” All riff, no filler, the quintessence of Darkthrone’s lineage. Eremittens Dal is, above all else, the leanest of black metal meat, stripped of erroneous gristle and seasoning in favor of pure animal protein. Mork lumbers, mean and sinewy, as a rock-fueled beast. They walk on their knuckles across the permafrost… or so it would appear. Romanticizing of bands like Darkthrone and Kampfar aside, and Mork certainly draws immediate influence from both alike, Eremittens dal hides a much more elaborate nature beneath their brawn.

Though undeniably high in riff density, and Thomas Eriksen doles them out in spades, there is a finesse to Mork, one which he’s slowly cultivated over 13 years. These aren’t necessarily riffs, per se, but larger progressions with thoughtful variation. What might come off as a simple, head-bobbing, frown-heavy idea might immediately repeat a semblance of itself with further flourishes. The heavy, blistering cold of Eremittens Dal moves with these longer strides and larger progressions, a much more progressive monster in corpse-painted clothing, or a much more artisan, rustic stew. The masters-level worship is still there, certainly enough to garner praise and regular collaboration from the likes of Nocturno Culto and Silenoz, but with these creative sort of secret identity. Mork is black metal, and Eremittens dal is absolutely a black metal album, if one of the better traditionally-bent ones I’ve heard in a long time, but Thomas Eriksen really goes the extra mile. There is a surprising amount of detail to this complex album, and much more than the expected (enjoyed) meat and potatoes.

Eremittens dal will be released this Friday, October 13th on Peaceville Records. Head below to listen to the whole thing.

From the artist:

Eremittens Dal is my third full length album under the Mork banner. I can say that the album is more aggressive and angry compared to my earlier works. Both in sound and inspiration there’s more a “in your face” attitude, but still there’s that special feeling and atmosphere. I am very pleased with the outcome, considering this also is the first time I let someone else handle the mixing. I originally had my own mix and everything pointed in the direction of having that on the final product. However, I ended up taking the tracks to Freddy Holm’s studio and we really tied it all together neatly.

Having Nocturno Culto provide a verse and chorus to the previous album, I felt that I should continue the tradition of special guests on this album as well. It’s important to me to get to have artists that’s been influential to myself on the albums. Dimmu Borgir and 1349 are both bands that I do enjoy and I happen to be friends with both Silenoz and Seidemann. So, it was a quite easy and smooth process to involve these to guys and getting their contributions.
Silenoz and myself recorded his parts at my studio over a weekend in November 2015. We ended up with a duet on the title-track Eremittens Dal singing every other line of the lyrics. Then we recorded a spoken-word part for the instrumental “Et Rike I Nord.”
Seidemann did his bass parts at his own studio a bit later and sent the tracks over the Internet. “Forsteinet I Hat” was a somewhat obvious choice for me to have him add his bass to. I really like his work with 1349 and the aggression on their albums.

— Thomas Eriksen

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