Tag Archives: Ukraine

Mørkt Tre – To the Graves of the Smoldering Time

morkt-tre-to-the-graves-of-smoldering-time

What is there to say about the debut album spawned from the elusive Ukrainian black metal outfit, Morkt Tre?  Its haunting sound emanates in obscurity, as Morkt Tre’s identity in unknown.  Somewhat of a masterpiece, To the Graves of Smoldering Time consists of six meaty tracks, entitled Opus I-VI, ranging from ambient to atmospheric.  What I really like about this album is its ability to bend the defining black metal norms with an avant-garde approach while never losing the coldness that marks the black metal sound.

The album demands more of the listener with its opening track, a beautiful ambient song, with parts reminiscent of depressive breaks found on Drudhk or Old Forest albums, and other parts purely meditative.  Slow and captivating, Opus I sets the tone for the rest of the album.  The album has the characteristics of a true opus with the band’s fluid progression into the a more orthodox black metal feel in track two.  The progressions on this album are truly remarkable.  Everything from blasting intensity, to emotive melody, to ambient dreamscapes is featured on this album.  All elements interact in perfect harmony with each other.

The notably lo-fi production creates a cold atmosphere that draws the listener in.  If you’re a fan of kvlt black metal production done well, To the Graves of Smoldering Time is the album for you.  The ambient tracks, Opus I and IV, help to further grab the listener and set a pace for the remainder of the album.  While, at times, I found some of the keyboard parts on the ambient tracks to be a bit extravagant, they did not detract from the emotional experience rendered from listening to the LP.  As I said earlier, To the Graves of Smoldering Time demands more of the listener.  You have to have patience to build up to the climax.  This album really comes to a head in tracks V and VI.

An ambient interlude leads up to the most aggressive yet digestible riff on the album in Opus V and continues on this path, with emotion inducing, hypnotic melody driving the remainder of the track.  Opus VI is a prelude to the band’s earlier work, which was largely unknown, as this album still is.  The progressions of Opus VI are effortless in their ability to keep listeners chilled to the bone.  The song ends with a really cool bagpipe solo.  Even folk elements are found on this album!  I highly recommend checking To the Graves of Smoldering Time.  Aside from having the coolest album art I’ve seen in a while (it kind of makes me think of that Bathory song, The Lake, and the one-eyed old man), this album delivers in all ways.  A beautiful blend of ambience and aggression that delves into new territory while continuing to pay homage to the kvlt elite, To the Graves of Smoldering Time is a true work of art.

 9/10

You can purchase the album easily on Bandcamp when it releases on February 11.  Seriously, give these guys money.

https://mrkttre.bandcamp.com/album/to-the-graves-of-the-smoldering-time

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Graveland/Nokturnal Mortum Split- The Spirit Never Dies

noktunal mortum-graveland

This release snuck up on me. I hadn’t been anticipating it when out of nowhere I became enticed by the prideful, and melodic sounds of the East. Nokturnal Mortum (Ukraine) and Graveland (Poland) joined forces to release a split for the first time since Eastern Hammer and the result is of epic proportion.

Nokturnal Mortum-

I’m grateful that Nokturnal Mortum kicked off this album because they took advantage of the privilege in a creative way. The first note of the split is the signature, folk inspired intro to Voice of Steel.  The Spirit Never Dies isn’t some re-release of old Voice of Steel songs, however. Those songs are perfect as it is. What the intro suggests the new material is on par with the  gloriousness of Voice of Steel. Their suggestion is zealous but not significantly.

The Spirit Never Dies exemplifies an interesting growth and progression in the band’s sound. Voice of Steel was a xenophobic battle cry; energetic and alive. The Spirit Never Dies carries a more tortured ambience.  Ever since Lemmy passed on to a bar somewhere in Valhalla, I’ve been noticing a lot of bands writing riffs that sound like they’re inspired by Motorhead.  It’s a chicken/egg situation really.  Was he influential is ways I hadn’t noticed before, or did his passing inspire the musicians writing more recently?  Track two, entitled Східний Злам, definitely has a bit of a fist pumping quality to it in spots.

The songs are complex though, allowing for several progressions throughout them.  Track two deviates from a tortured, Drudkh inspired ambience, to soulful guitar solos, and even aggressive, symphonic interludes.  В Кайданах Часу continues down this emotional joyride with an even more tortured atmosphere that could be comparable to DSBM.  Old Ygg also comes to mind. What’s also nice about track three is the placement of the keyboard parts adds zero faggottry (faggottry- a word I made up,meaning to make more gay) to the sound, but only add an aureate feel whispering in the background.  I’m beginning to believe Nokturnal Mortum is incapable of failure when it comes to writing music.  This album gives credence to that argument.  9/10 only because nothing compares to the greatness of Voice of Steel.

Graveland-

Graveland has never been my first choice of band to listen to but nonetheless, I respect the Hell out of Rob Darken’s creative ability.  Thankfully, his addition to The Spirit Never Dies wasn’t another mediocre attempt to recreate Hammerheart era Bathory, but it also might not have been the most inspired effort either.  The intro to Graveland’s portion of the split is epic and emotional at the same time and there are several spots throughout each of the songs that are easy to lose yourself into.

The problem I have with this effort though is its almost rebellious refusal to climax into intensity.  It’s like when you’re getting head and your partner goes up for air right before you’re about to cum.  You were so close!

That said, the ethereal atmosphere does have a calming effect and is great in spots.  The Last Dawn, in particular has remarkably beautiful folk elements sprinkled throughout it.  Unfortunately, three minutes into the song, Rob Darken comes up for air.  Overall, this effort is enjoyable but maybe not as memorable as Nokturnal Mortum’s addition to the split.  6/10 because it failed to make me climax.

 

https://nokturnalmortum1.bandcamp.com/album/nokturnal-mortum-graveland-the-spirit-never-dies-split-digipack-cd