Mork – Katedralen (Peaceville)

There’s a reason the likes of Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto and Kampfar’s Dolk appear on Katedralen.

A reason why some of black metal’s most revered artists gravitate towards Mork.

It’s because mainman Thomas Eriksen taps straight into the groundwater of Norwegian BM and creates dark art which is both authentic and expansive.

He’s open about his influences, but Mork’s output is no lazy pastiche or cliched dedication to black metal purity.

Eriksen – who performed and recorded Katedralen – hasn’t always played black metal, but since 2007’s Rota til ondskap demo and Mork’s 2013 debut album, Isebakke, he’s evolved into one of the scene’s most exciting songwriters.

2017’s Eremittens dal and 2019’s fiendishly catchy Det svarte juv, raised the bar.

Last year’s Pesta EP turned heads.

But Katedralen, Mork’s fifth full-length, weaves Eriksen’s previous musical tapestries together into an all-enveloping whole, where ideas which germinated in songs such as På Tvers Av Tidene reach full bloom.  

Eriksen is a natural riffsmith.

He’s proved that before.

But still, the icy shards that explode from opener Dødsmarsjen are truly astonishing, while on Lysbæreren – an almost punky track reminiscent of Darkthrone’s noughties output – the Norwegian deftly switches from serrated tremolo picking to snarling grooves.

Katedralen is a landmark for Mork

Evig Intens Smerte and Født Til Å Herske (featuring Dolk’s roaring vocals) are dramatic works of fire and ferocity.

Nocturno Culto’s rasp is perfectly attuned to Svartmalt’s gut-punch dynamics.

However, nine-minute closer De Fortapte Sjelers Katedral simply sweeps all before it.

Although not a concept album in the strictest sense of the word, Eriksen’s latest release was inspired by the vision of a desolate land, where lost souls walk towards a gigantic cathedral… a place where they’ll be kept for all eternity.

De Fortapte Sjelers Katedral is their destination.

Graced by the organ accompaniment of Skepticism’s Eero Pöyry and soaked in cold melancholy, the song is as grandiose and awe-inspiring as some of Europe’s most imposing medieval edifices… and draws the album to a spine-tingling conclusion.

With Katedralen, Eriksen has laid down Mork’s defining statement – and birthed a rich black metal record that seeps deep into the soul.

Mork band photo by Meta Photography – Terje Johansen.