In under two decades, they’ve gone from a side project to one of Norway’s most highly regarded Black Metal outfits. But you only have to look at the volume and quality of the back catalogue of Mork to understand why.
Mork – Den Svevende Festning (Peaceville Records)
Release Date: 16 September 2022
Words: Jools Green
Eighteen months after its release, their previous full-length, Katedralen, one of my favourite releases of last year, is still a regular listen for me. As a bonus, they can also deliver the goods live too. This leads us to this latest gem of an EP, Den Svevende Festning, six tracks spanning just over thirty-two minutes of raw, atmospheric Black Metal, delivered in the finest Norwegian style.
It’s half studio and half live, featuring, along with two other studio offerings, an alternate arrangement of the track Født Til Å Herske, previously only available digitally, and the three live tracks are from Mork’s recent shows, all from the Katedralen opus.
“Seems we got a tradition going by now,” band mastermind Thomas Eriksen says, “with an EP between each album. I can get used to that. I like the format, which allows us to do something a bit different and play around with the material. With albums, we obviously need to be more strict. This time I had a couple of tracks left over from the Katedralen sessions. The title track Den Svevende Festning was always one that I liked and was actually only cut due to the album length. It’s fitting to have its own EP dedicated to it.
“Den Svevende Festning is a tribute to my hometown of Halden with its majestical Fredriksten Fortress, which hovers above the city in the skyline. It’s powerful and a good cannonball in the face.”
The three studio releases commence with Den Svevende Festning, a powerful pounder of a track that hits the spot. So it’s good to see this not only be included in a physical release but also being the title track, a powerfully atmospheric work where the raw acidic vocals cut through pounding rhythms. Cleverly straightforward, this is as addictively engaging as it gets.
The other two studio pieces are Ormtunge, with its raw and dirty repeat riff, atmospheric drop away alongside spiralling riffs that, together, allow for the dramatic quality of the vocals to shine forth further.
Then Fodt Til A Herske (Med Strykere), another utterly engaging head-nodding beast of a track, with its dark, dirty groove, engagingly sinister undercurrent and broad-ranging vocal delivery. A fascinatingly meandering offering that you can’t tear yourself away from.
Across all three tracks, the production quality is on point. No aspect has been restrained, thereby giving you maximum impact.
The live tracks, all from 2021’s Katedralen, successfully captures the live atmosphere of a Mork gig and whilst any tracks could have been chosen from that superb album, you’ll get no argument from me regarding these three being the ones selected.
Firstly Arv, with its anthemic chorus and pounding rhythms, followed by Det Siste Gode I Meg, another driving beast of a track which also has an anthemic chorus and finally Svartmalt, a sinister but melodic monster of a track, with movingly tortuous vocal delivery.
Den Svevende Festning features an old drawing of Fredriksten Fortress in Eriksen’s hometown of Halden. It will be released on vinyl, and 150 hand-numbered copies are exclusively available through Mork’s store, so get in quick if you want one of those. It will also be available as a digital option.