Udåd / The Primal Black Metal Feeling Of Thomas Eriksen

Udåd, the self-titled first offering from the new project by Mork’s Thomas Eriksen, is an eight-track, forty-five-minute slab of primitive, raw Norwegian Black Metal. Udåd was born out of Eriksen’s desire to reflect back on Mork’s first album, Isebakke, and recapture that pure Black Metal grimness, moving away from the more complex and elaborately textured moods and atmospheres that Mork are evolving into.

Udåd – Udåd (Peaceville)

Release Date: 15 March 2024

Words: Jools Green

It’s not that this evolution is a bad thing. It is because Eriksen has a creatively burning desire to revisit those roots. “Isebakke was a very pure effort made out of the bare essence of my own personal Black Metal experience,” Thomas says. “That root has always been within me. Now, I needed to tap into that well once again, just to satisfy that part of my psyche and creativity.

“Mork and Udåd is now my yin and yang within my Black Metal journey. The inspiration came from the occasions when I discovered the raw and necro Black Metal releases back in the day and the vibe they gave me.

“Since Mork is constantly evolving for each release and has become its own, I have decided to create a space for me to be more primal. You can take Isebakke, which is quite primitive, and see Udåd as a step backwards from that.

“Udåd allows me to express a much more primal Black Metal feeling. Ripping off the flesh and exposing a more raw, pure atmosphere. It’s been many years since I last felt this strong vibe of pure Black Metal in my veins.”

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Udåd, the self-titled first offering from the new project by Mork's Thomas Eriksen
Udåd – Thomas Eriksen: “It’s been many years since I last felt this strong vibe of pure Black Metal in my veins.”

Lyrically, Thomas found inspiration for this release from the unnerving 1990 German horror film Der Todesking. Directed by Jörg Buttgereit, it is an experimental-style movie with no central characters, which explores the topic of suicide and violent death in seven episodes, each attributed to a day of the week.

It is all interspersed with film clips of a human body slowly rotting over the duration of the movie. This resulted in Thomas’ desire to create something utterly nekro in its motivations and execution, an unpretentious exploration of the brutal reality of death and the lack of meaning in life, very much like the film concept.

Thomas has also changed his approach vocally for this release. “The recording of vocals for Udåd turned out to be a very painful and unorthodox experience for me,” he says. “I decided from the start to do something completely different to my usual vocal approach in Mork. I wanted something that could match the primitive nakedness of the music.

“So, I ended up doing this primal, powerful shouting scream, which really took the energy and air out of me. It was hard, but then again, I really put everything into it, which forever will live on through the recording.”

Opening on the haunting reflective instrumental intro Den Evindelige Ende, this is a simple yet effective guitar piece which builds in mirrored increments, ebbing back in the same fashion.

I adore the guitarwork on Bakenfor Urskogens Utkant. It perfectly captures that ’90s Norwegian Black Metal atmosphere. A raw, simplistic, and massively effective repeat riff ebbs and builds in eerie waves, and the vocals are delivered, as previously mentioned by Thomas, as a superbly tortuous, powerful scream.

Avgudsdyrker delivers some superb old-school style Black riffing. It’s bleak, raw, and haunting, but at the same time, there’s a melodic undercurrent coursing through its duration, the screams making a perfect contrast.

Ominous bass lines open Blodnatten, bolstered by slightly echoey, eerie guitar work that delivers a dominating, haunting repeat across most of the track. The direction shifts briefly midway but returns to that haunting repeat. The vocal screams have a distant quality, drawing you in, with Thomas really shouting to be heard. You can feel the sheer force that he had to apply to get them out. It is a superbly hypnotic track.

In complete contrast to all the previous pieces, Den Virkelige Apokryf is a frantic driver, delivering a wall of pounding drums and driving riffs that are unrelentingly undulating. Overlaid with those screaming vocals, the riffing does alter, but the pace remains unstoppable to the end in what is a brutal beast of a track.

The next piece, Vondskapens Triumf, is an eerie mid-paced black plodder. It’s simple and straightforward, developing a haunting, complex edge from the leadwork in the second half. A compelling listen.

Kald Iver has a wonderfully icy classic Black Metal feel. The protraction of the screams is particularly impressive, too.

The final piece Antropofagens is dominated by a simple haunting repeat with subtle variances that courses the length of the track, pared with protracted tortuous screams. Another simple and straightforward, hugely engaging but massively powerful piece.

Performances and engineering duties were all by Thomas at Atomen Studios in Halden, Norway, with the mastering carried out by Jack Control at Enormous Door (Darkthrone, Mork).

Udåd is a superb album. Every track is utterly memorable, with Thomas triumphing through suffering to achieve his aim. Having heard this, I understand his desire to go back to his roots with this understated but massively engaging release.

It has all the old-school attractions but with good quality production and, without being overproduced, is absolute perfection.

Udåd will be available on transparent vinyl, CD and as a digital download.

Sleeve Notes

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