Mortem (NOR) - Ravnsvart review


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Band: Mortem (NOR)
Album: Ravnsvart
Release date: September 2019

01. Ravnsvart
02. Sjelestjeler
03. Blood Horizon
04. Mørkets Monolitter
05. Truly Damned
06. Demon Shadow
07. Port Darkness
08. The Core

Before CDs, mp3s and streaming, there were cassettes. And before Arcturus there was Mortem (NOR). The founding members of both bands, Marius Vold and Steinar Sverd Johnsen, along with Hellhammer and newly recruited bassist Tor Stavenes of 1349 fame decided to resurrect Mortem (NOR) and add another comeback album to the year that can safely be called 'the year of comeback albums'.

The cover of Ravnsvart is a drawing that could easily be chosen to serve as cover art for a demo tape in the late '80s. The music does take you back to that particular era but the debut full-length of Mortem (NOR) that comes three whole decades after their debut demo has nothing vaguely pointing to that first recording - apart from the cover. Mortem (NOR) in 2019 play second-wave, keyboard-heavy black metal, while in 1989 they played death metal. No criticism there, Mayhem and Darkthrone started that way, too.

Now this album hasn't got much in common with the experimental nature of Arcturus, reminding more of what Satyricon, Dimmu Borgir and Emperor were doing around the mid-nineties. This means that Steinar's keyboards are not there to drive the songs forward but more to complement the old-school, second-wave riffs (also by Steinar), as well as Marius's vocals. What is interesting is the fact that Marius actually left the metal scene altogether after Euronymous was murdered and on Ravnsvart his singing is a terrific blast from the past, both ugly and raw; it's like he picks up straight from where he left off.

The thing that certainly rubs me the wrong way is the drums. They do sound and feel very artificial and if someone told me it is a drum machine, I would easily fall for it. Taking under consideration that the mighty Hellhammer is behind the kit, I did some digging and found out that he recorded his parts without having heard almost anything from the music. In his own words in an interview before the record's release, when asked about what the album would sound like, he said, "I have no idea. I just only play the drums. I don't think the music was totally finished yet by then, you know". And then, when asked how exactly he does that, he went on to say, "I play after the click"... "They present me a demo. The drum dummy as simple as possible, and then I drum to that until I find my own drum compositions". Given the fact that he was not that impressive on the latest Mayhem album either, I'm thinking maybe he is losing interest. And this is really sad.

Despite Hellhammer clearly phoning it in, Ravnsvart would be very much praised if it was released in the nineties, although the production is probably way too clear for a record that wants to revive that particular sound. The songwriting is corpsepainted to the core, with sinister guitar riffs, cold atmosphere and malicious vocals. Most tracks have something memorable going for them, with "Demon Shadow" easily being the best of the bunch, as it stands at the top of snow-covered mountains, drenched in Bathory's majesty. So, if you feel nostalgic and hungry for trve Norwegian symphonic black metal, you can satisfy your appetite over here.

"Storm and silence
Mountain I see
Demon shadow
This is me"


Written on 28.11.2019 by Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud!


Comments: 2   Visited by: 69 users
28.11.2019 - 23:27
Hellhammer's laziness is the worst thing about 2019
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.

2020 goodies
28.11.2019 - 23:42
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Wow amazing reviev, will check those nutters out
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing

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