Tuesday 7 November 2017

Mordskog - XIII


1. Lautum Novedialem
2. Nascentes Morimur
3. Aequo Pulsat Pede
4. Pulvis Et Umbra Sumus
5. Mors Est Vitae Essentia
6. Ad Me Venite Mortui
7. C.A.M.
8. Mors Vincit Omnia
9. Todos Ustedes Deben Morir Esta Noche 

I'm sitting here hoping that the Mexican black metal of Mordskog will warm me up this evening (even though they would probably prefer the world to freeze over!). "XIII" is the corpse-painted trio's first full-length and was released in January via Werewolf Records in unholy collaboration with Hells Headbangers, having first formed in 2003. They shared the stage in Mexico City with Satanic Warmaster in July. That should give you a clue as to the seriousness of their craft. 

“XIII” starts with Lautum Novedialem, which is a haunting opener with ninety-seconds of restrained spoken-word vocals. When Mordskog’s black metal takes over it’s both melodic and atmospheric. It’s not all fire and brimstone even if the vocals are extremely harsh at times. Their music takes on more of a mid-paced form on Nascentes Morimur. It follows an old-school path and due to that it’s also catchy in a subtle way. The volume isn’t as high on the recording as you might like but you can always turn it up, which is exactly what I’ve done and in doing so the swathes of melody from the guitars swirl around me during Aequo Pulsat Pede. Their accented English vocals give their music an extra edge too. 

Pulvis Et Umbra Sumus is really where they hit their stride, with plenty of double bass and doom-like instrumentation underneath the feedback. The choral chants break up the icy howls of Lugubrem Acerbus and there’s a nice metallic layer in the song. Mordskog don’t dare hang around on “XIII” and there’s no meandering filler. Mors Est Vitae Essentia is both symphonic and evil in equal measure, with ritualistic percussion. The album was recorded by Lugubrem Acerbus, Murmur (guitars, bass) and Occultus (drums). Their momentum as a trio is clear to see (and hear) on Ad Me Venite Mortui. At times it has the feel of a black n’ roll song, at least before Mordskog abandons the noise and settles into a short passage of more traditional guitar-work. 

C.A.M. is a different beast altogether, as the black metal screams are replaced by semi-operatic clean singing  and while I’m not usually a big fan of that particular vocal style, it’s a good trade off actually. Mors Vincit Omnia elevate their songwriting and musicianship to a great level, one which shows off more of their anthemic black metal. Album closer Todos Ustedes Deben Morir Esta Noche builds with unnerving ambience and screams that slowly increase in volume. It’s a hauntingly apt way to end “XIII”. Mordskog’s place within the current black metal climate is a strange one. On the one hand they’re maddening and evil, yet on the other they’re strangely upbeat and melodic. Mind you, who really cares about trends and all that bollocks. If it’s good it’s good and Mordskog are certainly that. 

You can stream and purchase "XIII" on cd and digitally via Werewolf Records below:-

Mordskog - https://www.facebook.com/mordskog/
Werewolf Records - https://www.facebook.com/werewolf.rex/

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