Sometimes it pays off to follow a record label closely. I wasn’t aware of the band Mørketida at all and considering the band had only released a demo in 2012, not many will have seen the 2018 debut album ‘Panphage Mysticism’ coming. However, knowing it came under the banner of Werewolf Records immediately drew my attention and prompted me to check the band out. And I wasn’t disappointed: The music on the debut was mostly mid-tempo hypnotizing Black Metal with a bleak atmosphere, something that’s not nearly as common to the Finnish scene. Therefore, it was a no-brainer to pick up the follow up EP release entitled ‘Traveler of the Untouched Voids’. The EP was released in 2020 in two different formats: as part of a Split CD with the Finnish band Grieve, and as a stand-alone release 12”mLP. This review focusses solely on 12”mLP, and therefore only the material contribution of Mørketida.
The 12”mLP and split-CD share the same artwork, however the mLP version has the artwork in color. Even though a lot of Black Metal tends to work with black & white artwork, I like the version of the mLP as the chosen color-scheme for the artwork works extremely well and highlights the intricacies of the illustration that the unnamed artist created. On the musical side of things, we find the band recorded three new songs as well as an Immortal cover. And besides the artwork, you could say more things aren’t exactly the same as on the debut.
Opening track ‘Descent of Purple Mist‘ immediately starts off quite differently than the material on ‘Panphage Mysticism’, with a prominent synthesizer lead and above all, a section that is much faster in pace than anything found on the debut album. Some other differences besides the more obvious role of synthesizers are a better audible bass sound due to a clearer, slightly heavier guitar sound and a touch less reverb on the vocals. Once the opening track slows down, the desolate atmosphere of the debut does take over. On ‘Upon the Aged Heavens’ the band sets further steps away from most of the Finnish scene, with riffs that are more like Rotting Christ alternated with the more suffocating mid-paced Mørketida riffs. In this track the increased tempo towards the end is once again obvious, with creative bass lines audible towards the end. The EP title track starts off with a catchy, almost epic, keyboard melody that is soon joined by a similar guitar riff. The following section is faster and quite chaotic in nature, until the song returns to a more melodic medium tempo riff until an acoustic riff joins this hypnotizing section as a prelude to one final bout of frenzied drums. The EP ends with a cover of the Immortal classic ‘Unsilent Storms in the North Abyss’, a song which Mørketida honors while adding a little twist to the icy atmosphere. I’m not the biggest fan of covers, but it’s a nice take on a classic so I can live with this one.
‘Traveler of the Untouched Voids’ is quite a different recording than ‘Panphage Mysticism’ was. There is a larger amount of faster sections and a bigger role for synthesizers, shifting the sound away from the mid-tempo Black Metal of their debut album even though the atmosphere remains intact. The sound of the band is certainly something you won’t hear every day, but I personally prefer the material on the debut album. It will be interesting to see where a next album will take the sound of Mørketida. (VincentP)
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Mørketida from Finland deliver their second opus after their 2018 “Panphage Mysticism” debut with this 4-track EP. Musically, there’s progression to be found in their sound: a brooding type of raw, yet epic 1990-s Black Metal music with keyboards.
The primitive hypnotic tremolo picking on the strings and relentless blasting on hollow drums have remained. What has been added is an even more murkier sound, dark droning doom-laden guitar chords, genuine symphonic keyboard bursts and deep menacing vocals. Mørketida also don’t forget the melodic aspect – as can be heard by the use of an acoustic Spanish guitar on the third track, “Traveler of the Untouched Voids.”
Beside all this, Mørketida still rely on the epic and icy atmosphere that can be found at their Norwegian colleagues. Without being a copycat, that is – just listen to the amazing waves of crashing guitars, alternating in speed and sludgy string technique on the second track “Upon the Aged Heavens”.
Final track is a worthy cover of Immortal’s “Unsilent Storms in the North Abyss” which shows their affinity to the Norwegian sound of old.
The material on this EP is certainly a couple of notches heavier than on the debut. Heavier, but also way more detailed and profound, allowing all instruments, including the symphonic keyboard fragments to take their seat in the mix of this EP. I find their efforts of blending traditional 1990-s Black Metal with more modern influences and a-typical twists quite refreshing.
Those who enjoyed the debut are in for a treat. Those who haven’t heard any from Mørketida yet – are advised to check out their material. (LCF)