Werewolf Records presents the second album of the band Orlok entitled ‘The Dark Knell’. Formed in Lappeenranta, Finland in 2008, the band is a solo-project by none other than Grav Werwolf. You may also know him as Nazgul von Armageddon or Werwolf, and he is the brain not only behind Werewolf Records but also renowned acts such as Satanic Warmaster, Grieve, The True Werwolf and previously Horna.
Satanic Warmaster has been of crucial importance in shaping the sound of Finnish Black Metal. It’s clear that Werwolf intends to use Orlok for different purposes. Orlok can be considered his vessel for the rawest possible Black Metal that’s minimalistic, one-dimensional and regressive. Think of Mütiilation, Vlad Tepes or Finnish Black Metal bands that were inspired by the Les Légions Noires scene such as Warloghe. On Orlok’s second album, the band sounds even grittier and Lo-Fi than on the debut ‘Black Funeral Holocaust’. Werwolf’s usually so distinctive vocal style is a bit harder to extract from the Lo-Fi production, but once you get used to the sound becomes abundantly clear. And the same goes for his penchant for writing subcutaneous melodies that instantly linger in your head. It’s the sort of riffs like in ‘Strigoi Metal Holocaust’, ‘Vampirized’ and ‘Demons of Darkness’ that crawl under your skin to make you feel uncomfortable. Especially when they come draped in a gnarly production with thundering drums, a distant raw guitar sound and shrieks with a distorted nature. The occasional tormented clean background vocals in ‘Imperial Grail of Satan’ and ‘Catafalque’ only add to that discomfort. And a cover of a woman bathing in blood is a fitting imagery of the vampirism and satanism portrayed in the lyrics, obviously fitting seamlessly with the style played on the record.
With Orlok you can find Werwolf creating Black Metal at its rawest, in terms of unrelenting minimalistic style and Lo-Fi production. It’s quite a far cry from the groundbreaking and more majestic Black Metal he has been producing with Satanic Warmaster, making it all the more interesting to hear his take on a style that was so inspirational to many in the late 90’s. Although the production might not be for everyone, those that worship Black Metal in its most bare, unsettling and pure essence will definitely want to hear ‘The Dark Knell’.