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Tusen år har gått... - 10%

Noctir, March 28th, 2012

The Scandinavian black metal scene was overflowing with mediocre bands by the time 1995 rolled around. So many clueless musicians had jumped on the bandwagon that it quickly became increasingly difficult to sift through the waste in order to find the few decent releases that were worth hearing. More often than not, the hideous garbage that was spewed out was the work of ignorant children that had no idea what they were toying with. This description was never more accurate than when applied to Mörk Gryning, from Sweden, whose members were 15 and 18 at the time when their debut album was recorded. Released on No Fashion Records in 1995, Tusen år har gått... represented a fairly generic take on Swedish black metal, ripping off ideas from the likes of Dissection, Marduk and Dark Funeral, among others.

Musically, there is not an original thought to be found on this L.P. Mörk Gryning simply took elements that were present in the works of their contemporaries and mixed them together in such a manner as to remove any and all possibility of enjoyment. Naturally, the material features a core of cold tremolo riffs and raspy vocals, along with varying blast beats. Of course, most black metal from this period centered on such things, but the creativity of the musicians involved made each band's interpretation worth listening to. In the case of Tusen år har gått..., even the very best ideas are undermined by the lack of coherent songwriting and a general lack of understanding for the fundamentals of this style. There is too much of a dependence on double-bass to move things forward, at times, along with pointless keyboards that only serve to water-down the atmosphere even further. The horrible deep vocals that are added in, from time to time, make this whole thing even more laughable. The acoustic guitar pieces give the impression that the band really wanted to attain the same kind of depth as that of Storm of the Light's Bane, but they failed in every conceivable way. The cheesy clean vocals further lend more of a gothic vibe than anything that was derived from the likes of Venom or Bathory. There is not one single shred of dark atmosphere to be found here, which is rather pathetic for a band attempting to record black metal. This is as paint-by-numbers as it gets, with absolutely no sincerity whatsoever.

The production is kind of flat, similar to Marduk's Opus Nocturne or Dark Funeral's self-titled E.P. It is very weak and fails to place the emphasis on those elements that best deserve it. To go along with the sub-par songwriting, the production actually serves as an additional detriment, being far too clean and modern-sounding. The guitars lack any kind of sharp edge, coming across as very subdued and safe. The drumming is too prominent in the mix, especially the awful double-bass. There is no complaint about the vocals, with the exception of the ridiculous clean goth vocals, which should have been buried a bit more. The keyboards dominate the sound far too much, whenever they appear, though the music is so generic that this distraction is not all that damaging to the experience.

Tusen år har gått... is a worthless pile of garbage, one that should be avoided like the plague. It possesses no redeeming qualities that make it a wise investment of either time or money. If you are interested in some of the less popular bands from the Swedish scene, it is recommended that you check out Throne of Ahaz, Sorhin, The Black and a couple dozen other bands before ever wasting your time on a band as pointless and talentless as Mörk Gryning. There may have been less technically-proficient bands out there, but few were as painfully below average as these two kids. This is a complete joke.

Written for

And the heavens shall tremble - 100%

Arowanna, October 15th, 2011

As we all know, the melodic black metal really had had a “boom” in Sweden during the '90s, with Dissection leading the horde, or at least they were the once the light shone upon. But amidst the chaos, Mörk Gryning emerged and they were to bring us some of the most complex and diverse music I've ever heard.

This is Mörk Grynings debut album and, part from Bathorys “Under the Sign of the Black Mark”, was one of the first black metal albums I was introduced to. This might be the reason why I treasure this like I do, or it might just be the simple fact that this is one of the most well-crafted albums of all time.

The sheer complexity of album is just astounding and I would personally say that the only influence one can find here is Emperor and Dissection, but yet it's nothing like them. “Tusen år har gått...” summons catchy, yet complex, tremolo guitars that mainly builds up the whole cold atmosphere of this album, with a great deal of help from the well-preformed keyboards. As for drums, they vary a lot from the full-speed ahead crushing sound to the more mid-paced march-sound. This sounds like a general bowl for black metal, but Mörk Gryning takes use of so much more mixing in mesmerizing, yet haunting acoustic guitars, epic chorales and small haunting piano pieces which literally takes melodic/symphonic black metal to a whole new level.

Yet another stand out here is the vocals; it's your standard raspy vocalists, but yet they are different. It's not just trying to sound evil, it really sounds evil for a change! It's really chanting from the deeps of hell, calling evil spirit to charge straight into heaven and crush everything in its way! While one might think that vocals like that must be unbearable, rest assure, they are not. They are just another great tribute to the amazing atmosphere of this album!

    “…Unleash the crimson winds of fire, the time has come for our master's arrival..!”

What we lyrically revise on this epic journey is a tale from hell to heaven, battles fought between Satans minions and Gods angels, how four horsemen changes the outcome of everything, their demise and how Satan once ruled the our feeble Earth. It might sound rather cheesy and childish to some, but as a fan of fantasy, I really like the evil atmosphere it creates no matter how cheesy it really is.

My verdict for this album should be evident by now. I love this album beyond comprehension, words really can't explain it and to this day, I've not heard anything like it; not older or newer. It's just one of those albums that never will be re-created, it's just that brilliant.

Listen to it as a whole, it’s only spinning for 30 minutes and it could have been just one track. But if I’ve to point one of them out it would be “Min Sista Färd” and “Omringningen” because of its amazing guitar solos and the intro to “Min Sista Färd” is probably my favorite part of the whole album.

Another thousand shall pass - 95%

Rottenrectum, July 29th, 2009

And this will still stand tall. Mörk Gryning is a swedish black metal band who seemed to stand in the shadow of fellow black metallers Dissection. This album came out around the same time as Storm Of The Lights Bane and while being almost as good, seemed to have received less than half the appreciation. Much less than deserved to say the least.

This album offers a straight forward blend of catchy melody and scathing intensity topped with cold and beautiful atmosphere.
The riffs consist mainly of fast and dynamic tremolo picked melodies to intensify the icy coldness that is the cornerstone of black metal.
Keyboards are used a fair bit in the background to improve on the atmosphere, as are acoustic guitar interludes, both with great result.
Drums differs between fast and middle tempo, double bass used very frequently. The drum sound has this eerie echo to it, much like most of the old black and death metal bands, which I love so much. It helps to give you the feeling it really does come from the deepest abyss.
Vocals range from throat-ripping high growls to a deeper, darker kind.
Bass is audible to some extent, although not prominent in any way.
Production are surprisingly clear considering the time it was recorded. This is not like the raw, Norwegian sound of Mayhem, Darkthrone or Satyricon.

The icy atmosphere Mörk Gryning creates are so captivating you can't help but listen to this album several times in a row. All songs follow the same formula and here lies also the only negative I can find. Individual songs are not as memorable as the album itself and here is where the aforementioned album by the bastardchild of Jon Nödveidt shines superior. This album is meant to be enjoyed as a whole and therefore I will not recommend any specific song and instead everyone of them. From beginning to end.

I recommend this album to fans of Dissection or anyone who likes black metal with emphasis on melody.

This is why I like black metal - 96%

The_Grand_Destructor, May 2nd, 2007

It is rather difficult these days, isn't it? To wade one's way through mounds upon mounds of "extreme metal" and finally find something actually worth a listen. Constantly, we find ourselves surrounded by, at best, the feed of Crap Ol' Filth kiddies and, at worst, flavour of the month for "people" who reckon Linkin Park are "liek sOoO metal hardxcore!"

And yet, every now and then, you stumble on something that makes it all feel so worthwhile. Perhaps its that elusive album tucked away behind yet-another-mallcore release. Perhaps its that band on Myspace you thought had a cool sounding name. Either way, these are the moments which make you feel at peace (or, more accurately, war). And, you know what? Mörk Gryning are just one of those bands.

I must say, when I booted this up to iTunes and hit the play button, I wasn't expecting great things. The name looked like a typical European black metal hard-to-say-and-lots-of-accents band...But after the intro, it soon becomes apparent these are not.

The best way of putting it is that this is what Cradle Of Filth should be. Its dark, brutal and relentless. The instrumentation is fantastic, the singing harsh-yet-pallatable, the use of female/choir voices apparent, yet not overdone. However, what really makes the difference (and inspires me to use Cradle as the example) is the fact that this is not too harsh on the ears. Its totally listenable. Perhaps melodic is a slight exaggeration, but it wouldn't be far off. The song structures are fantastic - they aren't predictable, but it doesn't make you stop and think "Y'what? What in Lucifer's name happened there?"

The atmosphere is built immaculately. It draws you in and keeps you there. Little things like the pattering of rain calmly complementing the sweet eeriness of Armageddon Has Come To Pass... Tension is constructed perfectly. And when the tension breaks, you are not disappointed. Everything about this album reeks pure brilliance.

My only real problem with the music is that its slightly repetitive. In saying that, is black metal ever not at least slightly? And its still miles better than its peers. My only real problem with the album (beyond that) is that its simply too damn short. Pulling in at 33 minutes 33 seconds, at the closing chords you are instantly left yearning for more. A real shame that this couldn't have been longer. But, they do have other albums I'll be checking out soon.

On the whole, if you do not own this album, your life is not complete. I understand its one of the harder releases to come across, but it really is worth the effort. Take the time (and money) to hunt this gem of brutal brilliance and forever be enchanted by its greatness.

An amazing underappreciated masterpiece - 98%

Resonancex88, February 15th, 2007

This CD left me speechless the first time I heard it; I was blown away. Many may not see or understand it on first listening but it's one of those things that will grow on you. With a sound a bit like dissection and dawn Mork Gryning pulls off a traditional blackened death sound with a unique quality of their own. With the initial keyboard intro that starts the CD you're hurled right into non stop crushing riffs composed mainly of melodic tremolo segments.

I heard this for the first time about 5 years ago and since then it has been and remained one of my all time favorite CD's. It just does not get boring. Admittedly some songs could be better; too short etc.

My favorite track is "Armageddon Has Come to Pass". One of the most memorable and haunting acoustic passages I have ever heard. Throw in the tranquil rain falling onto the green leaves of a forest and it makes for one hell of a song.