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Mordgrund > Gottlose Dunkelheit > Reviews
Mordgrund - Gottlose Dunkelheit

Surprisingly Good! - 80%

MRmehman, November 22nd, 2020

When I was first getting into metal, I somehow stumbled upon Mordgrund. I don't know exactly how or when, it may have possibly been through Metal Archive's random band button but I remember thinking at the time how "cool" I thought they were. Mordgrund's approach to black metal is raw, underground and simple - though even as a dumb teen who's experience with extreme metal was very limited, I realised they were well above average. Their music appealed to me in a way a surprising number of more popular and polished black metal bands simply didn't, though with time my interest sadly waned and I stopped listening to this album after a time. Just last night though, I decided to give this album a spin for old time's sake. Does it live up to my rose-tinted memories? I would certainly say so, yeah.

This EP is made-up of two pretty straight forward tracks. The first, the title-track is a scorching little bit of black metal perfection. Though the riffs sound simple at first, there's enough variation in them to lend the song structure a lot of credence. The contrast between the harsh opening riff and the more melodic second verse function as a well executed one-two punch that really pull you in. The playing also started standing out to me here. Mordgrund's riffs are dirty simple but they're clearly played with so much conviction and the tone is so good the band can really make them work. The drumming as well is superb too; dude never misses a beat. By the time the song ended, I'd been listening to this album for nearly 8 minutes and hadn't even noticed which is no small feet for a humble, early 2000s black metal EP by a more or less unknown band.

The second track (Sehnsucht nach Ewigkeit) starts very differently, giving you a tasteful guitar interlude to refresh your pallet ready for yet more cold black metal riffs. Once again Mordgrund's surprisingly adept song writing really shines though, giving this EP a kind of intensity and atmosphere many probably couldn't do on six tracks let alone two. In fact I think my only complaint is that this album isn't just a little bit longer. I'd even have taken a lazy cover stapled to the end of the track listing, I just need a couple more minutes to invest myself in all this top notch material. I have less to say about this track but that's only because it excels in the exact same ways the previous track does.

For as incredible as it was to have an album I used to adore hold up after all this time, I left this Gottlose Dunkelheit pretty disappointed Mordgrund never really took off or did much else past this. I've only heard a little of their full-length, though I'll have to check it out now after this. Even with that to look forward to, I wince at how unfortunately short and outdated Mordgrund's discography is, the band now having not released any material in a decade. Here's hoping they reconvene soon for another couple releases. That's something I'd throw a few goat's teeth towards.

In godless darkness - 77%

Felix 1666, August 9th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2003, 7" vinyl, Ostfront (Limited edition)

17 years ago, the German underground unit called Mordgrund released 300 copies of this 7”. I am happy that No. 174 leads a comfortable life while having a safe place on my shelf, only interrupted by an excursion to my turntable every now and then. Both “Gottlose Dunkelheit” and “Sehnsucht nach Ewigkeit” deliver generic black metal with a pretty complex and multi-layered song structure. Whirring guitars with a harsh basic tone form cold and lightless leads that dominate the sound of this vinyl. Neither the raw vocals nor the varied drumming can challenge the guitars. Especially the voice does not have adequate space. However, this blemish can be ignored, because underground productions do not suffer from imperfection – quite the opposite. In particular their little weaknesses give them their special charm, not always, but sometimes.

The here reviewed single with its wintery, stylish artwork is one of the pretty charming releases. The songs do not fall victim to a lack of substance. Instead, tehy are meticulously designed, energetic and uncover a surprising maturity for a then new band. Influences of the well-known role models are more or less a matter of course. The rolling leads of Darkthrone and the spooky atmosphere of early Mayhem are ingredients Mordgrund don’t want to miss in their own sound. They also master the art of creating minimal melodies that rather spread demonic vibes than pleasant harmonies. Thus, only a very small number of sequences is at risk to go nowhere. Usually, the formation stays on target. Summing up one can say that the cleverly and variedly arranged tracks avoid repetitiveness and boredom successfully.

Mordgrund’s last output - their only full-length - dates from 2010. From this follows that I am sceptical whether or not the band still exists. Moreover, it will probably difficult to find a copy of “Gottlose Dunkelheit” to buy. Nonetheless, if you are interested in typical, manually crafted Northern black metal, you should try to get in touch with this release and / or Mordgrund in general.

Pinnacle of German Black Metal - 92%

AverseSefira, January 5th, 2005

This band definatly was one of the biggest suprises for me that totally knocked me over. The total cold, crunchy guitar sound that reminds somewhat of the sound Euronymous used to have on De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, the totally desperate atmosphere the guitars manage to create somewhat alike burzum and the vocals shrieked in the typical german way akin to bands like bilskirnir and absurd just make this a true masterpiece. And although clear its influences, this band doesn't sound remotely like any of these bands. It creates a cold, aggressive style of its own.
It shouldn't suprise you that this band hails from the German underground, this isn't the hyperblasting or 'symphonic' satanic crap we get so often nowadays, instead they play raw fast-paced black metal with an atmospheric touch like that of bilskirnir.
The first song kicks in by the sound of a guitar note played that slowely fades away towards to sound of a amplifier squeak, Deimos kicks in a growl along with the drummer hitting the hi-hat. Then the song bursts into full-speed with a killer-riff played that makes you bang your head instantly. The drums gently blast their way through. Gently because this isn't your usual pedals-to-max snare-on-parkison-mode blasting. The drums are pushed somewhat to the background, and blast at a very mid-paced steady pace to create a perfect rhythm for the guitars to follow. Then the vocals kick in, also pushed somewhat on the background, and although screamed very clean you can only make out so much that it is German he must be screaming. With the drums pounding and the guitars roaring this creates an effect as if they are screams in the middle of a fierce snow-storm destined to fade away into oblivion. This isn't all Mordgrund had to over though, after one minute the song stops blasting (but without losing its speed and fury) and we get to hear some great drumming on top of the double base that keeps on pounding. In the whole seven-and-a-half minutes there is enough tempo-changes (ranging from mid-tempo to double base and blasting parts) and different riffs to keep you misanthrops satisfied. Then the second song kicks in which follows in the same vein as its precedor, with a lot of different riffs and tempo-changes without beeing a duplicate of the first song.
At the end of this review the drumming definatly need some special attention, although they're a bit faint in the mix (which only serves the sound right) they're some of the best I've heard in a while. All the time they offer great variation between hi-hat, cymbals, snare and tomtoms and even between tempo-changes, from blasting to double-base and mid-paced parts, the drummers doesn't screw a beat up and keeps on druming in a steady pace.

If you're a fan of the nowadays German black metal scene with bands like Bilskirnir, Fimbulvetr, Kargvint, Odal, Ulfsdalir you should be ashamed you haven't bought this!