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For those who hate the new Nortt - 60%

oneyoudontknow, July 9th, 2011

Nortt meets black metal. Nortt meets slow black metal. To be more precise, Morgh plays a mixture of several aspects of Nortt’s music combined. You have the bell from Ligfærd album as well the distinct dominance and impact of the drums; especially Tilforn Tid should be mentioned. Morgh somehow shamelessly took these facets and used them for their own art and even though the elaboration has become by no means full circle, their combination on A Cold Trip is as such as to give a good impression of the band’s capabilities. Unlike the Danish band the American’s oeuvre consist of more facets and a broader attempt; Over a Frozen Fire comes with some faster double bass parts for instance. Aside from this the similarities are striking: take the vocals, take the sound – without the guitars – and the drums. You cannot possibly ignore it or ‘overlook’ it, in case you are aware of the Scandinavian band.

What makes this release interesting nonetheless, is the way in which the ideas were executed. First of all the compositions surprisingly short; 2:42; 2:56; 4:18; 3:36; 4:01. Then the atmosphere lacks this overdone – or done to death – wankering about how miserable life can be, this depressive and hardly endurable tone a lot of bands find so wonderful to cherish these days. A Cold Trip is a cold trip; it is nothing but black art, but there is a clear emphasis on the guitars, which come with some really nice solo parts, and everything else is merely something of a minor impact. No endless keyboard motives, no pointless drone/ambient texture in the background … Morgh play metal and leave no doubt about this.

It is a bit hard to point to an aspect that should be elaborated further, because then the band might be tempted to venture into the regions of the Cypriote Dictator or the aforementioned Nortt. This type of music is generally a slippery slope, because the mere choice to play music in a slower way will fascinate no one today anymore and also the idea to add ambient elements into the art has proven to be a bad choice; the examples are legion for this. Should Morgh compose longer songs, should a bit more complexity be a solution to venture out of the currently stalemate-like condition? It is a bit hard to say … and I would give no definite judgement. Well, short tracks can also have their advantage.

In short: if you think the latest development of Nortt gives you ear-cancer, then Morgh might offer you not only a sedative but also a fresh and welcome interpretation of the funeral doom / black metal branch.

Based on a review originally written for ‘A dead spot of light (Number 6)’: