Morker - Hostmakter
Northern Silence Productions
Black Metal
12 songs (49'35")
Release year: 2008
Northern Silence
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

With the smaller independent labels you could tell that more heart is poured into their releases. Even then, some bands feel like a jewel of the label’s eye, sometimes you can almost tell by how the promo description is written. Morker seems to be that band for Northern Silence, not to diminish the rest of the label’s talented roster. The label went after the signing of this Swedish dark troupe ever since they put out a demo, and stuck with the collective ever since. Morker progressed and is now returning the favor, in the form of multifaceted and heartfelt Hostmakter (Powers of Autumn).

While not the most of experimental or raw black metal stylings, Hostmakter is a strong self- and nature-immersed effort, reminiscent of the second wave of Scandinavian black metal, when Satan faded away being the lyrical centerpiece, and the powers of Norse surroundings began to exert influence. The comparison with early Dimmu Borgir probably still valid, Morker knows how to position blast and chaos tremolo next to melodic beauty (Mitt Arv). Many songs on Hostmakter feature fast melodic picking (Segertag), but the band often changes pace, time signatures and riffing patterns, sometimes on the dime (I Flodens Forsande Brus), in other instances letting double bass might gain on deep acoustic sound (Dodsangest). Showcasing the variety, some, more melodic, moments almost sound like early Gothenborg and Dark Tranquillity, while others are more grating, peaking with Horna-like riffs on Sjalen Vandrar Sin Egen Vag. Not necessarily grim, but definitely remote and unattached, aided by the forest-like vocals, the music is captivating. Morker know how to “ride a riff”, so to speak, often clutching onto a chord sequence and repeating it to a trance-like effect (Segertag, title track). An interesting twist is folk melody oriented passages, Djupa Spar Av Tvivel developing into a dark shamanistic festival in the woods. Those moments, along with short beautiful instrumentals, like the falling rain of Undergangen, take Hostmakter on the journey half-way across the globe, strongly reminding me of Pacific Northwest Agalloch of the Pale Folklore period and more straightforward Wolves in the Throne Room, one of my favorite black metal subgenre.

The early works of Morker had a criticism of including too much of keyboard/synthesizer sound. I can’t say the same about Hostmakter. The album is very much guitar oriented with keyboards playing the supporting and accentuating role. Synths are like the colorful threads embedded into the ancient warrior braids on this album (I Kamp Mellan Liv och Dod, Mitt Arv). Speaking of the war themes, although many songs on Hostmakter are proud odes delivered with conviction and warrior marches are present (Dodsnagest), the setting is a lot more about nature where the troops reside in harmony than their military escapades.

Not that it takes away much from the album, but I felt it could be a little shorter, a bit more succinct. The palette tends to run a little together, especially towards the end where even delightful instrumentals Falk and Nar Allt Ar Over do not quite keep the attention unwavering.

Hostmakter is my strong recommendation for nature-tinged autumnal black metal, where the feeling is conveyed throughout, not only through the synth effects or obligatory intro/outro.

Killing Songs :
I Flodens Forsande Brus, Djupa Spar Av Tvivel
Alex quoted 80 / 100
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