Agruss - Morok
Code666 Records
9 songs (01:06:19)
Release year: 2012
Agruss, Code666 Records
Reviewed by Charles
Surprise of the month
Metal has long taken all sorts of stupid shit as its muse over the years, but Agruss go somewhere a little darker and a little more real than most. From Rivne in Ukraine, they grew up in uncomfortable proximity to the site of the Chernobyl meltdown, a catastrophe of incalculable proportions which they (or at least, their press representatives) claim as a key inspiration behind their music. Hell, code666 are even releasing Morok on the 26th anniversary of the event. If it’s going to live up to this sort of symbolism, it had better be a pretty fucking grim album.

Well, it is. Though perhaps not in the way those more used to associating Ukrainian extreme metal with blackened purism might expect. Agruss tilt fluently from one extreme metal dialect to another. Their native language might seem to be a less theatrical take on the melodically-inclined blackened death of Belphegor, but there are a number of other influences here contributing to a uniquely foul vocabulary. In particular (and if this causes you to lose interest, I would advise you- don’t) Morok is laden with the kind of clanking deathcore grooves that have become somewhat trendy in recent years. Normally I don’t tend to go for that sort of thing, but the tongues in which this record speaks are so virulently doused in phlegm and spittle that these sections of leaden thudding work perfectly as retching interjections. Taken as a whole, it is horribly impressive to listen to.

The earth-shaking power of Agruss’s sound owes to its squelchingly multi-layered black metal guitar tones, the imposingly technical drumming, and most distinctively the dual vocals, which vie in repulsive fashion between horridly deep gurgle and ghastly scream. The album derives a further layer of filth from the ambient sound effects that infest the gaps between tracks, like the Silent Hill spookiness that commences When the Angels Fall, or the hissing steam that is the first thing you hear on album opener Damnation. But this pestilential material is also sculpted into some cruelly powerful songs. Punishment for All is a screeching blast of up-tempo death-thrash reminiscent of The Berzerker. Ashes of the Future and When the Angels Fall brutally stitch together vomitingly technical beatdowns and screaming black metal melodies; a vile experiment in non-denominational misery. And then, immediately after, Under the Snow part I (part of a lengthy trilogy that closes the record) emerges as gracefully sad melodeath. Whatever this album is, it is not a happy one.

Morok is at times thuggishly simplistic, and at other points obtuse and abstract (see the slow-burning murk of 17 minute final track Under the Snow part III). It is thus a deeply multifaceted album that belies its status as a debut. If its freewheeling approach to composition makes it seem a youthful record, it is permeated by a gloomy atmosphere that would elude most funeral doom or DSBM veterans. Noteworthy.

Killing Songs :
Ashes of the Future, When the Angels Fall, Under the Snow III>
Charles quoted 88 / 100
1 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 1 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:43 am
View and Post comments