Released: 26th July 2019
Byrne (NO) – Last year when I first joined Lyrical Spell Magazine, my first review was for the debut album “Death Embraces You All” by the Norwegian gothic metal band Mørke, a new band that promises to revive the old school of the 90s gothic metal genre in the veins of bands such as Tristania, Theatre of Tragedy, and The Sins of thy Beloved.
I was impressed by the album as it was done by only a married couple; Stig Johansen, known as the ex-drummer for The Sins of thy Beloved, and his wife Susanne Dahle. After being well-acquainted with Susanne, I had finally got the chance to interview her back in January to talk about their sophomore album “Melancholia” and the songwriting process as a two-member project without a label. The album was originally planned to be released in late January, but was pushed back so that Mørke can have more time with the music and give it their 110%.
The Evil of Mankind
From Dusk to Ashes
The Autumn Bride
Set Svarte Slør
The Veiled Secret
Beginning with “The Evil of Mankind”, we are give a mournful violin opening which soon is joined in with heavy gothic metal by the pounding drums in a really fast tight-pacing and the rising growls of Stig Johansen. When we reach the first verse of the music, rhythmic and very haunting when we hear the ghostly voice of Susanne whose beautiful high notes will remind you of Anita Auglend, giving the classic The Sins of thy Beloved vibes, the music ends with the two voices in a contrasting unison in gothic chants, giving you expectations on what’s this album targets. Dark romantic soundscape follows in “From Dusk to Ashes” which goes more for a more doom pace, with the addition of a nice piano melody to the melancholic atmosphere and “Macabre” with a nice build of guitar shreds in duet with the cold string arrangements. The pacing that unfolds can put listeners in a headbang with the organ that plays is the main spotlight, giving the classical aesthetic in gothic music. Blasting in with black metal comes “The Autumn Bride”, a track of a much quicker pace while “Your Mortality” roots to the true nature of gothic music while touching the extremities of metal with very dense instrumentation of powerful drums in contrast to Susanne’s delicate voice.
Melodic rhythms unleashes itself in “Sanatorium” with piano keys that flows gracefully against the heavy treble riffs and “Malleus Maleficarum” resembles to music of Tristania’s gothic compositions from “Widow’s Weeds”, but with more sorrow done by Mørke’s magic. “Det Svarte Slør” is some truly Norwegian “blvck” metal, aside that it’s sung in their mother tongue. The song has a lot of back and forth going on with the tempo, going harsh along the brutal growls of Stig, and then rhythmic lines of deep melancholy with the angelic voice. Closing the album is “The Veiled Secret”, combine every dark element into one track from the cold violin strings, thunderous drums, and “beauty and the beast” vocals, a true black romance of a song.
As someone who’s really fond of the 90s gothic metal music, I’m glad that Mørke exists in this time while other bands that were once gothic fade away to existence, though this album has been delayed a few times, it was worth it! The production is a big improvement from the last album and you can hear the voice a lot better and the hear the heavy bass of the song.