Mar 102014

It is said, and rightfully so, that music tells a story unlike any other art form. It interacts directly with our subconscious, evoking emotions and inspiring images and narratives without any conscious interpretation. It connects with memories and it fosters fantasies of things never actually experienced. Lyrics actually get in the way of this process. It’s better if you can’t make out the words, which may be one reason why I like extreme metal so much.

I listen to Sorgestadens Nycklar, the debut EP by Sweden’s Mortifera, and I smell the evergreens, feel the bite of a cold wind, hear the slap of leggings against horsehide and the rattle of blades in their scabbards. My spine is jolted by the gallop, my blood accelerating with the charge. Axes fall, blood flows, songs of victory are sung near a blazing fire under the constellations of the far north.

The music is both warlike and melodic, the kind of black metal (with some death metal elements) that incorporates folk-like airs and that some might term “pagan metal”. An entrancing acoustic melody begins the EP and piano bars end it. In between, the music races, or falls into a stately march. Rapid-fire riffs display impressive technical chops and blasting drums drive the rhythms into a gallop, while at other times layered guitar leads carry the music into a landscape where sagas are born.

There are only three songs on the EP — “Vid Graven”, “Förgänglighetens Dans”, and “Where Shadows Never Come To Rest” — but they are enough to signal that Mortifera are a band worth watching. Listen to them below.

Thanks to Gorger for recommending this auspicious debut to me.


  1. “All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.” Walter Pater, “The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry,” 1873

    (I originally read a paraphrase of this as “Music is what all other art forms aspire to be,” but I had no idea of the source. Your opening paragraph inspired me to finally try to find the source of the quote.)

  2. awesome! i particularly enjoyed “Where Shadows Never Come To Rest” 🙂

  3. I dig. Gotta find more good folky black metal like this.

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