May 162023

(Andy Synn invites you all to experience the auditory horror of Morkera‘s new album, Aggravations)

Let me start by saying that Entangled Excavations, the debut album from Croatia’s Morkera was a truly nasty piece of work (in the best possible way), and although it didn’t make my Top Ten of 2022 it was most definitely one of my favourite new discoveries of the year, and the fact that I didn’t get chance to give it a full write up is still something I deeply regret.

But, lo and behold, I now have a chance to make up for this egregious omission because just last week the band released their second full-length – proving that there really is no rest for the wicked!

When compared to its predecessor there’s no question that Aggravations is an altogether uglier and more unfriendly record, with what little polish that Entangled Excavations possessed having been thoroughly stripped away to reveal the cracked, crooked bones and exposed, mangled muscle beneath the surface.

As a result of this songs like ravenous opener “Blind Obedience” and its even more contorted companion “Torrid Host” sit somewhere between the angular, abrasive technicality of Serpent Column and latter-day Deathspell Omega and the grim, grimy dissonance practiced by similarly avant-garde artists like Acausal Intrusion and Out of the Mouth of Graves, bombarding your eardrums with an almost unceasing torrent of delirium-inducing drum work and razor-edged riffs whose ragged edges and jarring, jaggedly-angled rhythms (in the latter track especially) work to carve out a series of strange, insidious shapes from all the malevolent murk.

What’s perhaps most surprising about this album, however – despite its sheer sonic savagery and seemingly flagrant disregard for anything resembling traditional songwriting – is just how deceptively, even disgustingly, hooky it is in places, and dedicated listeners will soon find themselves just as enraptured by the gloomy, hypnotic grooves of “Intercessors” and the bleak, melodic menace of “Swelled Cracks” as they are by the frenzied assault of “Degradation Wage”.

Make no mistake about it though, it definitely does take a certain amount of commitment and dedication to fully unlock the more devious depths of this record – at first you may simply find yourself marvelling at the cathartic intensity of the warped, almost inhuman vocals and the blistering, barely-controlled chaos of the music – but dig a little deeper, and open yourself up to the possibility that there’s more going on here than meets the eye (or ear) and you’ll soon uncover the monstrous method behind the band’s madness.

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