(Andy Synn continues his ongoing love-affair with Morokh, whose new album was released just last week)
Having written about Morokh several times before, I probably don’t need to spend much time introducing them (if you’re looking for a primer then check out what I wrote about their two most recent releases here and here).
And the fact that I’m not wasting any time with some sort of long-winded intro is even more appropriate when you consider how quickly the band themselves cut to the chase on their new album, Insomnia.
If there’s one thing that quickly becomes clear listening to this album it’s that – from the moment the torrential riffs and tumultuous drums of “Prophecy” kick in, through to the final colossal chords of “Possessed” – Morokh have now fully established themselves as an unapologetic “Black Metal” band (albeit, one whose all-killer, no-filler, in-your-face approach is a testament to their nights spent honing their craft in the dingy basements and dive bars of the Hardcore scene).
At the same time – perhaps paradoxically – the fact that the group have finally settled into their own grim skin so well means that they now obviously feel more able to expand the scope of their sound a little bit (see, for example, the evocative clean vocals which add an extra touch of bleak majesty to tracks like “Paludes Mortis” and the aforementioned “Prophecy”) and give their songs a little more breathing room (with the ambitiously atmospheric “The Way to Eternity” stretching all the way to the nine-minute mark ) without losing any of their characteristic intensity or adrenaline-spiking aggression.
That doesn’t mean that Morokh are reinventing the wheel here by any means – the cathartic combination of blistering fury and keening melody underpinning caustic cuts like “Hunger” and the scorching title-track, for example, should definitely appeal to any fans of artists like Wiegedood and Der Weg Einer Freiheit – but there’s definitely a sense here that the band have truly come into their own, and become all the more powerful in the process.
Beyond that, however, the vicious urgency and venomous darkness (with the gargantuan, gloom-shrouded strains of “Endless Void” in particular taking the band to an even darker place than ever before) permeating every seething riff, every monstrous groove, and every moody, doom-laden chord pattern speaks volumes about Morokh as a band who, after being refused a seat at the Black Metal table for so long, have now made it impossible to ignore them any longer.