Morbikon, Ov Mournful Twilight (Tankcrimes, 2022)

While I don't remember the first time I ever heard a band that was described as "black metal," I know an early intrigue for the genre and associated bands was the mysterious and occasionally austere persona of the bands themselves.

As I began finding out about early favorites like Emperor and Satyricon, I also found showmanship and presentation to be a characteristic I respected about many bands.

From what I can tell, it is some of these same elements that inspired Phil "Land Phil" Hall to work on the songs that would become Ov Mournful Twilight, the debut his new band Morbikon. 

Extreme metal as a sub-genre is now approaching a time when depending upon who you determine as the "first" band to rightfully claim the label, we have around 30 to 40 years' worth of music to discuss. It might be hard to believe that for some, but I think it makes sense when you consider how world history in general has often been a source of materials time and time again for metal music.

As you'll see if you watch the animated video for "Universal Funeral," which Phil also directed and animated himself, medieval elements along with imagery that would feel at home in a horror classic are the exhumed remains used to bring this song to life. I can't help but wonder what a Beavis and Butt-Head segment would be like with the "Universal Funeral" video.

Joining Phil in Morbikon is his Municipal Waste bandmate and overall drumming titan (IMO) Dave Witte as well as Mathias "Vreth" Lillmåns of the bands Finntroll and "...And Oceans." Their combined talents offer plenty of ear candy that will recall some of the most frostbitten guitar riffs to ever keep you awake at night.

If you're at all familiar with Dave Witte's drumming, his talent for serving the song and never falling into the trap of overplaying is what hooks you in rhythmically whether during a more chaotic blast or a mid-tempo galloping riff.

Photo: Marc Birr

I make a point to not recycle journalist tropes when I describe music whether in conversation or writing, but I can't deny that Vreth's vocals sound as tortured and evil as ever; his raspy screams, breathy hissing, and primal growls grab your attention like a cold breeze on your neck. 

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Tagged: morbikon, municipal waste