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Mørke - Death Embraces You All (2018) - Review

Band: Mørke
Album title: Death Embraces You All
Release date: 30 January 2018
Label: Self-Released

01. My Desolate Lair
02. Death Embraces You All
03. Lost In The Darkest Veil Of Tragedies
04. Insanity
05. A Rosary's Lie
06. The Dark Prophecy
07. The Rose On Our Tomb
08. Sorgens Vrede
09. Conquered By The Thorns
10. Obscure Desire

In order to bring back the spirit of glorious days of gothic metal from 90s, Stig Johansen, known better as a former member of the legendary The Sins Of Thy Beloved, later involved also in the band Savn, together with Anders Thue, also from The Sins Of Thy Beloved, and Midnattsol vocalist Carmen Elise Espenæs, in 2015 formed the band Mørke, together with his wife, lyricist/vocalist Susanne Dahle Johansen. With Mørke the two are focusing mainly on the Scandinavian old-school 90s and early 2000s gothic metal. Death Embraces You All is their debut album and the two really brought back to life some of that spirit which was present back then.

Death Embraces You All is that kind of the album that we haven't heard for a long time, it shows that gothic metal is not just about deep melancholy and electro infused metal with refined vocals, this album is pure beauty and the beast kind of thing, like we admired back then on early works of Theatre Of Tragedy, Sirenia, Tristania and of course The Sins Of Thy Beloved to name a few most important ones. The music of Mørke was done completely by Stig, who is responsible also for the bleak and harsh side of the album with his harsh vocals that are on the very border of black metal. In contrast to his vocals, Susanne sings with a delicate and sensual high pitched voice that sometimes reminds to Liv Kristine in her early years. The vocals are quite well balanced and many times we can hear really captivating duets.

Musically Death Embraces You All is one hell of a heavy and intense album with absolutely dense instrumentation, raw sound of guitars, powerful drumming, strong rhythmic line, gothic synths and some classical insertions that make the whole thing quite atmospheric. Most of the time it's pretty melodic, but Mørke touches as well the extreme side of metal and this fact will of course please fans of extreme dark metal and black metal. All of the songs have pretty cold atmosphere and sometimes catchy rhythms are really staggering, like for example in my favorite track up here, "Death Embraces You All". What a fantastic vocal duet, the siren and the beast in perfect harmony, in a way romantic, sorrowful and what a catchy melody that has that necessary thing to remain in your head for quite some time after hearing it.

Stig and Susanne did really a good job, just listen how those thunderous lines and classical music insertions in "Conquered By The Thorns" and in the fantastic last one "Obscure Desire", perfectly goes together with all the darkness, sensuality, intensity and brutality offered by the two. Aggression, emotion and kind of a cold sorrowful feeling walk hand in hand throughout the entire album, yet Mørke don't serves with any technically complicated riffs and guitar leads, simple but powerful rhythms and song structures are not sophisticated, but what's most important, they are effective. They certainly bring in mind Theatre Of Tragedy' album Velvet Darkness They Fear with the tracks like "Lost In The Darkest Veil Of Tragedies" and "Insanity", while "A Rosary's Lie" resembles in many ways to Tristania's Widow's Weed. The only thing that I can count as a minus is that the majority of the songs more or less follow the same patterns and after a while it might become a bit boring.

Nevertheless, Death Embraces You All is a success, and even if it's musically based on 90s Scandinavian gothic metal, there's kind of freshness, mostly because of the fact that Mørke are not just a mere copycat, but are able to make their own distinguishable sound. Maybe the production could be a bit more clean and with more depth, but still, songs like is the opener "My Desolate Lair", before mentioned album title track and of course the closing one, "Obscure Desire", are some of the gems that shouldn't go by unnoticed by fans of gothic metal. All in all, Mørke's Death Embraces You All is a stunning album that I'll most certainly put on my player yet many times and it shouldn't be missed by lovers of gothic metal like it used to be.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 7,5/10