October 21, 2020 Mörk Gryning – Hinsides Vrede (Album Review)
An absolute monument of Swedish Black Metal, Mörk Gryning began their infernal assault way back in 1993 during the genre’s heady formative years. After a ten year span which included five high-quality full-length albums, the band took a break for about a decade. Luckily for fans of aural extremity, the duo of founding Multi-instrumentalists Goth Goron and Draakh Kimera have returned and on October 23, 2020, they will unleash into the universe their sixth studio album. Entitled Hinsides Vrede, the results of their work will be available via the excellent Season of Mist record label.
In English, the album title Hinsides Vrede translates to ‘beyond peace.’ Evidently, there is a fair amount of brilliant Heavy Metal out there beyond peace, and fans will be instantly rewarded as soon they press play. Older, wiser, and tapping the ancient vein of true Black Metal, opening salvo “Fältherren” explodes from the speakers in waves of blast beats and suitably icy riffing. Breakneck thrash elements pervade the sound as well, conjuring a juicy maelstrom done the old way.
Where Mörk Gryning first distinguishes themselves on the album, the moment where harsh atmospheres collide with superb songwriting, occurs on the anthem “Infernal.” The main riff is a stunner, repeating and flowing in amazing fashion. In more mid-paced fashion, the thirst of fans of melodic Black Metal will be quenched on “A Glimpse of the Sky.” The use of clean vocals is well-placed here, being present enough to evoke a nocturnal, victorious atmosphere while not taking over the song.
Hinsides Vrede could have easily been an example of a veteran band who knows their own formula and stays within those lines. No one would blame them. First album since reforming and all that, but Mörk Gryning does not appear interested in painting by numbers. While it isn’t a stretch to compare their output here to something similar to what their countrymen Naglfar are doing, the music dwells in the same forest but is a different sort of tree. The structure of “The Night,” for example, is yanked up into a realm of crystalline fury in the middle – the riffs breathe on their own, and the unique atmosphere of classic Dissection is felt before another set of understated, clean vocals appear as a backdrop.
“Without Crown” marries catchy vocal lines to a superb set of riffs in such a way as to remind us all that even almost thirty years later, this music can be freshened by musicians of inspiration once more. Here the clean vocals come in a most melodic and daresay, calm fashion. Fury returns soon after, with the main riff of the song coming back in a big way. It is the sort of composition that makes the listener want to learn to play the guitar.
For all the cemetery-at-night aural histrionics one could want from Black Metal, “Black Spirit” hits every gravestone. Dripping with mystical power, beset with hooks and even a ‘whoa-oh-oh’ set of backing vocals throughout. Most certainly, this is one of the strongest songs on the album. The album concludes with a piano interlude called “On The Elysian Fields,” which is something a lot of Black Metal bands seem to have gotten away from, and is a nice way to end a fantastic journey.
The world of extreme metal and black metal in particular is fortunate that the vintage and vibrant Mörk Gryning has returned to the fold. Their understanding of what can be done in the realm of this music is a welcome reminder that old school songwriting and production values never actually gets old if it is done right. And this band does it right. For that reason, Cryptic Rock gives Hinsides Vrede 4.5 out of 5 stars.