How often have I read about bands being "post-apocalyptic", how many bands in metal have sung about nuclear holocaust and the demise of the modern world. Most of them however, live in the west and have since World War II never experienced the atomic dread. Their existential sorrows I share, however, us people of the West have never experienced the brutality that modern science and the development of economy in an ex-soviet state can create.
Ukraine's Agruss present their album "Morok" as a testament to the havoc that modernism, be it capitalist, communist or a synthesis of both, can wreak on human, animal and plant life. They do so by combining black metal and grindcore in a vicious fusion.
As a seasoned listener of both styles of metal, by the first listen I was put off when black metal riffing abruptly breaks off its creating of desolate aural atmosphere to devolve into grindcore style breaks. If they had just kept the gridcore out, "Morok" might have been a nice melancholic black metal album, or so I thought.
Black metal represents nature and grindcore represents brutal soviet behemoths intruding therein. By the next couple of listens, "Morok" turned out to be a grower. Sure, there are some technical aspects to critizise, predominantly the filters on the black metal screeches, but other than that, what we have here is a fusion of two styles of extreme music that in the beginning seems like just another vain attempt of being creative but reveals itself full of substance. Sadly, all lyrics are Ukrainian and will not be translated so I will need to focus on the music alone.
Take the most melancholic, carried Gorgoroth style riffing, add some Dying Fetus hooks and heavy Cattle Decapitation breaks and another dose of Cradle of Filth guitar leads (old Cradle… that is) and you get an approximation of Agruss' sound. As the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, with their heartfelt emotions, a great piece of metal is forged.
Rating: 4.5 / 6
Composed by Lennard Bertram