When the black metal movement swept across Scandinavia many bands were able to define their artistry in this sub-genre. With the Swedish and the Norwegian melodic black metal bands such as Dissection, Sacramentum and Dimmu Borgir the music evolved towards melodic riffs with tremolo pickings. This method was very unique because it created a cold and dark atmosphere that suited the style of melodic black metal. This atmosphere also complimented the frosty nature of the Scandinavian countries while still keeping the music aggressive, evil and mostly centered on guitar melodies. The third generation of black metal bands have observed from the timeless and classic albums such as Dissection’s ‘The Somberlain‘, and Sacramentum‘s ‘Far Away from the Sun‘.
Murg, for instance, has created a mesmerizing and melodic album that reminds me of the elder bands such as Satyricon and Taake. A lot of moments here are attached to the principles of the 90s melodic black metal. The atmospheric effect is somewhat hazy, dark and cold at times. ‘Strävan‘ is the third album by the mysterious black metal band Murg which was formed in Bergslagen, Sweden by the duo Vargher and Urzul in 2015. In a span of four years, they produced three albums released between the years 2015 and 2016. The latest foray is vicious and unsophisticated with enough variety brought to each track on the album.
The first track ‘Ur myren’ is weaved by cold tremolos that form the grim majesty of the second wave of black metal. The guitars create a bleak landscape of pine forests and foggy meadows. There is a majestic feel to the lead guitars that sounds very catchy and accessible with beautiful tremolos and crushing drums beats. Murg illustrates a fine art and the display of melodies is very lavish and catchy. Each track has a sufficient amount of riffs and while the melodies encapsulate the prevailing atmosphere.
‘Strävan‘ and ‘Berget‘ are concentrated on bringing the true spirit of the second wave of black metal. Through these grim vocals and blasting drums, Murg brilliantly perfects their sound. With the uplifting guitar leads and Nordic majesty of frostbitten style. Vargher and Urzul combine the raw nature of black metal,yet there are sufficient amount of cold tremolos that sweeps through the eight tracks. The drums are lashed in fury, backed by raspy vocals and simultaneously engaged in aggressive riffing. ‘Strävan‘ has a raw production and the new tracks sound cold and bleak.
The album also reminds me of the Norwegian black metal band Djevel: the effort here is recognized by the grimy sound. ‘Korpen’ is fortified by fuzzy tremolo riffs led by the violent and shrieking growls. The track is built on a grim atmosphere and the guitars are centered on sharp riffs. What is even more staggering is that Murg brought so much intensity to their songs. That includes somber soundscapes and captivating melodies that are very emotive. Even though they emphasize aggression, the tracks are well-balanced. The thick guitar layering builds a huge wall of sound despite the grimy production which provides the album with a vintage aura.
‘Strävan‘ has both a modern and an old school sound. Its quality seemingly pursuits the pure Norwegian and the Swedish black metal sensibility. The direct influences from bands such as Darkthrone and Burzum have an effect on the music. Therefore, this album will likely appeal to many fans of old school black metal, ‘Strävan’ is a unique album that made use of the modern melodies. Albeit it’s the atmosphere which holds one’s attention. Murg depicts their work of art in a fascinating way. The band certainly falls under the category of old school black metal, other tracks like ‘Stenar ‘begin with a bleak atmosphere.
The skilled professionalism of the duo has resulted in a very impressive output. The final two tracks ‘Altaret’ and ‘Stjärnan‘ are both beautifully crafted with dark layered riffs and piercing vocals. The gloomy quality is achieved by the combination of raw black metal style topped with icy tremolo pickings. Murg‘s ability to shift through different tempos is really impressive: in one moment they fall into eerie darkness then move quickly into a fast tempo. And for this reason, I find the album to be very captivating and catchy at the same time. In our contemporary time there certainly many bands that follow the traditional style of black metal, but Murg recently has managed to find the right elements of the foreboding atmosphere that made this album sounds so grim.