PICK OF THE WEEK: Mystery-laced duo Murg unleash traditional black metal power on ‘Gudatall’

murgToday is a monumental day, as it means we have come to the end. Not of the site. Stop celebrating. No, we’ve come to the end of the review year here at Meat Mead Metal, and we have one final Pick of the Week for you to sink your teeth into before we overdose in year-end coverage starting next week. So why not talk about something jointly released by two labels we like a whole lot?

Bindrune Recordings and Nordvis Produktion have become reliable partners, releasing exciting new underground music that sounds as good in a forest as it does over your headphones. Hell, there’s a T-shirt celebrating the labels’ relationship, and they cap off 2016 with another good one, “Gudatall,” the second effort from Swedish black metal duo Murg. This is a guess that this is a duo, as they don’t publicly release their identities. But their promo shots contain shadowy images of two figures, so we’ll go with that. They debuted last year with their interestingly titled concept album “Varg & Bjorn,” and now, a year and a half later, they’ve offered up this eight-track, 45-minute opus of traditional black metal that pays homage to the sub-genre’s roots but doesn’t paint by numbers. The album is crushing and exciting, a stampeding fury that comes for your head but also is very enthralling.

CDBO04.pdfThe title track gets things started with morbid tones and guitars slowly awakening before it rips open with a fury. The music is spacious, though it walks hand-in-hand with punishment, while the vocals pierce the flesh as things end in fiery chaos. “Sorgeblot i gångarna” has pained, wrenching vocals that pull the song into a pool of blackness. The song itself is raspy and melodic, with riffs churning, the pace pummeling, and everything swirling in a tornado. “Djupt ner, där frosten inte biter” has a clean beginning, but darkness is looming on the horizon. The guitars are dusty for a stretch before the song bursts into flames, and the riffs are spirited. The guitars spill down, while the thick fog rises, and that misty atmosphere piles up and barrels into a crashing ending that lets smoke pour. “Den siste i brödraskapet” has strong melodies lapping and an understated ambiance. Savage shrieks arrive as the cut builds momentum then takes a weird turn in the opposite direction. Some clean tones bring serenity, but it’s not long before the cut stampedes toward the finish line.

“Mästarens resa i mörkret” is full of guitar madness and epic riffs, with the full load unleashing violence and harsh shrieks cutting at your flesh. Jarring shifts keep your bones crunching together, while the music later takes on the feel of a rain shower, soaking the ground beneath you and leaving you struggling in the mud. “Vargens ständiga vakan” is the longest song at 7:28, starting with waters rushing and guitars chiming and entrancing. As the band comes to life, meaty thrashing is unleashed, while wild howls slash away at you like a cold wind. Pace changes keep things unpredictable, with the skies darkening and melodies looping to leave you in a pall of confusion. “Midnattsmässan” is a shorter blast, with the guitars leading the charge and sounds rupturing, then cascading. The song smothers with dramatics before crushing the way toward closer “Törstens kval.” There, guitars drizzle while riffs gush blood, pushing the pace as hard as possible, with vicious snarls adding insult to injury. But as the song builds toward its finish, the elements sprint into the stratosphere, filling your lungs with cold air. From there, riffs trudge, and the music feels like water flowing into a larger, massive body of water.

Murg’s second record may be arriving very late in the year, but it’s perfect fodder for when the days are darker longer, and the weather chills your bones. “Gudatall” is a great follow-up effort for this mysterious duo, and it fills the gap in our hearts for true, honest black metal. We always want to end the year on a strong note, and Murg’s music hammers an exclamation point at the end of 2016.

For more on the band, go here: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Murg/3540394429

To buy the album, go here: https://store.nordvis.com/

Or here: http://bindrunerecordings.com/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.nordvis.com/

And here: https://thecollectivedistro.com/