Released date: November 30th, 2008
Genre: Black Metal
Label: Unsigned / Independent
Here we have the debut self-titled full-length record of the Filipino one-man black metal act Morkhgrat. Now if you fellas haven’t heard of the band yet, Morkhgrat was formed by an iniquitous entity called Zargoth back 2007 in Laguna, Philippines. Morkhgrat‘s music hover’s close to the Norwegian black metal scene, especially to early 90s Darkthrone sound, but only a bit burnished, less frosty, and more vexed. With that mentioned, I am pretty sure that fans of the Norse sound will dig this malignant and foul opus.
Packed with blasphemous raspy vocals, rumbling guitar tone with fuzzy swirling guitar riffs, and explosive intense drumming; this full-length offering will feed those demons dwelling inside its listeners quite satisfied. The tracks in here have that hazy and distorted guitar tone which gives it that aggressive sharpness that most enthusiasts of raw and unrestrained black metal music are looking for in a BM material. Listeners will find an evident amount of thrash metal riffs which are inimitably fused with some handful of customary BM riffs consisting mostly of oscillating power chords and tremolo picking in this offering,
Despite the fuzzy guitar sound, we can still patently hear the other instruments in the album. The bass line, which we can hear just shadowing and following beneath the evil crushing guitar riffs, is sometimes out of earshot but it still is noticeable. One might also notice that the drumming goes a bit blaring in some moments in the album, that tends to happen when the drum department is programmed, but it doesn’t really cause bad repercussions on the effectiveness that the drum section brings to the table in this record. The drum patterns are those of the unpretentious no-frills hammering and it follows that routine classic black metal drum beats which always produces a satisfying result, especially for fans of old-school Norse BM records.
The vocal department of the record has the same characteristics and qualities as those of the early Norse black metal bands that Zargoth is clearly paying homage to this offering. It has that horrendously ice cold, harsh, and bleak rasped vocal delivery which is accompanied with lyrics about war, religion, abhorrence, and unknown entities. There are times in the album where the vocal area stands high and proud above anything else in the mix and those moments certainly showcases the intense hatred that Zargoth wants to transmit to his listeners in this offering.
I also dig the semi-polished and moderately pro-sounding production of this material. It lingers in that unsoiled state, yet it also implies and celebrates the ugliness of the unconcealed BM production on its surface. Some might complain that the recording process done here had taken away that primal blasphemous atmosphere of the album, but it totally works fine for me because the savagery and hostility that Morkhgrat wants to stir up in this material are in full effect.
On the whole, this self-titled Morkhgrat debut is a hale and hearty specimen of an impertinently profane black metal album. The record simply displays the genre’s beauty and true essence through its ugliness and animalistic nature. There are only a number of few bands these days who are able to mimic this style without sounding like utter crap, and Morkhgrat is one of that few. This extremely intense opus deserves a place in every extreme music fans’ collection rack.