I remember this band getting a shitload of good press over at blackmetal.com when this album was released back in 2003, and I have to admit that my curiosity was quite piqued. After some strenuous searching I finally managed to procure myself a copy, and much to my delight I have to say that all the positive buzz was and is well justified. “Skogen Kaller” is a remarkably potent Black Metal album, with a rich and varied sound that manages to mesh the best aspects of both utterly raw and somewhat more melodic and/or progressive Black Metal into a coherent and, yes, evil whole that kept me enthralled all the way through. Like many BM bands, MASSEMORD is a duo comprised of Lord Hastur (guitars, drums - he has since left the band) and an Italian fellow by the name of Der Henker (vocals) - although various members have been involved in one way or another over the years - and one that easily blows most other bands of this ilk out of the water! Can you tell that I’m digging this shit right here?
Like I said, the sound is quite rich and throughout the duration of this album you will get everything from traditional tremolo picked riff fests to droning hypnotic passages to avant-garde weirdness, all wrapped in a very upfront production job that highlights every blood-curdling croak and every razor sharp riff. MASSEMORD obviously set out to create an album that invokes the darkest of mental images but where most bands rely on safe repetition to achieve this, this band is not above traversing many of the genre’s different and unsettling paths to reach it’s end destination, a place where groove meets grind, and where bewildering evil rests alongside more serene ambient soundscapes. Yes, this album is multi-faceted but the insistent vocal onslaught coupled with the grind of the guitars ensures that no one will mistake this for anything but pure Black Metal. It just has a bit more variety to it, that’s all. In musical terms I could compare the sound of MASSEMORD (which translates to “mass murder” BTW...), to “Wolf’s Lair Abyss” MAYHEM meets “Through Chasm, Caves And Titanwoods” CARPATHIAN FOREST meets KVIST. It’s riff-heavy, surprisingly catchy at places, drenched in fitting lush soundscapes but still very dark and necro at heart. Tracks like “Solen Skinner Ikkje”, “Skogen Kaller Og Vi Svarer” and the brilliant “Demon Storm” act as perfect examples of this band’s abilities, and they should sate the infernal thirst of any fan of extreme music.
Hell, this album is amazing in so many ways and the best thing is that it kept me engaged from the first note to the last. There is always a solid riff waiting after every melodic interlude and a haunting vibe lurking in every melodic nuance. For such an obscure band this is utterly impressive stuff, and there exists no doubt in my mind that this band stands at the cusp of brilliance, even though this will appeal mainly to fans of underground music. They have released another full-length and a slew of split releases after this album but this one remains their magnum opus in my opinion. You owe it to yourself to get this album straight away!
(Online August 13, 2008)