~reviewed by Joel Steudler
I'm not entirely sure that drummers -particularly those belonging to death metal / black metal bands- are actually human. In fact I would hardly be surprised to learn that somewhere in the frozen wastes of Norway (which lie beyond the cold, cold forests) there stands a factory. In this factory, drummers are constructed out of advanced cybernetic parts, meticulously machine crafted and programmed by the highest technology Scandanavia has at its disposal, and ultimately issued to each new extreme metal band to be spawned from the icy northern tundras. Of course, you have your occasional abberations.. like Horgh from Immortal (who clearly is descended of ancient Yeti, and not built out of unrelenting steel)... but I'd be willing to bet that Myrkskog has to thoroughly oil and clean their drummer, Secthdamon, between performances to prevent him from overheating and siezing up. There's no way that anyone human could possibly hammer out the stacatto blasts that issue from his drumkit, retorting like machine gun fire underneath the onslaught of chaos that the Norweigan group expels from their instruments.
In fact, I'd really like to know what Secthdamon's drums are made of. NASA could likely use the material as advanced impact shielding on their spacecraft. With the pounding 'ol Secth continuously puts on his skins, Im amazed the band ever managed to get through recording a full song without him splitting them wide open. Or he himself splitting wide open, for that matter. Maybe they have some sort of high intensity energy-bar they eat for breakfast in Norway... Or perhaps Secth is juiced up on premium-grade diesel fuel, if my hypothesis is true and he is a DrumBot MkII Z3000.
Enough of that, though, for a band is not made of drums alone. Myrkskog is no exception, having a guitarist/vocalist and bassist as well. It's really quite remarkable that three guys with relatively unexceptional tools -common musical instruments- can make such a ruckus. The eight tracks on 'Superior Massacre' (which are sandwiched by a relatively throwaway intro and outro) are loud, fast, and intense. Engaging yet discordant riffs propel the music along at its breakneck pace, occasionally making way for short bursts of nimble soloing. Destructhor is indeed a talented guitarist, both in terms of his ability to write disharmonious, skittering leads and churning rhythms. His vocals are a bit more pedestrian, being of the garden variety 'low growler' genus. Nonetheless they serve their purpose well, indicating that perhaps you wouldn't want to run into Mr. Destructhor in a dark alley. Or in broad daylight, if you value your health and posessions.
I'd comment on the bass, but other than a constant low pulsing it's not terribly noticeable. It may be that upon careful listening, the potentially elaborate patterns being played by Demariel would become apparent, but I'm sure as hell not putting on headphones to listen to this. I have more albums to review this month, and I fear deafness would be inescapable given my customary volume levels through the headset. Brain liquification would be on the pleasant side of possible outcomes if I were to attempt such a feat. Suffice it to say that there is a meaty bottom end to the sound on 'Superior Massacre' which fills out the sonic spectrum to an appropriate depth.
I think it's safe to say that Myrkskog have the hang of making frighteningly crazy death metal. They don't water it down by mixing in any other genres either. From the fusilade of drum blasts to the illogical, quirky soloing... from the unintelligible growls to the utter disdain for melody... yep, quintessential death metal mayhem. The relative brevity of the album (weighing in at about a half hour of actual music) keeps things from becoming dangerous or boring. Any more and I would have wound up comatose or ran screaming from the room... but with such a concise approach, Myrkskog has won my affection insomuch as any group of brutally pathological Norsemen can. If you like your death metal intense, fast, heavy, and relentless, you should add 'Superior Massacre' to your shopping list. Who knows, if enough of you follow my recommendation, Myrkskog may even be able to buy a few more vowels and switch to a name we can all pronounce.