Morbikon – Ov Mournful Twilight [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

Some supergroups stick close to home. An artist bursts with ideas in their chosen subgenre, and so–like Stephen King using the pseudonym “Richard Bachman” to crank out horror novels–the new entity produces something not so far-flung from the work that made them famous. Then there’s Morbikon. Ov Mournful Twilight sees Phil “Landphil” Hall of party thrashers Municipal Waste and Vrenth from blackened folk institution/oddity Finntroll join forces to birth a slab of frostbitten second-wave worship that comes complete with a deadpan v of trvth in the title. If you pitched that to me in an elevator, I would nod politely and inch away while fearing for my safety. Thank Baphomet we live in a world of boundless surprises because Morbikon’s debut makes mincemeat of those preconceptions. Ov Mournful Twilight manages to be both trve as fvkk and fvn as fvkk. Here lie eight meloblack rippers, each one calibrated to bring winter to your soul and whiplash to your neck. Don’t leave 2022 without ’em.

Ov Mournful Twilight fuses a breakneck pace with layers of guitar overdubs, atmospheric keys, and assorted production pomp. You’ll hear echoes of Immortal circa In the Heart of Winter in the frigid earworms, but the band also channels some of Emperor’s extravagance. Stir in a hint of 90’s melodeath and a generous heap of hooks that recall this year’s sure-fire lister In Aphelion, and you’ve just about nailed Morbikon’s sound. Landphil handles all the guitars and songwriting, and he proves himself talented on both fronts. Standout “Cursed to March on Shattered Limbs” showcases the ambition and scope of Landphil’s black metal daydreams. Its seven minutes of trem-picked riffing and stomping tempo changes lure you in as the song blazes past, to the point where one of my wild Ferox-lings, no fan of extreme metal, requests replays and has ordered me to look kindly on Morbikon.

Vrenth’s vocals match what you’d expect from his work with Finntroll, which is to say he rasps forth a fierce and committed performance on Ov Mournful Twilight. It’s not an out-of-left-field surprise like Landphil’s songwriting, but Vrenth engages with and elevates both the music’s brvtal side and its penchant for theatricality. Landphil’s Municipal Waste bandmate Dave Witte keeps it tight on the skins. His background in punky thrash influences his playing and energizes the unit as they tear through cuts like “Universal Funeral,” Deaththirst,” and “Ov Mournful Twilight.”

I found Morbikon via the comments section of my Morbific review, so this day of thanks seems like a good moment to (begrudgingly, resentfully, and from a lofty editorial height) acknowledge the AMG commentariat. You are more than just a chaotic torrent of hot takes and half-baked personas, you’re also an occasional source of recommendations. Your ideas for where to find new and interesting stuff were a huge part of why I lurked this tyrannical hellscape as a reader, and they continue to be part of my metal education now that I have ascended to a dimension of pure disdain. In the case of Morbikon, a stray comment led me to a surprising highlight of my fall, one that deserves attention from more of you unstable characters. I fear you, commenters, and I would never let you eat off the good China… but I also extend you the Critic’s Salute, with one pinky raised proud and dainty to Heaven.1

Tracks to Check Out: “Universal Funeral,” “Cursed to March on Shattered Limbs,” “Ov Mournful Twilight”


Show 1 footnote

  1. Burn in Hell, all of you! – Steel
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