I’ve always been a fan of bands that like to push boundaries in the extreme metal genre; even if the finished product isn’t “up to snuff,” I applaud bands for taking risks. Mörkö are one such band, and though they aren’t exactly a new band (having formed in 1998) their releases have been few and far between enough that they haven’t exactly become a household name.
Itsensänimeävä is certainly a mixed bag of sounds; the core is black metal, but there are a lot of odd time signatures, atonal progressions, and loads of atmosphere. The music is pretty similar to Dødheimsgard, in particular the newer, more avant-garde material, though without the industrial aspects. There are slow, almost doom-like moments, but mostly, a mid-paced chaotic sounding avant-black metal sound, that cause a disorienting affect, coupled with a decent vocal variety. Although there are shrieks aplenty, there are also some cleaner chant-style vocals, like those on “Nesteen luo.” The members of Mörkö also have a side-band called Disorder of Deadeight that focus on a more psychedelic noise-rock sound, and you can’t help but feel that their activities in that band have bled into the new metal material, it’s that different from any other extreme metal you’ve heard. In actuality, Itsensänimeävä is seen as the conclusion to a trilogy started by Disorder Of Deadeight, so the avant-garde influences aren’t too much of a leap in style. The more metal aspects of the band are pretty similar to Celtic Frost, and have a really raw old-school feel to them.
One disappointing element to this album, and which keeps it from being excellent, is the production; when the band plays more straight-forward metal the production works fine, but the more experimental stuff really gets lost in translation. The music presented here really deserves a much cleaner and modern sounding production, much like the production you hear on the newer DHG albums. That, coupled with the somewhat challenging nature of the music, might turn a few people away, but if you can look past the lo-fi quality in the sound, and if you can get into some more experimental songwriting, you may find something to like here.