What is there to say about the debut album spawned from the elusive Ukrainian black metal outfit, Morkt Tre? Its haunting sound emanates in obscurity, as Morkt Tre’s identity in unknown. Somewhat of a masterpiece, To the Graves of Smoldering Time consists of six meaty tracks, entitled Opus I-VI, ranging from ambient to atmospheric. What I really like about this album is its ability to bend the defining black metal norms with an avant-garde approach while never losing the coldness that marks the black metal sound.
The album demands more of the listener with its opening track, a beautiful ambient song, with parts reminiscent of depressive breaks found on Drudhk or Old Forest albums, and other parts purely meditative. Slow and captivating, Opus I sets the tone for the rest of the album. The album has the characteristics of a true opus with the band’s fluid progression into the a more orthodox black metal feel in track two. The progressions on this album are truly remarkable. Everything from blasting intensity, to emotive melody, to ambient dreamscapes is featured on this album. All elements interact in perfect harmony with each other.
The notably lo-fi production creates a cold atmosphere that draws the listener in. If you’re a fan of kvlt black metal production done well, To the Graves of Smoldering Time is the album for you. The ambient tracks, Opus I and IV, help to further grab the listener and set a pace for the remainder of the album. While, at times, I found some of the keyboard parts on the ambient tracks to be a bit extravagant, they did not detract from the emotional experience rendered from listening to the LP. As I said earlier, To the Graves of Smoldering Time demands more of the listener. You have to have patience to build up to the climax. This album really comes to a head in tracks V and VI.
An ambient interlude leads up to the most aggressive yet digestible riff on the album in Opus V and continues on this path, with emotion inducing, hypnotic melody driving the remainder of the track. Opus VI is a prelude to the band’s earlier work, which was largely unknown, as this album still is. The progressions of Opus VI are effortless in their ability to keep listeners chilled to the bone. The song ends with a really cool bagpipe solo. Even folk elements are found on this album! I highly recommend checking To the Graves of Smoldering Time. Aside from having the coolest album art I’ve seen in a while (it kind of makes me think of that Bathory song, The Lake, and the one-eyed old man), this album delivers in all ways. A beautiful blend of ambience and aggression that delves into new territory while continuing to pay homage to the kvlt elite, To the Graves of Smoldering Time is a true work of art.
You can purchase the album easily on Bandcamp when it releases on February 11. Seriously, give these guys money.