Bekmørk – The Path Nocturnal – Album Review

Artist: Bekmørk

Album Title: The Path Nocturnal

Label: Horns High Records

Date of Release: 27 May 2022

I thought long and hard before deciding to write this review, for many reasons. Firstly, I don’t enjoy writing reviews that are not positive, or have something positive to say – I generally try to leave that to others. Secondly, I don’t consider myself to be well enough versed with the underground black metal movement to even profess to know about all the bands and their offerings, and where this release may fit within that. And thirdly, I really don’t like music that has such a lo-fi production that the music is robbed of its power and clarity to a point that means that the result is damn near unlistenable. Unfortunately, Bekmørk fall into both points one and three on this list but in the end, I listened to some sage advice I received a while back, suggesting that I don’t just review everything that I like. Plus, in a year where I’ve been described as a ‘machine’ when it comes to my music listening and reviewing, I didn’t think it’d hurt to mix things up a little bit.

You can already tell that I’m not a fan of ‘The Path Nocturnal’, the second album from Bekmørk, a band that’s essentially a Norwegian duo, comprised of Malevolent Berserker and Dread Count Naberius. No, I’m not kidding. Both are credited with guitar, bass, and keyboard duties, whilst the former takes care of the drums and the latter, the vocals.

Aside from the ludicrous names, something with which the black metal genre isn’t unfamiliar, the first massive faux pas here is the length of ‘The Path Nocturnal’. Billed as an album but only comprised of five tracks that don’t even reach the twenty-minute mark, is sharp advertising. In the UK, it’d come very close to breaking consumer laws. This is an MCD or EP depending on your viewpoint. It is not a full-length album. Strike one.

From there, the strikes keep on coming I’m afraid. Having already played fast and loose with the truth in the press release, the blurb then talks of “growls that claw their way from the abyss” as well as the way in which the music features “the band’s trademark morbid riffs”, and so it goes on. I genuinely thought I was listening to the wrong music when I pressed play for the first time, because what I hear bears little or no resemblance to what’s been written. I fully admit that there will be a difference of opinion here, but what I hear is basic music. Basic to the point that it feels almost childlike but not in a good way. To me, that’s not what I want to hear, unless it was created by the hands of my two daughters, both of whom are under ten years of age.

If I’m being totally honest, I wanted to review this so that it gave you all a chance to take a listen. I laughed at points, I really did. I still do, and that can’t be a good thing. Words like ‘frenzied’ and ‘chilling’ are used to describe parts of the material, in reference to the track ‘Black Waltz’ in particular. The only reason it sounds frenzied is because the production is so bad, you can’t hear anything. And the only reason it sounds chilling is because this music actually got a record deal.

The intro guitar melody to ‘Red Snow (The Saga Of Haakon Haraldsson)’ is halfway decent, but is crucially hamstrung by some notes that are wrong or at least slightly out of tune, as well as the ridiculous vocals. And then, suddenly, we’re dealt a bout of cacophonous aggression that’s hard to decipher, but which isn’t all that exciting when finally, my ears acclimatised to what I was hearing. The drumming in frenetic and the guitars deliver fast riffs, but they really aren’t that interesting.

It says something when the best musicianship on the entire record appears within the final song, ‘Empress Of Charn’, and it’s by a guest. In this case, it is a fast, reasonably engaging lead guitar solo, with a sense of melody, created by the hands of another ridiculously monikered individual by the name of Kilmoore Bludpainter. Again, no, I’m not kidding. The end of the song is then ruined by some bizarre sounds that might be vocals, or they might be a bee trapped in the studio near the microphones. Either way, it isn’t good, not in my opinion anyway.

The final words on the press release refer to ‘The Path Nocturnal’ as “a brutal continuation of Bekmørk’s ode to second wave black metal. All I can say is that if all second wave black metal sounds like this, I don’t have any desire to investigate further. Unless you genuinely find this sort of thing enjoyable, then I’d give it the widest berth possible.

The Score of Much Metal: 34%

No songs available from this new release, but this is from their debut…

Check out my other 2022 reviews here:

Septic Flesh – Modern Primitive

Blut Aus Nord – Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses

Drift Into Black – Earthtorn

Spheric Universe Experience – Back Home

Outshine – The Awakening

Cosmic Putrefaction – Crepuscular Dirge For The Blessed Ones

Zero Hour – Agenda 21

Scitalis – Doomed Before Time

Morgue Supplier – Inevitability

Visions Of Atlantis – Pirates

Evergrey – A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)

OU – One

Haunter – Discarnate Ails

Aara – Triade II: Hemera

Pure Reason Revolution – Above Cirrus

Demonical – Mass Destroyer

I Am The Night – While The Gods Are Sleeping

Haunted By Silhouettes – No Man Isle

Delvoid – Swarmlife

LionSoul – A Pledge To Darkness

Watain – The Agony And Ecstasy Of Watain

Dischordia – Triptych

Dragonbreed – Necrohedron

Audrey Horne – Devil’s Bell

Vanum – Legend

Stone Broken – Revelation

Radiant – Written By Life

Skull Fist – Paid In Full

Hurakan – Via Aeturna

Incandescence – Le Coeur De L’Homme

Imminent Sonic Destruction – The Sun Will Always Set

Monuments – In Stasis

Soledad – XIII

Viande – L’abime dévore les âmes

Credic – Vermillion Oceans

Postcards From New Zealand – Burn, Witch, Burn

Darkher – The Buried Storm

Treat – The Endgame

Bjørn Riis – Everything To Everyone

Destruction – Diabolical

Et Moriemur – Tamashii No Yama

Angel Nation – Antares

Wolf – Shadowland

Denali – Denali EP

Centinex – The Pestilence EP

Meshuggah – Immutable

Chapter Of Hate – Bloodsoaked Decadence EP

Ancient Settlers – Our Last Eclipse

Tranzat – Ouh La La

Playgrounded – The Death Of Death

Father Befouled – Crowned In Veneficum

Abbath – Dread Reaver

PreHistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter 2)

Kvaen – The Great Below

Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 2

Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse

Carmeria – Advenae

Agathodaimon – The Seven

Moonlight Haze – Animus

Hellbore – Panopticon

Konvent – Call Down The Sun

Idol Of Fear – Trespasser

The Midgard Project – The Great Divide

Threads Of Fate – The Cold Embrace Of The Light

Arkaik – Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts

New Horizon – Gate Of The Gods

Cailleach Calling – Dreams Of Fragmentation

Tundra – A Darkening Sky

Sylvaine – Nova

Hath – All That Was Promised

Sabaton – The War To End All Wars

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu

Oh Hiroshima – Myriad

Godless Truth – Godless Truth

Shape Of Despair – Return To The Void

Eight Bells – Legacy Of Ruin

Embryonic Devourment – Heresy Of The Highest Order

Serious Black – Vengeance Is Mine

Allegaeon – Damnum

HammerFall – Hammer Of Dawn

Immolation – Acts Of God

Veonity – Elements Of Power

Nightrage – Abyss Rising

Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One – Revel In Time

Pure Wrath – Hymn To The Woeful Hearts

Dagoba – By Night

The Last Of Lucy – Moksha

Arð – Take Up My Bones

Embryonic Autopsy – Prophecies Of The Conjoined

The Devils Of Loudun – Escaping Eternity

Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North

WAIT – The End Of Noise

Abysmal Dawn – Nightmare Frontier

Amorphis – Halo

Nordic Giants – Sybiosis

Persefone – Metanoia

Vorga – Striving Toward Oblivion

Mystic Circle – Mystic Circle

Nasson – Scars

Burned In Effigy – Rex Mortem

Silent Skies – Nectar

Celeste – Assassine(s)

Abyssus – Death Revival

SOM – The Shape Of Everything

Ashes Of Ares – Emperors And Fools

Beriedir – AQVA

Lalu – Paint The Sky

Nocturna – Daughters Of The Night

Battle Beast – Circus Of Doom

Lee McKinney – In The Light Of Knowledge

Descent – Order Of Chaos

Aethereus – Leiden

Toundra – Hex

Ilium – Quantum Evolution Event EP

Power Paladin – With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel

Necrophagous – In Chaos Ascend

Infected Rain – Ecdysis

Wilderun – Epigone

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2021 reviews

2020 reviews

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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