The black metal duo MURG emerged out of thin air last year, presumably in some icicled and snow-blanketed Swedish forest, announcing themselves with the remarkably visceral yet sharp album Varg & Björn. It presented a fully formed vision of frigid wrath that clearly hearkened back to the ’90s in style, and it was loaded with swaggering atmospheric anthems from start to finish. Over the course of the album, which didn’t contain a single dud, MURG both blasted maniacally and slowed things down to an infectious mid-tempo swing. It was the kind of debut that would be tough for any band to follow up on a sophomore album or, really, at any point down the line.
I’ve heard MURG’s new album Gudatall, and, somehow, lightning’s struck twice. We all have something to look forward to in December when it is unleashed. For now, here is “Mästarens Resa I Mörkret,” a song that confidently, menacingly, and slowly builds. The gravel-pitched vocals, a highlight on Varg & Björn, are back with a vengeance, barking with contempt as if the singer surveyed the crowd and saw nothing worthwhile.
There isn’t some big violent or revelatory crescendo that comes at the end. Rather we are let off on a plateau of blissful resignation, surrounded by walls of guitars trilling away in counterpoint. Just wait until you hear what comes next.