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Tusen år har gått... (1995)

The Scandinavian black metal scene was overflowing with mediocre bands by the time 1995 rolled around. So many clueless musicians had jumped on the bandwagon that it quickly became increasingly difficult to sift through the waste in order to find the few decent releases that were worth hearing. More often than not, the hideous garbage that was spewed out was the work of ignorant children that had no idea what they were toying with. This description was never more accurate than when applied to Mörk Gryning, from Sweden, whose members were 15 and 18 at the time when their debut album was recorded. Released on No Fashion Records in 1995, Tusen år har gått... represented a fairly generic take on Swedish black metal, ripping off ideas from the likes of Dissection, Marduk and Dark Funeral, among others.

Musically, there is not an original thought to be found on this L.P. Mörk Gryning simply took elements that were present in the works of their contemporaries and mixed them together in such a manner as to remove any and all possibility of enjoyment. Naturally, the material features a core of cold tremolo riffs and raspy vocals, along with varying blast beats. Of course, most black metal from this period centered on such things, but the creativity of the musicians involved made each band's interpretation worth listening to. In the case of Tusen år har gått..., even the very best ideas are undermined by the lack of coherent songwriting and a general lack of understanding for the fundamentals of this style. There is too much of a dependence on double-bass to move things forward, at times, along with pointless keyboards that only serve to water-down the atmosphere even further. The horrible deep vocals that are added in, from time to time, make this whole thing even more laughable. The acoustic guitar pieces give the impression that the band really wanted to attain the same kind of depth as that of Storm of the Light's Bane, but they failed in every conceivable way. The cheesy clean vocals further lend more of a gothic vibe than anything that was derived from the likes of Venom or Bathory. There is not one single shred of dark atmosphere to be found here, which is rather pathetic for a band attempting to record black metal. This is as paint-by-numbers as it gets, with absolutely no sincerity whatsoever.

The production is kind of flat, similar to Marduk's Opus Nocturne or Dark Funeral's self-titled E.P. It is very weak and fails to place the emphasis on those elements that best deserve it. To go along with the sub-par songwriting, the production actually serves as an additional detriment, being far too clean and modern-sounding. The guitars lack any kind of sharp edge, coming across as very subdued and safe. The drumming is too prominent in the mix, especially the awful double-bass. There is no complaint about the vocals, with the exception of the ridiculous clean goth vocals, which should have been buried a bit more. The keyboards dominate the sound far too much, whenever they appear, though the music is so generic that this distraction is not all that damaging to the experience.

Tusen år har gått... is a worthless pile of garbage, one that should be avoided like the plague. It possesses no redeeming qualities that make it a wise investment of either time or money. If you are interested in some of the less popular bands from the Swedish scene, it is recommended that you check out Throne of Ahaz, Sorhin, The Black and a couple dozen other bands before ever wasting your time on a band as pointless and talentless as Mörk Gryning. There may have been less technically-proficient bands out there, but few were as painfully below average as these two kids. This is a complete joke.
(28 Mar. 2012)

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