Good afternoon comrades, this is Live by the Crust, Die by the Crust, the crust equivalent of a lifestyle coaching session. Be warned that it will not make you look better, lose weight or get your ex back (but if it did do that, please let me know, it would look nice on my resume and get me a few extra punk points), but, not being one to palter with the truth, it will realistically make you spend more time sitting on your arse looking for rare crust recordings on the web and possibly buy an ugly shirt of an obscure stenchcore band that your mum will strictly forbid you to wear at your niece's birthday even though you're well into your forties. Living the life indeed. I guess you could call me a crust influencer bequeathing nuggets of wisdom for free.
It is that time of the year again: spring is coming. The major difference with the last couple of years is that instead of a worldwide pandemic, you get the lurking peril of the Third World War. An undeniably bloodcurdling prospect but with forty years worth of songs about nuclear wars, I think us punks are more than ready to face the apocalypse, we have the perfect soundtrack for it, although I must concede that it might not be judicious to point it out in public. But still, spring is coming, it's just around the corner, and men, women and children will soon be able to enjoy the suffocating heat, suffocating heat and the nuclear sunrise with equanimity for the last time in order to protest and survive. Being the season of rebirth, spring is often associated with revitalisation, with imbuing thing with new life and vitality. Twats usually interprets this time of the year as the start of the warm season which induces wearing shades at all time, showing off the tats and the muscles, wearing cheap perfume that makes you gag, whistling at girls and generally behaving like a bellend as much as they can, at least until early October. Tasteful punks, on the other hand, get the sleeveless jackets out of the closet, dust the crust pants a little, maybe buy a new toothbrush (to replace the one you lost in January) and piously consider rocking something different to celebrate the opening of the festival season. And I might have just the right thing for you: Mörkt Moln.
To be honest, I did not discover the band by myself but through a member of the band who kindly wrote me an email to introduce me to the music. So thanks Simon. Now, as we negotiated, I will be waiting for your payment and expect the agreed upon percentage on the sales of all your releases for the next five years. Or else I will launch a smear campaign of unprecedented proportions and Mörkt Moln will be accused of playing indie rock gigs under a false name. You have until the end of the month as I know how to be charitable. But character assassination notwithstanding, Martin was right to send me the link. MM are different to what I listen to on a daily basis. The typical day at Terminal Sound Nuisance's headquarters normally includes 80's UK stenchcore in the morning, then 90's "just like" d-beat for lunch, some cavemen crust in the afternoon and a short crasher crust session before going to sleep. MM are a three-piece from Göteborg, Sweden, and belong to that category of bands that are not technically crust but can still be thoroughly enjoyed by the people who are into crust, who live by the crust and die by the crust.
The Culling of a Great Flame was self-released in 2019, exemplifying the DIY spirit in action. I love the aesthetics of the tape with its purposefully primitive and almost naive artwork reminiscent of the early extreme-metal scene. This raw and primitive feel is also very much reflected in the band's music so that the careful listener understands that MM gave some thought to the relation between form and content. Emerging from the DIY punk scene, the band could probably be best described as punks having a proper go at the primal and primitive early black-metal sound while keeping a significant Amebix influence and incorporating some old-school doom-metal in the process. As any self-respecting lover of crust, I like Hellhammer, Celtic Frost and Venom and MM build strongly on those bands not just in terms of actual songwriting but also of vibe and groove. The tape manages to recreate - on purpose I would presume - a sort of pagan atmosphere thanks to heavy and dark rocking riffs, trancy and epic metal-punk moments and moody synth-driven narrative transitions which I am a sucker for (it must be my long obsession with Greek crust) which really make it sound like a whole story, like an initiatory quest into the wasteland or something.
MM certainly take their sweet time as the tape has eight songs and is about forty-minute long so that it stands as a recording you have to progressively get into. It would be an overstatement to claim that I instantly loved the tape (the band would have had to send a bigger bribe for me to claim that) but I have actually been regularly drawn to it. I love how deceptively raw and primitive it sounds as MM know what they're up to and manage to keep the simple, dark demonic heaviness of Hellhammer and Venom while adding some smart hooks and details that you do not necessarily notice at first. The epic Amebix and Axegrinder (and even Misery at times) influence is present enough to make the recording familiar (in some song structures and vocals especially) while the frequent doom-metal riffing makes it a little original to my untrained ears (my inability to grow a moustache meant I never could get into doom-metal sadly). If I were to make a bonfire in spring in order to sacrifice some hipsters for some random Crust Goddess I would probably do it to the tunes of MM. The production is quite raw but clear, with some sort of organic feel and I suppose you do not need a massive sound for that kind of primitive atavistic doom-y Frost-punk. The lyrics deal with ancient deities, Conan and "Corruptors of youth" tackles the nefarious influence of shoegaze on disaffected youths (the true evil of our time).
The Culling of a Great Flame sounds like it looks. It is not a crust work although it is certainly dark, rocking and heavy, it also tells a genuinely epic and coherent story thanks to its changes of paces and eerie transitions and, after all, it does rely on bands that have been genuine influences on the old-school crust genre, like Venom or Celtic Frost, as well as on late (but not too late, thank fuck) Amebix and other classic Amebix-influenced bands.
Now if the band would kindly drop the money at the spot we discussed, that'd be ace.