Lava Invocator was founded, or at least conceptualized, somewhere in southern Sweden, but hail from the Ukraine. Exact details of how this came about is not readily available, but we do know that the two members also play in the Dnipro-based, punk influenced death metal band Def/Light.
Eastern European black metal is often epic and atmospheric, or insanely lo-fi. Lava Invocator go a different route. There are synthesizers, but they are used very sparingly compared to bands like Svarga, Kataxu or latter day Graveland. However, there is also no porta studio fuzz battle non-production – everything is readily audible. The production is maximized for punch and power, with the drums being given an almost Absu-like prominence. The numerous assaults of thrash/black (the sound once occasionally known as “old school black metal”) make the Absu comparison even more apt.
When not sounding a whole lot like Celtic Frost, Hellhammer or Sodom, Lava Invocator do much Scandinavian BM type riffing, perhaps slightly more Swedish than Norwegian. There are the bar chords in minor, the riffs in minor and the evil sounding melodies. In minor. The growling vocals shift between deeper growls and higher pitched screams. The death metal and punk of Def/Light are not readily noticeable anywhere on Mörk, except possibly in a song title or two. While “Empyrium et Nihil” and title track “Mörk” (Swedish for “darkness”) are rather typical black metal titles, “Gestapofallos” certainly has a strong taste of juvenile, punkish humor.
There are plenty of memorable moments, breaks and creative outbursts all throughout Mörk, and the musicianship is great. Tight, dark and aggressive, this covers pretty everything you would look for in a modern black metal outfit. The band name is also strangely appealing, even if it does make you think of some Red spell from Magic the Gathering. A “Lava Invocator” patch would grace the blackest of leather jackets, much like a copy of this album would fit right into any black metal collection.
CD and digital download version is available from Satanath Records’ Bandcamp.