Track By Tracks: Bekmørk - The Path Nocturnal (2022)


1. Hail to the Moths:

The first track on the album contains the lyric "To the path eternal, we pledge ourselves eternal" from whence the album derives its name. Moths are the dark equivalent to the butterfly, but while the butterfly is praised for its beauty, the moth is ignored, or at worst reviled as a nuisance. Black metal is a celebration of the darkness, the inverse of the light, yet as far as I know, the moth has not yet been revered as a symbol for our music. The moth represents the legions of the lost, to whom no light was sent. Bekmørk hails the moths.

The music for this song was intended to invoke traditional early 90s second wave black metal, along the lines of Darkthrone or Emperor. I remember writing the music for this song and recording the guitar riff after watching the excellent Icelandic black metal film Metalhead. It doesn't really sound like any of the songs on that soundtrack, but musically it was inspired by it. I (Naberius) played guitar on this track with Berserker on the bass. I am vocals on all tracks and Naberius on drums for all tracks.

2. Huldra:

In Norwegian folklore, the Huldra is a female forest spirit famed for enchanting coal men into the wooded hills. The Huldra of this song lives atop Mt. Ulricken, which hovers over Bergen, Norway. Swedish mythology has a similar legend of the forest Skogsra, which is also mentioned in the lyrics. Although the Huldra is not necessarily evil, she, like the moth, has been rejected by the forces of light and resigned to sulking in the darkness. She is not to be entirely trusted, yet few can resist her lure into the darkened woods. On the back of the album art is a photograph I took of a huldra (or more likely a human pretending to be a huldra) emerging from the Kjosfossen waterfall in central Norway.

The music for this song was originally a composition Berserker wrote called "Slow Death". We like to mix elements of doom metal into our black metal and this song starts in that matter. So we almost had a black metal song with doom metal riffs and a death metal title, but I really wanted to write a song about the Huldra, so we went in a different direction. Berserker played guitar on this track and I played bass.

3. Black Waltz:

Black Waltz is about Weissenau Castle in Unterseen, Switzerland. Originally built in the 13th century, the Castle was converted into a prison in the 16th century, and has since been in ruins for hundreds of years. Several years ago I took a hike alone at dusk to find and explore the ruins and was still there when darkness fell. It was a creepy and foreboding solitude as I imagined the history of the place. The background photo for the credits page of the CD is a picture I took at the ruins that night. The song is about a danse macabre ceremony, the Black Waltz, in which all the ghosts of the castle would be called forth to judge whether the visitor was worthy to join their ranks.

Berserker started this song with a guitar riff and the title, and we built around that. Berserker played guitar on this track and I played bass.

4. Red Snow (The Saga of Haakon Haraldsson)Empress of Charn:

Haakon the Good was king of Norway in the mid-10th century. This song tells the story of the dispute over the Norwegian throne between him and the sons of Eric Bloodaxe, which culminated in the 961 Battle of Fitjar. Although Haakon won the battle he was mortally wounded. With his final breath, he ceded the crown to the Bloodaxe line, in the hopes it would end the war and bring peace to Norway.

Berserker proposed the idea of a song called Red Snow about a violent event in the Scandic cold and I wanted to tell the tale of the Battle of Fitjar, so we combined the song titles.

Berserker created a slow musical build as events unfolded before the song exploded into a proper black metal onslaught to represent the fury of battle. Berserker played guitar on this track and I played bass.

5. Empress of Charn:

In C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, Jadis the White Witch is the allegorical representation of Satan. In the book "The Magician's Nephew" we learn her original title was Empress of Charn. Thematically, we wanted each song on the album to deal with concepts of cold and darkness, while covering subjects and characters that were black metal adjacent but had not specifically been covered in the genre before. Although it might seem hokey to write a song about a Narnian villain, I felt the architect of eternal Winter, whose origins were steeped in Satanic mythology, was the perfect fit for this album. In my mind, she is one of the great, and under-appreciated villains in all of literature. The dark figure, creeping through the snowy wood on the album cover is Jadis.

Although I think most of this song is true to second-wave Norwegian black metal, the chorus segment if you can call it that, has a definite melodic death metal vibe to it. Black metal is not necessarily known for its lead guitar soloing, but we like to bring elements of other metal genres into our songs. With this in mind, we had Killmoore Bludpainter provide a guest solo for the outro, which is meant to emphasize the epic theme of the conquering witch. Berserker played guitar and I played bass on this song.

We have mostly finished filming a music video for this song, and hope to have it edited and released soon.

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