Some music doesn’t want you to be happy. It doesn’t care to lift spirits or engender triumphant emotional release in its listeners. Instead, it attempts to drown you. To suffocate and brutalize you. To lay bare torment through audio in order to suck you into the chaos and anguish in which it resides. The music of Nortt is such a depressive aberration. Since 1997, the project has churned out some of the darkest and most fundamentally depressing music known to man, emphasizing the bleakest and most funereal aspects of black and doom metal to create a one-way ticket to inescapable cosmic sadness. Sound like a good time? Then Nortt’s fourth full-length record Endeligt is right up your foreboding, empty alley. It is his most sparse and minimalistic work yet, and its emotional impact is nothing short of devastating.
As an individual who has battled through a few bouts of severe depression himself, it is hard to think of music that encapsulates that state of being more thoroughly and deeply than Nortt. This isn’t music trying to emulate an emotion. This is depression taking sonic form, and the results are spacious, all-consuming, and harrowing. As opposed to Nortt’s previous record Galgenfrist, released a decade ago, Endeligt takes an even more minimalistic sonic approach, emphasizing his signature keys, bells, and unbearably slow tempos to create an atmosphere of overwhelming sadness and dread that is as dark as music gets. Writing about the individual tracks on this record would become redundant fairly quickly, as the tracks here are honestly a bit difficult to differentiate from one another if you are listening to the whole record in one sitting (which I most heartily recommend). But the disorientation created by this sonic consistency only heightens the emotional impact this record is intended to have. This is a singularity of emotional weight, attempting to consume the listener in the tar of its unyielding gloom, and this trance-like repetition brings the albums depressive intent to the forefront, allowing the music to create a cascade of utter blackness that is impossible to extricate yourself from until the final note has played. It’s an utterly mesmerizing and horrifying journey.
If Bell Witch’s masterful ode to grief Mirror Reaper was a bit too much for you, stay far away from Nortt. Endeligt is disquietingly sad and dark, and not for the faint of heart. But for those who find connection with the bleakness Nortt is attempting to convey, this album is a game-changer. A truly masterful feat of depressive, funeral doom from Denmark’s true master of isolation and hopelessness.
Endeligt is available now through Avantgarde Music on major streaming services, and is available for purchase in physical and digital formats on the label’s Bandcamp page.