Friday, January 2, 2015

Last Glances at 2014 : Morbus Chron :"Sweven"

Got this one off Aesop Dekker of Agalloch's top ten list, he had some of the same old same old albums like Yob, but this one caught my ear. The are described as death metal, but the opening song of their latest album that was released way back last February, makes this hard to believe. Tribulation is a band that occupies similar sonic space at time. The beginning of this album uses predominately clean guitar tones and when the distortion does come it has more of a seventies feel than anything I would consider death metal. The vocal are the only real death component. Some of the music sounds like a more angular take on In Solitude.

"Towards the Dark Sky" does find itself in very metal places, though there are long stretches that sound as if they were originally written on acoustic guitar because their purpose is to be lyrical rather than beat you about your ears. Even the heavy riffs are smartly written. The manic growl of the vocals , seems to be more of an after thought. Which is a shame considering all the love and care that was put into the rest of these compositions. It not that I don't feel the growling works , I think it could have been layered in a more interesting fashion than the emotive burst of vomit.The first song that is a straight up metal song is "Aurora in the Offing".

The playing is all around spectacular, they have chops and can play progressively while maintain some soul. The solo tends to go in a more Kerry King direction, but the riffs are immaculate in the winding maze they weave. This is highlighted on "It Stretches in the Hollow". The drumming holds up some of the faster pacing tends to me more energy than approach. Over the course of the album some of the instrumental sections runs together.It took me a minute to realize I was already  half way into "Ripening Life". There is no doubt these guys are infusing this with a grand dark ambiance, At times this creates an almost Opeth like feeling.

In the album's later half I can appreciate the formula established here. The have a very warm organic sound despite the hollowness of the reverb laden guitar.It does begin to lull me into a trance as the music falls into the back ground. The rock cranks back up on the big closing number. The progressive elements still have more balls than newer Opeth, though not as many as perhaps "Black Water Park".
I am not sure how much playtime this album would get since the bulk of it comes across as being instrumental, guitar players should take not of this album for sure. I will around it up to an 8 because I think these guys have found a sound that works.

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