Thursday, March 26, 2015

Morbus Chron – Sweven

I have a lot music presented to me.  I write these reviews and I host 2 radio shows and in 2014 I had close to 500 promo albums run through my email box.  I hear a lot of music and as you would probably guess, a lot of it is fairly generic and, as the saying goes, the music goes in one ear and out the other.  There are things I like, things that standout, but when I come across a release that not only stands out, but grabs my attention as something unique, it's worth me writing about it.

As you may have concluded, “Sweven” by Morbus Chron is one of those albums.  Its been out for a while and so I'm a little late to the party, but I put this album on a few weeks ago and I find myself going back to it over and over again.  It really is unique and individual, which doesn't happen often in the metal genre.  The funny thing is, I'm not sure if this is a metal album.  I'm not sure what it is, to be honest, besides really, really, really good.

If I had to describe the music, and I kinda have to since this is a review, it is definitely very proggy and somewhat psychedelic, and yet has some very black metal moments.  It is a very interesting mix.  And to really shake things up, the vocals get the old school, reverb drenched black metal treatment, which makes sense as they are done in the screaming, shrieking black metal style.  Opeth comes to mind, especially their last couple of albums, and you throw Meshuggah in there, and probably Enslaved as well, again most definitely on their last few releases.  Despite being reminiscent of all of that, it stands on its own.  Morbus Chron are their own creature.

The album opens with an instrumental, “Berceuse”, and then moves seamlessly into the second track, “Chains”.  This is how the rest of the album goes, without the normal 2-3 second breaks between songs.  It is mixed, and was probably written, so that each song flows into the next.  “Aurora in the Offing”, the 4th song on the album, is one that really caught my ear, with the way it moves between tempos and the 2 themes that seem to alternate within the song.  The 6th track, “Ripening Life”, is just stunning.  Listening to it is like trying to negotiate a maze that only the band knows the way through, with riffs twisting and turning on themselves, the entire band starting and stopping on a dime, and keeping a time signature only they know.  It's a breathtaking example of what this band can do.

This is the kind of album that would make me a music lover if I wasn't one already.  It stretches out beyond genres and show how innovative music can be when those who make it decide that they don't have to be contained by any ideas about what a metal band should sound like.  I will be curious to hear what comes next from these guys, to see if they just captured lightning in a bottle or if they can keep it up or even top this.  Either way, this is a fantastic album and one that you need to hear, regardless of your genre affiliation.


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