Saturday, 17 August 2013

Morne - Shadows (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 25/7/2013
Label : Profound Lore

Shadows, album track listing:

1.       Coming Of Winter 7:57
2.       A Distance 12:14
3.       New Dawn 11:41
4.       Shadows 7:48
5.       Throes 10:01

Bio :

Boston, Massachusetts’ MORNE formed in 2005 by Milosz Gassan (ex-Filth Of Mankind).  After an initial demo created in 2008 and a split release with Warprayer, MORNE would release their debut full-length album “Untold Wait” in 2009 to critical praise in the underground (including an endorsement from Darkthrone themselves).  It also helped MORNE’s reputation that they their guitarist Jeff Hayward was also in the mighty legendary sludge band GRIEF.

MORNE’s style of post-sludge/crust is an interesting interpretation of everything that tends to fall within such a genre.  They create their cinematic and epic sound through unrelenting heaviness that is culminated from influences that also include doom metal, and classic rock, and create such an immense atmosphere also through influences such as progressive music and chamber music likewise.

This was showcased with their 2011 release “Asylum”, a sprawling exercise in colossal cinematic heaviness which would push MORNE’s sound even further than their “Untold Wait” debut.  When Profound Lore released “Asylum” it helped bring more awareness to the band and with their new album “Shadows”, MORNE have defined a new sense of heaviness within their sound.


Milosz Gassan - Vocals, Guitar
Jeff Hayward - Guitar,Backing Vocals
Max Furst - Bass, Keyboards
Billy Knockenhauer- Drums


There are no two ways about it—“Shadows” is in every way, shape and form, a pure doom metal record. The question remains, “Is it any good?” The answer is a defiant, in your face, “Absolutely.”

Going into this record, my expectations were very middle of the road. Morne’s first record, “Untold Wait” was a solid starting point, but the band was rough around the edges. It felt like they hadn’t found out exactly what it was they wanted to sound like. Their second record, “Asylum” was a step in the right direction, flushing out the sound and making things heavier, both musically and lyrically. That brings me to their newest offering “Shadows.”


“Shadows,” at least to me, is Morne really nailing down who they are and crushing us all in the process. If I was going to draw comparisons, I would compare Morne at this point in their career to the modern musical incarnation of Neurosis, and I mean that in the best way possible. Morne have long, brooding tracks that trap the listener, much like the cacophony of cobwebs that adorn the cover of the album. They suck the life out of you until you’re at breaking point, and then they level you with a 50-ton wall of sound.

Speaking of which, the rhythm section on this thing is positively monolithic. They trudge and slam along at what feels like a snail’s pace, until you realize that you’ve been head banging the entire time, completely absorbed in the music. In many ways it’s meditative, like being trapped in a fog with only your thoughts. You are lured in and you are forced to acknowledge each and every kick or snare hit, while being washed over with crash symbols. The bass on this record isn’t incredibly pronounced, but it seems to lurk in the background, ready to strike when you least expect it. The low end is LOW, and it makes for a punishing experience.

 The guitar sounds on the record act as your fear, anger and frustration in this meditation and they simultaneously fuel your desire to leave the fog and impede your inability to do so. They are harsh, low tones and they burrow into your ears, forcing you to face the demons and better yet, the shadows you find yourself in. It’s a depressed, angry guitar tone, and it works. The record is so full of frustration and sadness, that as a mission statement for life in the shadows, “Shadows” the album cannot be topped.

To me, “Shadows” is not just an incredibly solid record; it is an acknowledgement of the darkness that surrounds us. It lives in it and makes a nest in it. It is doom in its purest form. Don’t let sub genres and Internet discussions distract you from the simple fact that Morne are one of the most consistent, true-to –their-genre doom bands around. The record is ugly by design and executes it with stunning beauty. This is a definite “must listen” for any fan of the genre. I cannot recommend this record highly enough.
Words by : Chris Centanni

As always show your support to the band. You can buy the CD now and DD at the usual places.  Thanks to Chris @ Profound Lore for hooking us up with the record.