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Morbus Chron - Sweven CD (album) cover


Morbus Chron

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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5 stars Slowly, quietly, but surely a guitar plays, over time rising in volume. Other instruments soon join, and when the drums join you know you're soon in for the crunch of metal. But for now they play as before. It takes awhile, but eventually this intro breaks into the expected progressive death metal, and demonic voices rise from the depths to welcome you. Things eventually calm back down, and then return to fury. This continues on to the fifteen minute mark. That would be an apt description of the first three, united tracks of Morbus Chron's second outing, "Berceuse", "Chains", and "Towards a Dark Sky", and also sums up the style of the rest of the record. To my ears this is strictly an improvement over the already excellent style of Edge of Sanity on their seminal "Crimson", likely part of the inspiration for these newly minted Swedes. A top album of 2014 for me, I recommend fans of prog death, especially those who find quiet interludes pleasing, check this wonderful record out.
Report this review (#1312039)
Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Morbus Chron's debut, Sleepers in the Rift, was solid but fairly by-the-numbers old school death metal worship (think the likes of Autopsy). For those who enjoy such material, it's certainly a great listen, but it's not the sort of thing that would get a band a listing on Prog Archives.

On the other hand, Sweven, their second album, is a radical left-turn the likes of which few listeners had probably expected of them. While there's still plenty of death metal here, there are significant portions of the record that do not actually qualify as metal at all, and even the segments that do qualify as metal manage to maintain the same otherworldly, dreamy atmosphere as the more subdued bits. Several songs are also instrumental, and even in the vocal songs, the band stretches out instrumentally at length.

The song lengths are also misleading: several pieces segue seamlessly into one another (the first three songs are an excellent example of this). The result is that the album feels more like a single long composition with a few brief gaps than a collection of ten songs.

The songwriting and performances are superb throughout; the lyrics, though mostly indecipherable, are different enough from the standard blood and gore fare of death metal to be worth a read. The production is excellent, with the instrumental clarity high and the instruments being mastered with plenty of room to breathe. A note must also be made about the packaging, which is simply gorgeous, especially on the vinyl edition, which comes with a gorgeous twelve-page, 12"x12" booklet that contains several beautiful full-size paintings. In an era in which record packaging is dying as an art form, it's nice to see a band keeping it going. There really isn't a weak point on this album for progressive death metal fans, and it stands as one of the best releases of the genre in 2014. Strongly recommended.

Report this review (#1312801)
Posted Thursday, November 20, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Sweven" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Swedish death metal act Morbus Chron. The album was released through Century Media Records in February 2014. Morbus Chron was formed in 2007 and released their debut full-length studio album "Sleepers in the Rift" in 2011. The "A Saunter Through the Shroud" EP followed in 2012 and bridges the gap between the debut album and "Sweven".

While Morbus Chron were hardly a traditional old school death metal act on "Sleepers in the Rift (2011)" nor on "A Saunter Through the Shroud (2012)", I donīt think many listeners would have expected the stylistic development which has taken place on "Sweven". Granted...Morbus Chronīs old school death metal core sound is still the basis of most tracks on "Sweven", but the band have added a lot of progressive and quite adventurous compositional ideas to that core sound, which result in something relatively unique sounding. While the two bands ultimately sound pretty different, there are still many similarities to the stylistic development their fellow countrymen in Tribulation have been through.

So "Sweven" features a sound which is quite hard to describe accurately, but progressive death metal is a start. The music also features atmospheric post-rock build-ups as well as the occasional nod towards atmospheric black metal (most dominant in "Towards a Dark Sky"). The vocals are a shouting growling type of vocals. There is a lot of reverb effect on the vocals, which at times makes them sound a bit chaotic. Personally I enjoy the vocals most when they leave the reverb effect alone, but thatīs probably an aquired taste. To my ears the vocals are one of the few weak links on the album. Considering that the vocals were a great asset on "A Saunter Through the Shroud (2012)", I think Morbus Chron have made a wrong production choice here.

Thankfully the instrumental part of the music is really strong. Structurally adventurous, progressive, and atmospheric extreme metal, which at times enterīs the weird zone and threatens to bend your mind. Itīs not an avant garde release though, and weīre still treated to fairly accessible music. Itīs just the kind of album which requires many spins to sink in. Itīs not a given where a song will go and there are many surprising twists and turns throughout the album.

Featuring high level musicianship and a well sounding dark and atmospheric production, "Sweven" is a high quality release by Morbus Chron and definitely one of the more interesting and original death metal releases of itīs time. So if you think the idea of old school death metal done in a progressive fashion sounds like a treat, "Sweven" is highly recommendable. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Report this review (#2284808)
Posted Sunday, December 1, 2019 | Review Permalink

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