MORBUS CHRON - Sleepers in the Rift (DETEST - LP 2012)
I think this was one of the most anticipated debuts for me! Right from the time, when I’ve heard Morbus Chron shaking the earth with their demo and EP materials I knew it is going to be a must have LP and one, which will probably be called a classic on the date of its release. Yeah, I know it is difficult to call a metal album “classic” in the times, when the there are so many bands and releases and when all the best music have been recorded 20 or 30 years earlier. But really, there’s something so intriguing and great about Morbus Chron that I cannot find a better way to describe them and their debut full length. These young lads have been destined to success and have been praised already in the cradles! It almost looks like a great PR and marketing job – like someone (Satan? Nicke?) carefully selected few guys, dressed them in the traditional metal way, made them look like fuckin’ Mayhem or other bands in the 80’s, learnt them how to play and hoped they’ll manage to compose few great songs along with all that. And don’t forget great promotional job, which was done for Morbus Chron months before the first album, including the risky, but turned out very successful appearance in all the metal blogs you can imagine. Finally the time has come for the first album, the hopes are high and luckily “Sleepers in the Rift” is one of the best death metal albums I’ve heard in years! But it took me some time before I got it and listened to it. I wanted it to be the vinyl only, as such music should be played on LP only, if it’s possible of course. So, I’ve been waiting and waiting and finally on one snowy morning the LP has arrived. I could finally look at one of the most impressive front artworks ever! I know that the colouring of it may cause vomiting reactions in some of you, but I love those Lovecraftian monsters on it and in many ways I can only think of the death metal covers from the early 90’s, like Seagrave’s works. You know, he’s been doing very similar artworks for death metal bands and the cover of “Sleepers in the Rift” reminds me almost Carnage’s “Dark Recollections” cover. What do you think? It is fuckin awesome! I’m really glad that the bands nowadays are resigning from the photoshop made artworks and instead choose ones, which are more old styled. You know, the cover for “Like an Ever Flowing Stream” will always be better than the artwork for “Dismember”, right? Or the artwork of “Into the Grave” will always prevail over the shitty covers of “As Rapture Comes” and “Dominion VIII”, am I right?
“Through the Gaping Gate / Coughing in a Coffin” opens the album and I’ve been waiting for the first riffs breathlessly. And suddenly “BUM” and here we go! Old school death metal masterpiece starts just as I imagined it to be with filthy, obscure, raw but not too primitive production (I must say that the sound of “Sleepers in the Rift” is one of the strongest points of it, absolutely fantastic production, 666% fitting the style of death metal, which Morbus Chron plays) and classic riffing, which pays the tribute to legendary acts like Nihilist, Entombed, Dismember, Grotesque, Carnage, Autopsy, Death, Possessed, Master and Repulsion. And from the never bands I can think of only Death Breath (what a coincidence haha!), Repugnant and Bastard Priest. The whole music is covered with the dark and sinister atmosphere, one which I can only compare to the old horror movies, really. Some of those disturbing melodic riffs that are played by Morbus Chron sound like someone decided to play the creepy soundtracks from the old movies in death metal way. Well, “Phantasm” was already “borrowed” by Entombed 20 years ago, but it really is similar type of creepy melody. If you add the fact that the whole “Sleepers in the Rift” stinks like the early Autopsy albums and even the vocals are as raspy and horrid as those from Mr. Reifert, then I guess you can clearly imagine what “Sleepers in the Rift” is like exactly.
But one thing is to take influences from some old bands and another is to use them properly and compose some seriously arse kicking death metal tunes. And trust me, Morbus Chron managed to compose a killer album, one which not only sounds like it was recorded 20 years ago, but which actually delivers a number of awesome songs and many great riffs. I personally like the slow playing from “Sleepers in the Rift” most, the beginning of “The Hallucinating Dead” is just fuckin killer, it crawls like a dreadful creature in the dark and then all of a sudden Morbus Chron plays one of the coolest melodies from the whole album, while Robba’s vocals are especially disgusting here. “Through the Gaping Gate / Coughing in a Coffin” is another real favourite of mine, with again some stunning doomy parts, but also with more thrashing vibe in few fragments, which sound so fuckin great that I cannot stop my skull from banging! And “Deformation of the Dark Matter” – arrgghhhhh!!!!!!!!!! What a skinning alive riffing there! But that’s not all and those young Swedes show some genius riffs more often than many of their older colleagues. Their death metal is full of passion, enthusiasm, sounds like great fun to play and this is what I like most about it. Fuckin’ awesome it is, indeed…
Standout tracks: “The Hallucinating Dead”, “Through the Gaping Gate / Coughing in a Coffin”, “Deformation of the Dark Matter”
Final rate: 90/100