MORBUS CHRON - A Saunter Through the Shroud (CENTURY MEDIA - 10"EP 2012)
Hmm, one can really question why have Century Media all of a sudden decided to release all those old school death metal bands – whether they do so to jump on the new wagon of current underground success of this style or maybe there are some maniacs, who just really liked bands like Morbus Chron or Necrowretch. Personally I was very surprised once I have heard the news that the authors of excellent “Sleepers in the Rift” found their future in the roster of the German label. Well, I hope it will be for their good and that they won’t regret it once the good aura around this sort of music is gone. Anyway, the first sign of the new deal comes in the shape of this excellent 10”EP titled “A Saunter Through the Shroud”. I must admit that this EP was just a must have to collect and I love it. The artwork, again for Morbus Chron, is truly breathtaking, this time much more unconventional, without any monsters, zombies or whatever, but sort of cosmic, but beautifully painted cover. Just look how brilliantly they’ve adopted and fitted the band’s name into the moon. OK, they didn’t use their original logo, but it just wouldn’t fit here and I think that this moon idea is excellent.
Surely I must admit once I listened to “A Saunter Through the Shroud” I noticed quite impressive progression in the band’s style and sound. And I don’t mean by that something what have happened to bands like Cemetary or Tiamat, who just dropped off all their death metal trademarks and exchanged them for some gothic crap. No, Morbus Chron still delves into their old school death metal cauldron, but I can definitely see some sort of evolvement within their style. With these three tracks, which ended up on “A Saunter Through the Shroud” they somehow started to mix up the traditional Swedish and US death metal with kind of bizarre, twisted and more and more technical approach. Imagine then a blend of the Swedish bands like Afflicted with Autopsy and Death plus a lot of Darkthrone’s “Soulside Journey”, which I think may have been the main source of influence for those young Swedish fellas when composing “A Saunter Through the Shroud”. The music becomes more and more a challenge to listen to with such songs as “Channelling the Numinous”, which are as unpredictable and above the average old styled death metal band as you can only imagine. Twisted, technical riffs, unusual ideas, arrangements and structures, harsh vocals… it is really, really good, I must say, although at the same I do admit that it took me few spins of the LP, before I started to like it. But with such killer songs as “Black Orb Reverence” it was just destined to crush my skull. Pure “Goatlord” and “Soulside Journey” tribute! But of all songs it was “The Place of the Four Hundred Volcanoes”, which was the most challenging and bizarre to me. The riffing in it is beyond comprehension and sometimes I wonder what the hell is going on here and if they didn’t listen to some techno thrash metal (do you remember this genre hehe?) too much? I bet that this sort of music will give Morbus Chron some enemies, who would prefer them to play some simple and unimaginable pure Entombed copy.
Well, one may say that this is how you actually recognise a band, which will end up with a cult status from the bare copycats, which will die forgotten after one or two albums. We’ll see what will happen with those Swedes, but definitely Morbus Chron has putted a new standard with “A Saunter Through the Shroud”. I’m waiting now for the second LP, meanwhile I definitely recommend you getting this EP. Get it fast, as I think those 1000 copies will be spread quite easily and quickly.
Standout track: “Black Orb Reverence”
Final rate: 85 / 100