Archives of the Dead part XVII: MORPHEUS - In the Arms of… (OPINIONATE! - EP 1991)
Line up: Janne Rudberg Björkenfjäll (guitars (rhythm)), Markus Rüdén (drums), Sebastian Ramstedt (guitars (lead)), Johan Bergebäck (bass), David Brink (vocals)
Recorded at Sunlight Studio by Thomas Skogsberg in July 1991.
12", 500 copies pressed on yellow vinyl, and 500 on black vinyl.
MORPHEUS – after the killer EXHUMED demo – returns with their first official release. “In the Arms of…” is not, to be honest, as great as the demo, but it still has some good moments, where the band just crushes my head! But first of all I have to admit something. As I haven’t got (yet) the original copy of “In the Arms of…” I had to use audio copy I’ve found somewhere in the net. And so I was shocked that MORPHEUS music sounded so damn slow and heavy on it! Even David Brink’s voice seemed to be very low, almost like the band used some effect on his vocals to make them sound heavier. And then I realised that it can’t be true. As a vinyl maniac I know that sometimes it may be difficult to guess what RPM speed you should use for the LP; sometimes both speeds sound fine! And here somebody played this LP on his turntable with slower speed, making “In the Arms of…” sound very slow and low. Haha, very nice try! Luckily I managed to get a proper copy soon after and here everything is as it should be; I even got the SUNLIGHT sound back! And finally the opening song - “No Man’s Land” - is 6, not 8 minutes long ha, ha! OK, but I have to say I’m really relieved I’ve noticed this, as now MORPHEUS sounds 666 times better. I really couldn’t listen to that slow version with honest pleasure ha, ha. And so I can give it a second chance.
The opening song I already mentioned sounds just fantastic. It was the best track on “slowed down EP” anyway, but now it is just perfect. Starts with relatively mid paced riff, but then the tempo fastens, brings the proper death metal’s rotten energy. And then that fantastic melody came in the middle of the song, which I just love. For such melodies I love Swedish death metal. “Among Others” meanwhile attacks with some furious aggression and neck-braking playing, very similar to EXCRUCIATE for instance. I guess Swedish death metal hardly could have been any faster in these early days, really! “The Third Reich 3797 A.C.” is the most epic track here (with some spoken and sang vocal parts). It has a bit thrashing riffage here and there, but generally is little monotonous, as the riffs are simple and there aren’t any catchy parts in there, so I think it’s the most mediocre track on this EP. But the lyric about an Antichrist rising and starting his Third Reich, which destroys the world surely needs an attention he, he. Finally the final song, “Thoughts of Distrust” doesn’t really allow me to take a break as it invades my head with a cacophony of stabbing riffs. This track is similar to “Among Others” as it is equally fast and intense, you can be sure it won’t disappoint the fans of aggressive music. Finally that cannonade of riffs stops suddenly, so it almost seems like the world is also about to stop to exist (this is what MORPHEUS wrote about in their pessimistic lyrics anyway)…
I have to resume this review recommending MORPHEUS and “In the Arms of…” to every fan of Swedish death metal. This band can be easily putted together with the likes of EXCRUCIATE, EPITAPH or even CARNAGE. Sure, it may not be the most brilliant and catchy of all Swedish bands, but it has much to offer anyway. I won’t hesitate if I ever get a chance to buy an original copy of this 12 inch. Luckily there's also a CD and LP reissue from Temple of Darkness, which I am actually getting now! Awesome stuff!
Final rate: 75/100