Sleepers In The Rift
posted on 9/2011 By:
You could argue that Dark Descent Records has the monopoly on 2011's slew of awesome old-school Swedish death metal (Entrails, Undead Creep, Cryptborn, Miasmal, etc), but then along comes Pulverized Records, another label with a solid roster of retro Swedish-styled acts (Bastard Priest, Crucifyre, Necrovourous, Interment etc). But as with the label‘s Crucifyre effort, the result doesn’t match up to the likes of Entrails et al, even though they are doing something a little different.
I really wanted to like the debut from Sweden’s Morbus Chron much more. Other than the eye-raping cover art, the band isn’t content to simply pillage Entombed, Grave and Dismember (not that there’s anything wrong with that) as they take a more fuzzed-out, groovy and psychedelic approach that brings to mind more of a Furbowl, Autopsy and demo-era Afflicted sound. And while that kind of underground, less-obvious influence is commendable, the result is a little hit and miss.
While I love some of the retro guitar tones being plied by the current Stockholm revival (particularly the likes of Winterwolf, Cryptborn and Blood Mortized), I also love the fact that Morbus Chron goes for a much warmer looser tone that’s strung out and earthy. Same with the raw unhinged vocals -- this thing just has a great analog, DIY tone that’s part Nihilist demo and part early Autopsy.
But the songwriting can’t carry the fantastic tone as well as I’d hoped. I can safely say even with the mix on crazed thrashy numbers (“Creepy Creeping Creeps”, “Lidless Coffin”) and languid crawling hues (“Through the Gaping Gate / Coughing in a Coffin", “Deformation of the Dark Matter”) that there’s nothing on Sleepers in the Rift that really got me excited. I just kept waiting for Morbus Chron to wow me or deliver some killer riff or song that defines them, instead of rehashing a lot of Mental Funeral’s more off kilter moments (i.e. “Red Hook Horror”, “Hymn to a Stiff”, “The Hallucinating Dead”). All nine tracks are just there and don’t really seem to go anywhere despite a trippy, sickly fuzz and cantankerous rumble.
That all being said, there’s a distinct retro fog that gives Morbus Chron a little different character from the bands merely digging up a Boss HM 2 pedal and seeing what happens.
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