Friday 19 November 2021

MORGANTHUS ~ CELLS ..... review

There is no getting away from the fact that Warren, Pennsylvania's Morganthus sound owes much to the proto-doomic blueprint first drawn up by the UK's Black Sabbath, however release by release the band have slowly been unravelling themselves from the umbilical cord tying them to the Birmingham Four and have steadily been developing their own signature sound, a sound still very much in the canon of proto-doom but one that is much more identifiable as their own. With their latest release "Cells" the band may not have fully thrown off their Sabbathian cloaks but they most certainly have redesigned them

.Unusually "Cells" opens with a song that is not performed by Morganthus, "Prel'oud" is a lovely solo piece written and performed by friend of the band Jim Schreiber, it is a classical sounding composition with exotic leanings played on an oud, a fretless African stringed instrument not too dissimilar to the European lute. Morganthus finally make their entrance with "Rats, Whores and Corpses" a thinly veiled poke at organised religion that finds the vocalist snarling in menacing nasal tones "Take your pulpit share the woe, beg for tears for every soul, Martyrs to your phony pleas, a rat leads rats unto disease" against a backdrop of thrumming doomic refrains and thunderous percussion. Morganthus take us to the foot of the sacrificial altar with their next song "Injecticide" a brooding low, slow and heavy tome that finds the guitarist and the bassist crunching out dark reverberating bass and guitar riffs beneath a powerful and ponderous percussive tattoo over which the songs lyrics are narrated in a voice racked with a mixture of remorse and pain. "Witch Tits" follows and begins with a sample lifted from some obscure horror movie then explodes into a dank distortion drenched groove that features one of those recurring guitar motifs that once it has you hooked refuses let you go. Lyrically the song draws inspiration from Hammer House of Horror movies and the writings of Poe, Lovecraft and Dennis Wheatley, the vocalist telling of  "flesh writhing in sin" and "summoning ecstasy" against a musical backdrop so dank and cloying you can almost feel it touching you. Finally we arrive at "Dead and Perfect" a sprawling atmospheric finale that proves that doom is at it best when it carries an air of menace in its makeup, the track also boasts a killer solo that cuts through the gloom like a sacrificial knife through flesh, a solo delivered short and sweet but that is nonetheless scorching.

Morganthus have had a few issues to contend with prior to the release of this EP, we won't go into those issues here, but they say that the best art comes out of adversity and Morganthus have certainly had there fair share of adversity during the making and and up to the release of "Cells". The band describe "Cells" as a recording "brought to you by a year of frustration, turmoil, and perseverance", so was it worth all that effort? We think so.
Check it out ..... 

© 2021 Frazer Jones

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