Review Summary: It is quite amazing that this was released in 2006 yet it has received so little praise. It is quite a unique listen with its blend of Doom, folk, and post-rock guitars. This band deserves much more for not only releasing an excellent cd, but an amazing d2 of 2 thought this review was well written
Wind flooded with ambiance approaches you, telling of an oncoming storm. Its message is at first almost but a whisper, but with each passing second it gets louder and louder. You begin to realize that this storm will be long and relentless. The howling of the wind does not subside and you begin to beg for it to end. You want to witness this storm and the wait is driving you mad. Suddenly, the wind ends and something that is ugly, yet beautiful begins.
The Morningside are a Doom Metal band hailing from Russia. Their focus is the vast landscapes of Russia and their soundscapes paint beautiful pictures. Unlike most Doom bands, The Morningside do not really convey a sense of endless dread into the listeners ears. Rather, they use the genre's staples to show a slow journey through the wilderness. Hell, at times the guitars even sound happy in a sense.
That is not to say this still isn't doom though. The lyrics tell of a dying wilderness and the vocals are definitely a highlight on the cd. The band is extremely minimalist in this aspect, but it makes each word more effective in their meaning.There is a good mix of growling and clean vocals with about 1/5th of the three main tracks have vocals with the intro and outro being purely instrumental. After a while, you want to hear a human's voice. Like, if you were lost in the woods all by yourself, it would not be long before you would want to converse with someone, anyone.
The drums are typical doom metal stuff, nothing too surprising. However, there are times on the album where it is surprisingly up tempo. The guitars are the thing to listen to on this cd though. With many acoustic and electric arrangements, there is an awful lot to listen to. The parts are expertly written and executed and one cannot help but feel somewhat attached to this instrument; like as if it were a friend or a lost version of ourselves.
Despite the short tracklisting, this is not a short listen. It adds up to about forty minutes with each of the three title tracks being at least ten minutes long. There is repetition in the songs, but it never feels dragged out or dull. The songs are good in their own respect, but work much better as a cohesive whole and after one listen I was hooked.
After the intro, guitars are abruptly brought in and you begin to feel as if you are lost in a familiar place. The instruments paint a beautiful picture with the guitars flowing perfectly. For what seems like forever, there is not a voice to be heard. You want to hear a voice and then the harsh vocals come in. Suddenly, you feel right at home. But not after long, the voice disappears for a long time. The guitars then become a friend, like a pet dog, to keep you sane from the silence of voices. This song, The Wind is probably my favorite out of the bunch.
The Trees is quite a different beast from The Wind as it has a much more depressing feel. It is slower and is more minimalist. Though, the guitar lines are really catchy and feel perfectly placed. But in the end it seems as if it was the end of a perfect day and you were staring at a grand panorama on a cliff. The vocals are even more minimal on this song then the first. However, the brilliance of the guitars is so outstanding, you won't even care.
The Shadows of the Past is the longest spanning nearly 13 minutes in length. This song is hard to describe. It's like the ending of your journey in a foreign land. This track has the most vocals, but they are still pretty minimal. The guitars do a great job yet again conveying the pictures of a grand landscape in your head. Combine this song with the outro and you get one of the most satisfying endings to a cd I have ever heard. The ambiance, the guitars, the vocals, everything is absolutely perfect.
It is quite amazing that this was released in 2006 yet it has received so little praise. It is quite a unique listen with its blend of Doom, folk, and post-rock guitars. This band deserves much more for not only releasing an excellent cd, but an amazing debut. It will be interesting to see how they will try and trump this.
I recommend this to fans of early Katatonia
and fans of Agalloch