Review Summary: An affinity for nature and atmospheric instrumentals destines this Russian metal band for greatness.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
There’s truly something to be said about obscure, non-North American metal bands. In my last few years of searching for music, I’ve come across a lot of bands, typically from Europe, that simply amaze me with what they can do with music, be it the most complex of compositions to the simplest of melodies.
Hailing from Mother Russia, The Morningside is one of these bands for me. Ever since I found one of their songs while browsing YouTube, I’ve fallen in love with their debut album, “The Wind, the Trees, and the Shadows of the Past.” It’s about 40 minutes long, which is relatively short for a progressive metal album, but it certainly is good. The record kicks off with a short intro of chilling winds howling across a barren landscape, setting up the lyrical theme of the album.
As the intro strongly implies, this album is all about nature and becoming lost within it. Naturally, it’s a little difficult to understand the depths of someone else’s work, especially when it’s delivered the often cryptic presentation of lyrics, but the core themes are abundantly obvious. There are some misspoken words, mostly in the form of added “s’” on the ends of words, but given that these guys are most likely not speaking English as their first language, it is dismissible.
Musically, this album is just fantastic. The melodies are simple and often slow, but they never drag or become stale, and the repetition of notes and segments never extends beyond a track, a problem that is rather common with a lot of bands these days. The music is very reminiscent of doom metal, but with a much more progressive structure and atmospheric instrumentals. All of the vocals are performed in a black metal style, save for a segment of hushed clean vocals in “The Shadows of the Past.” The guitars are the most stand-out in this typical instrumental setup, leading the tracks from catchy verses to mellow bridges. “The Trees,” in particular, is very fond of its windy backdrops over clean guitar melodies.
“The Wind, the Trees, and the Shadows of the Past” is a beautiful and melodic album full of rich atmosphere and snowy imagery. The songs are all unique, even from each other, and never slip into dullness. The tracks are nice and long, though few in number, but they fill up the space with beauty and merit.