MORBUS CHRON – Sleepers in the Rift (2011)
Review by Estelle on the 7th of May 2014
- Through the Gaping Gate / Coughing in a Coffin
- Creepy Creeping Creep
- Hymns to a Stiff
- Red Hook Horror
- The Hallucinating Dead
- Ways of Torture
- Dead Body Pile Necrophile
- Lidless Coffin
- Deformation of the Dark Matter
Genre: Death Metal
Label: Pulverised Records
Date: August 29, 2011
Robert Andersson – Vocals, Guitars, Lyrics
Edvin Aftonfalk – Guitars (lead), Vocals, Lyrics
Adam Lindmark – Drums
Dag Landin – Bass
The four-piece death metal band Morbus Chron was founded in 2007 and released their first album ‘Sleepers in the Rift’ in 2011. Three years later in February 2014 they came up with a completely different and apparently more evolved and more mature concept with their second record, Sweven – but that is a horse of another color (and possibly another review).
The Swedish death metallers’ debut is most likely my personal favorite death metal album of our recent years, along with Asphyx’s Deathhammer from 2012. Why?
Incredibly wicked overall sound, incredibly heavy classic riffs, incredibly well-worked-out sections – and all these in the spirit of pure old school death metal. They still don’t make a mistake with going to the extremes of this old school-mania or dealing too much with being flawless: even though each beat, each cut is reasoned, thought-out and well-worked-out, we can still clearly feel their ‘easy-goingness’ and passion towards the music they play. They don’t want or try to be perfect, they are simply excellent songwriters and musicians who do their thing naturally.
As the first song starts with the little piece of fitting scary music borrowed from the good old horror movies we immediately get the beloved frightening, dark atmoshpere which saturates the entire music, creeps into the darkest depths of our souls and awakes our love for the evil in us. ‘Through the Gaping Gate / Coughing in a Coffin’ is a nasty, raw and complex beast which simply stinks of dirt – similarly to all the other segments of the album.
Each song has a beginning, a main part and an end, filled up with varied, twisted, mesmerizing yet classic riffs, disgusting raspy, agonizing vocals and a filthy atmosphere. The riffs are quite thrashy at some parts (especially in the fast sections of the tracks ‘Creepy Creeping Creep’, ‘Red Hook Horror’ or ‘Dead Body Pile Necrophile’), however, Morbus Chron seem to reshape the thrashy riffs by playing them a little slower and uglier than a thrash band would have. Along with the thrashy speed and riffs we can also hear some stunning doomy parts similarly to Autopsy’s way of building them into their songs; and on top of everything there is a little rock n’ roll feel in the solo of ‘Red Hook Horror’, bringing in a slight element of fun in the band’s gore-based music.
The unpolished production is a strong point of the album – it’s just as clear as it should be to make the music enjoyable and to keep the retro-feeling at the same time. The obscure, evil yet colorful and lively artwork is also highlightable: it catches our attention right at the moment we look at it, leading us to a mysterious and still cruelly realistic world.
With their dirty old school sound Morbus Chron present a tribute to legends like Autopsy, Nihilist, Entombed, Dismember, Grave or Carnage. Still, in spite of what you might expect, the album isn’t full of cliches. It is old school without ripping from its influences too directly – one thing is to take influences from classic bands and another is to use them properly and compose them into some ass kicking death metal tunes, completed with a labyrinthe of tempos and techniques plus a little hint of humour. They show they don’t take themselves as seriously as we might thought with song titles like ‘Creepy Creeping Creep’ or ‘Dead Body Pile Necrophile’, or by overdoing the hysterical coughing or gasping at times.
‘Sleepers in the Rift’ is one perfectly satisfying album for those who love the old school, and even though they know this is not something that will bring back the glory days, they crave for hearing those catchy, rotten and twisted riffs and classic gory, evil lyrics without photocopying the old legends’ way of playing.
Outstanding tracks: Through the Gaping Gate / Coughing in a Coffin, Creepy Creeping Creep, The Hallucinating Dead