Review: Marrowfields – Metamorphoses

Marrowfields is a relatively new doom metal band hailing from Newport, Rhode Island. Being formed in 2015, they were quick to release a demo in 2016 after which four years of silence followed, which ended with their recent return as they released their debut full-length, called Metamorphoses, in 2020. Initially a one-man project, Brandon Green was the sole member up until 2016, the band’s line-up has evolved in a quintet consisting of Brandon Green on guitar, Tim Cabral on bass, AJ Grimes on drums, Josh Moran on guitar and vocalist Ken Gillis. Their doom metal is rather atmospheric and of the epic kind, with lyrical concepts that mix old tales with the rise and fall of mankind. So in fact rather fitting the genre. Metamorphoses offers just five songs, all lengthy, all spanning at least eight and a half minutes. Again rather fitting.

Opener The Flood displays the atmospheric vibe that Marrowfields add to their tunes, not only via the compositions, but also via the mix. It has a Scandinavian vibe to it, mostly due to the vocal style and the fact that they sound rather distant in the mix. Though making them a little hard to focus on every now and then, they on the other hand add to the overall atmosphere, adding a bit of extra coldness. The guitars are thick, heavily set with the drums defying their rhythm at times, which actually strangely emphasizes them. Rather intriguingly combined in my opinion and if anything it surely keeps your attention pinned. The second song, Crow and Raven, starts very uncomplicated with a single, moody sounding guitar at a very slow pace. As the song progresses the vocals set in and the guitar lines brighten a little only to evolve into a heavy, stretched rhythm that lays a much more oppressive layer into the song. The song seems to end in depression as the moody guitar returns, but as it turns out it has an unexpected surprise up its sleeve.

On to Birth of the Liberator that seems to be set in a more straightforward heavy frame, as the dark, oppressive atmosphere seems to have been abandoned. At least for now. It even adds some speed about halfway through, which again is an unexpected surprise. The abandonment of the atmospheric aspect proves to be temporarily as it returns in the title song, an epic piece of work that combines and showcases all Marrowfields is capable of into one song. It ends on a rather heavy note, directly contrasting with the quite lightly set intro of closing song Dragged to the World Below. This one too contains fragments of all different styles of doom Marrowfields play, but the guitar lines are at times particularly striking here, almost sounding like they have been produced by a keyboard. Which they are not by the way. The bass lines add an extra layer to this, giving it a special vibe that is augmented by the ever far away vocals. A great song to end the album with.

As far as doom metal of the atmospheric type goes, Marrowfields has proven to have the capability and skill to produce a top of the line music that can compete with the best out there. The vocals, either or not deliberately muffled and far away in the mix add something extra to the atmosphere, which may not enchant all, but as far as I’m concerned it’s actually fitting pretty well. There’s plenty of variety in speed and atmosphere, although that always is a relative concept in doom metal. Nevertheless the 53 minutes of music that you get with Metamorphoses were over before I knew it, making this a pleasant-in-a-doomy-way type of release. Doom fans will devour this for sure. Very nice.

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