Review: Morrigu – In Turbulence

Morrigu, an essentially dark doom/death metal band from Switzerland, has been around for over two decades as it was formed in 1999 by Severin and Mirko Binder. During that period the band has had more than a fair share of headwind to deal with, experiencing issues with labels and members. At this point, by lack of a drummer, the band is a trio consisting of Severin Binder on guitar and as vocalist, Mirko Binder who plays bass and Luca Neukom also as guitarist. Apparently this has had its effects on the productivity as their track record only shows a handful of releases, three of which are full-lengths. That in itself is not an issue of course as I choose quality over quantity all day long anyway, so as long as the music is awesome all is good. That I am about to test as I received a copy of their upcoming release, a full-length appropriately, perhaps deliberately called In Turbulence. And what do you know? Completely in line with my preferences the guys have decided to choose the path of quality and authenticity, leaving only room for real instruments and not samples, something I, as a purist, can only applaud, but with which I had nothing to do. Anyway, they have put their money where their mouth is and to support their statement they have collaborated with a variety of people that all have had an input in the specific part of the production and recording of this album where their expertise lies. Among them are Adrian Erlandsson on drums, multi-vocalist Elektra Amber and Jens Bogren for the mastering. So the conditions are set, let’s move on to the eight-song, 35-minute long end result.

Right from the start opening anthem Our World Collides leaves nothing to the imagination. No obsolete, cheesy or even fitting intro, not time to adapt, they simply fire it up. Immediately one of the guest leaves an impression as well, as Elektra Amber’s clean vocals are a treat for your ear drums, adding depth to the song which proves she is a definite asset to Morrigu’s tunes in general and Severin’s growl in particular, provided it’s actually Severin growling and not Elektra herself. The song itself is, in line with this, a great composition. Especially the violin adds a, by me, much appreciated and valued atmospheric effect to this otherwise already great rough and heavy song. The next song, In the Shade, pretty much continues where its predecessor has left off, with the exception of the female vocals. Even though I stated that Elektra’s vocals are a strong asset, this song, with its pleasant riff and rhythm, shows Morrigu sounds damn’ great without them as well.

Then it’s time for a style change, when the more proggy sounding Blinded by the Artificial Light takes the spotlight. There’s some clean vocals to be heard which are defied by the song’s basic rhythm, making it sound a bit chaotic and seemingly a tad out of sync at times. These parts are alternated with pieces that are in line with the style of the first two songs, giving this song two faces. Though definitely not bad, not at all even, this somewhat chaotic feel takes away from the experience of this song. But, I do want to emphasize, that concerns only parts of the song and is definitely not a game breaker. With Crowned From Your Fear Morrigu abandons the prog-inspired style and, though speed-wise a notch down, gets back to the more heavier style they displayed earlier while maintaining the high quality. The intermezzo halfway through the song vaguely hints towards Slayer in their heyday as this too turns out to be a delicious song. This leaves us halfway through this release and I can only conclude so far this has all the signs of a true hidden gem.

The decrease in speed that has been set in in Crowned From Your Fear pretty much continues throughout the second half of In Turbulence, displaying the band’s doom metal roots, albeit only subtly. Eternal Darkness is a burdensome song that has quite some atmospheric weight, perfectly fitting its title. It has a somewhat desolate vibe that leaves quite an impression, although it’s hard to exactly point out what causes that vibe. On Omnia Elektra returns lightening the atmosphere with her great vocals, beautifully contrasting as well as augmenting the growls. I am all but inclined to advise the guys to incorporate her definitively… Anyway, the final two songs of the album, The King of Thieves and A Funeral of Liberty easily match the previous songs in both quality and execution, and the beautifully dragging intermezzo in the first of the two deserves a special mention. They conclude a very interesting, highly entertaining and qualitative half an hour that has passed way too fast, leaving me craving for more.

Although the year is not even a month old, Morrigu’s In Turbulence looks a solid contender for a top spot in my year list. The eight songs are works of art on their own, with the only point of criticism in my opinion is Blinded by the Artificial Light, which feels a bit of an odd duck in the pond. But, again, it’s only minor criticism. Other than that it ticks all the boxes, I can only recommend this to any and all metal lovers. Too bad it only lasts 35 minutes…

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