Feb 23, 2014

Morbus Chron - Sweven (2014)

Album | Sweven
Country | Sweden
Genre | Death Metal
Label | Century Media Records

| Aurora In the offing |

Up and rising from Sweden, Morbus Chron come with their second full length Sweven, this time under the banner of Century Media, two years after their previous EP release in 2012. For the people that are not familiar with the band, confusion and curiosity should be common feelings, as these guys don't follow any rules at all with what they do, in a way that even the label "death metal" is somehow misleading. The first positive shock came with the colorful Sleepers in the Rift in 2011 and now it's time again to praise them for another glorious release. If you think you have listened it all when it comes to death metal from Sweden, Morbus Chron are always ready for a punch to the standards.

One can smell the peculiarity of the record from it's very album cover. Where are the skeletons, the graves and the well placed gore drawings? There aren't any because the band isn't of that kind, at least musically, which makes them even more interesting at first listen. The enigmatic painting of the growing face figure and the haze of blue / purple / white / black colors have an obvious artistic touch that only modern metal nerds would enjoy, it could fit to various non-metal albums and that's why die hard fans might already build hating momentum. Since I enjoy both sides of the river, I entered Sweven (which means something like a dream, adding to the album's looks) with a good mood.

The album is quite longer than their previous full length, climbing up to fifty two minutes in length (when Sleepers in the Rift was around thirty five) which makes it quite a tome of music. It's not easy to break it into parts either as the tracks are connected, a characteristic that helps a lot the flow of the album, if one wants to listen to it all together and not track by track. While Sleepers in the Rift had it's calm parts, they appear more than often here and the heavy moments have gone to a more melodic and technical path, saying that in the most positive way as possible, even getting a bit psychedelic from time to time. The compositions are both droning and dissonant, pretty innovative and well written as a whole, throwing in surprises whenever possible.

I don't know there is a thing such as "post-death metal" (the ending of the album in "Terminus" sounds like the outro of any minimalistic post-rock band) but it is the closest I can think of about Morbus Chron and Sweven. They maintain a pretty dark atmosphere from the first minutes with introduction "Berceuse", also presenting their unusual playing style which evolves into magnificent tracks such as "Ripening Life", "Chains" and "The Perennial Link". The acoustic parts are haunting and burdensome and have a significant part to the album's outcome. When it get's more intense, it's equally mesmerizing. The production of the album is excellent, the instruments sound amazing as if you can actually hear them breathing, keeping the dynamic range as high as DR9, which is acceptable by all means.

Sweven goes through visionary melodies and sounds, it's entertaining and unique. The band members did a hell of a job with creating the layers of the album, while the vocalist Edvin Aftonfalk has a quite personal voice, somewhere between the shouting of Obliteration and some more shrieked screaming. There was not any traditional growling, the way the rest of the Swedish bands do, ensuring how Morbus Chron wishes to differ from that scene. In overall, this record has lot's of good moments to give to the listener. It's appropriate for brave supporters of weirder and "avant-garde" sounds, as I'm not sure if the old school maniacs will approve. It still kicks ass though.

DAMAGE: 8.75/10


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