Morne have always been an impressive band; 2011’s lush but dark and heavy voyage into post metal/crust misanthropy Asylum will attest to that and going back further, releases like their split with Warprayer show that they had vigour from the beginning.
However, Shadows is the album they’ve been threatening to make all this time – a coalescing of all their strengths, harnessing it into one bracing listen.
On this album, Morne have soaked their music in more misery and abject sorrow than ever before and it’s this doom-laden hopelessness that, ironically, makes it an empowering listen. The emotion in each note is so invigorating and rich that the album almost becomes life affirming in its dying moment as the final track, the instrumental, ‘Throes’ drives Shadows to its conclusion.
Shadows is a tense and immersive listen, imploring you to give it your undivided attention as there is just so much to take in with each note. ‘Coming of Winter’ couldn’t be a more apt opening, as the frosty wind exudes from the distorted guitars that creep in in its opening seconds before the juddering bass guitar enters to craft a towering thick dirge of sludgy metal, complemented perfectly by Milosz Gassan’s pained vocals.
This is an album not only of iron will but of abject emotion, wearing these emotions on their sleeves, which ‘A Distance’ will attest too, where gloriously funeral doom-esque lead guitar work enter the fray initially giving way to soul crushing melodies and vocals.
The clean but sorrowful lead guitar work is a mainstay on this record; imagine the soaring guitars of Mourning Beloveth for a reference, and match this with the bleeding intensity of Neurosis and dynamism of Cult of Luna and you’ve begun to scratch the surface of Shadows.
This is an album of well-placed peaks and troughs, which shows the band on fine song writing form. Initially the album begins with very dense structures but as we progress, the passages become more and more sparse, adding to the overall barren mood of the record and the forlorn guitars pretty much take control on the title track and slow trudging death of ‘Throes’, which brings the album to a close.
Gloomy and morose but still crushingly inspiring and revitalising, Shadows is definitely Morne’s shining moment thus far.
Shadows is out July 23rd on Profound Lore