......An album that has devastated me with its sheer energy, power and ferocity, and devoured me with the kind of intensity and potency that torches a fire deep in my belly, that keeps getting stoked by bellows that can only be compared to the wings of an albatross, as each track releases its wrath.
Have I heard my album of The Year already?! Is it even possible to foresee no other release reaching the nose-bleeding heights of the album that I have just bore witness to? An album that has devastated me with its sheer energy, power and ferocity, and devoured me with the kind of intensity and potency that torches a fire deep in my belly, that keeps getting stoked by bellows that can only be compared to the wings of an albatross, as each track releases its wrath.
I have taken a couple of weeks to really digest Morrow’s latest album The Quiet Earth, in order to be sure of some of the statements I’m going to make in this review. There are many albums deserved of the AOTY accolade, as each month rolls by. However, there are few albums that can sit so high as to be regarded as one of the albums that define a decade, and I believe this is one of them. This is an album that can hold its head high and proud above the rest when speaking of classic albums within the realms of heavy music. I say heavy music, because The Quiet Earth holds some magic within it for every person that succumbs to its sorcery. Morrow have bestowed upon us, their own form of witchcraft, that’s hugely emotive, heavy as hell, which plays and blisters without shackles or restraints.
From the strummed acoustic intro to the rumbling drums and ferocious vocal onslaught, that chokes on the cello-wept notes, you are instantly tossed into the throes of another world. Lyrically, Rejoice, This Quiet Earth is poetry, narrated with the hunger and harshness of two vocals that attack right from the outset, and this is the template for most of the album. Guest vocalists are strewn across the album, which gives it great depth and dissonant qualities.
This disharmonic triumph is displayed in all its glory on the track Totemic. The genius that is Alex CF breathes from every pore of this track, not to mention the song writing and instrumentation of David Robinson. Tempo changes, break downs, insurmountable layers and a relentless intensity, pummels the listener. From Alex’s’ gritty delivery to the black metal rasp that remonstrates every sentence, this track is a colossus. It stands alone as one of the tracks of the year for me. It’s thirteen minutes of epic-crusted hardcore.
To The Fold’s whispered intro is haunting and sombre and is the preface to the doom drenched, and down trodden funeral pace of the next section of music. Bereaved violins lament and lead the congregation, before an outpouring of intensity and visceral intent disperses the gathering into a fury of tears and tantrums, as more dual vocals bark and snarl in unison with every drum crash. Fugue Plague maintains the terror and potency that went before it, but the execution is delivered in a chorused outpouring, which gives Fugue Plague a more structured flow.
Those familiar with the work of Alex CF and one of his other creations Archivist will have a better understanding of the lyrics and their meaning, and that will give the music more life, if that was even possible. The Quiet Earth is in some way a continuation of Archivists third album but taken from a different perspective. It will all make more sense if you take time to dig deeper into the mind of Alex CF through his lyrics and his Novels. No review could capture all that this beholds, but I would advise checking out an interview Alex did a few months ago with Richie of The Metal Cell Podcast, where he summarises perfectly, the connection to both Morrow and Archivist, and the amazing journey it all takes.
Our Right In Rest is a story told by firelight amidst a dark and rugged terrain, romanticised by a story teller who builds everyone’s spirits with the words “we claim this ice as shelter matrimony with water and earth the branches bend for our bows the nourishing wealth, cloth and twine what malice of mouth and teeth that seek nothing but to do harm we are nothing but the ice made flesh we seek nothing but our right in rest”.
The closing track on this epic album is Of Sermons And Omens To Mend, and I can’t hide my sense of pride in knowing that a fellow Cork man, Howard, from Partholon has a part to play in this colossus. The track is heavy with grief-stricken vocals and grievous violin strings. It all builds slowly to that ever-faithful crescendo that graces every great album. Rolling drums, sand-blasted vocals and haunting cellos and violins build on the climax and finish on a masterful orchestra of grandiose layers and vehement voices, bringing to a close another chapter in this never-ending world.
There are so many great musicians and vocalists gracing this album, it’s mind-blowing. Every lyric and every note is delivered with blood and guts dripping from their mouths and instruments. Even if you haven’t followed the storyline between Morrow, Archivist, and the creative genius of Alex CF, The quiet Earth stands tall and proud as its own work of art. This is an album that will be spoken of for many years to come.