MORGION


"Cloaked by Ages, Crowned in Earth" (Dark Symphonies; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

In the early days of expanding my metal interests, Morgion was one of the bands that I instantly liked despite the fact that I had not yet totally accepted the doom metal style as a creative means of expression. In fact, Morgion's "Solinari" slowly has become one of my all-time favorite albums and I consider it to be a turning point in my recognition that metal is not just fast rhythms and screaming guitar solos.

Through the years I've always managed to meet people who've shared an interest in bands that haven't necessarily captured the fancy of metal fans everywhere. But that's not the case with Morgion. For some reason, I've never run into anyone else who shares my love for Morgion and that puzzles me to this day. Perhaps the band's relative lack of output over the years has something to do with it, but I am certain with the release of "Cloaked By Ages, Crowned In Earth" the band can capture the hearts of metalheads everywhere. 

By all accounts, Morgion's second full-length release, "Solinari," was a departure from "Among The Ruins" although both albums are neatly and rightfully classified as doom metal. Nearly five years after Morgion released "Solinari" the band has overcome inactivity and a changing line-up during the band's re-entry to the music scene to release the long-awaited follow-up. And "Cloaked By Ages, Crowned In Earth" has arrived not a moment too soon.

Just as Morgion matured during the five years between the recordings of "Among The Ruins" and "Solinari," the band has made yet another mature leap in their sound for "Cloaked By Ages, Crowned In Earth." The beauty of releasing material that has essentially been recorded over five-year intervals is that the listener isn't going to be underwhelmed by a repetitive, unchanging sound. One might actually consider the length between albums to be a double-edge sword: great for creativity and forging a new work of art, but bad for maintaining a presence in the minds of metal fans.

Soaked in atmosphere and exposing a new dimension to the band's sound with a heavy dose of acoustic guitars Morgion deliver the goods with "Cloaked By Ages, Crowned In Earth" at every turn. It is a sound that envelops the listener and transports the soul to an unforgiving place. The death metal leanings of "Among The Ruins" are now a distant memory. The vocals are more cleanly sung as opposed to the whisper/soft growl that marked "Solinari" yes, it is different and it is very good.

Morgion's timing couldn't be any better either. In my opinion, doom metal is experiencing a mini-revival of sorts with the recent release of My Dying Bride's "Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light" among other bands with recently released efforts that have jump-started the doom style (Swallow The Sun, Tyranny, Mar de Grises, etc.)

The bottom line? "Cloaked By Ages, Crowned In Earth" was well worth the wait. Here's to many years of creativity to bless Morgion even if it takes another five years to hear another album.

"Cloaked By Ages, Crowned In Earth"was produced by Mathias Schneeberger and Morgion.

Morgion: Dwayne Boardman on guitars and vocals, Gary Griffith on guitars, vocals, and keyboards, Justin Christian on bass, and Rhett Davis on drums and lyrics.

For more information visit http://www.morgion.com.  


"Solinari" (Relapse; 1999)morgion.jpg (8415 bytes)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Morgion, a doom metal band from Southern California, have set forth regale movements in an articulate and storytelling fashion. Morgion have garnered their reputation in the monolithic metal genre. Morgion have taken the origins of doom metal and applied their own American perspective and taken this once stagnant style to new heights.

Epic is clearly the operative word as eight tracks comprises 53 minutes of morose and funereal moods. Morgion patiently build drama from their deliberate arrangements. Elegance takes the form of ornamental passages that convey more sadness in ten seconds than most bands convey in a lifetime. The band's early European influences continue to shine; however, Morgion draw from a myriad of influences including atmospheric, death, doom, and psychedelic trances into a haunting concoction. "Solinari" is not only a singular achievement for Morgion, it will also likely stand as a testament of the resurgence of doom metal.

To describe each song would be pointless. However, it is more appropriate to speak of "Solinari" as a seamless effort that carries the listener through various episodes of sadness, lament, and woe. The defining characteristic of "Solinari" is the brilliant, yet melancholy, radiance from which the band's effortless results strike at the very heart of the troubled human soul.

"Solinari" is an acquired taste that is well worth the discipline needed to fully appreciate it. Most connoisseurs of heavy metal will approach the disc with untrained ears; fear not, Morgion have simply captured the essence of the sadness and conveyed that as well if not better than any musical act. If you thought Pink Floyd was music for the depressed then Morgion have upped the ante quite considerably.

"Solinari" was produced by the band and Schneebi (St. Vitus, Obsessed). The sound is phenomenal; there is a wonderful balance between all the instruments and the vocals are varied from spoken parts to howling death growls. At times the guitars are a bit over-distorted, but I believe this was intentional. The use of guitar synths and keyboards have given the music a sheen from which to launch beautifully haunting sections that will permanently etch marks in your mind.

Morgion are Jeremy Peto on bass and vocals, Dwayne Boardman on guitars, Gary Griffith on guitars (electric and acoustic) as well as synths, and Rhett Davis on drums. Peto and Davis handle the lyric writing duties while the entire band writes the music.

For more information visit http://www.morgion.com/ which is the official website of the band.


"Among Majestic Ruin" (Relapse; 1997)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

A few years before their sophomore effort "Solinari" was released Morgion put out a five-track debut entitled "Among Majestic Ruin." As debuts go, "Among Majestic Ruin" was a rude awakening for the doom and death metal scenes as it was readily apparent that Morgion's distinct, provocative sound was about to make waves in extreme music. 

With "Among Majestic Ruin," Morgion revel in their influences of Candlemass and Black Sabbath, yet not to the point of imitation. Death metal has a prominent stylistic influence on "Among Majestic Ruin" which was hardly apparent on their follow-up "Solinari."

The five tracks on "Among Majestic Ruin" clock in at barely 33 minutes, but it is a very high quality 33 minutes. All the familiar Morgion elements are present: the crushing guitar tone, the slow doom passages, and despondent moods. "Among Majestic Ruin" has more of a death metal urgency to it rather than the medieval overtones of "Solinari."

"Relic Of A Darkened Past" is a towering spire of aggression as chaos rules supreme in the subconscious mind. "Travesty" is a devastating instrumental that contains more of the keyboards and guitar arpeggios that would become more prominent in the enigmatic style of the band's future songs. "Invalid Prodigy" is a fast, heavy, rumbling track that evokes the thought of an imminent, but still prophetic hero. "In Ashen Tears (Thus I Cry)" is the song that most hints at Morgion's future signature sound; the track is slow, deliberate, and simply overwhelming. 

Compared to curtailed paces of "Solinari," "Among Majestic Ruin" is practically a speed metal album with greater application of guitars and quicker paces. In all honesty, though, this is quite a debut achievement for the doom genre. 

"Among Majestic Ruin" was produced by Morgion and Jim Barnes (Deceased, Fenix TX). 

Morgion are Dwayne Bordman and Bobby Thomas on guitars, Jeremy Peto on bass and vocals, Rhett Davis on drums, and Ed Parker on keyboards. 

For more information visit http://www.morgion.com


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


Back to CD Reviews Home

Back to RoughEdge.com Home

Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 15 Mar 2017 23:33:43 -0500.