Morbus Chron - Sleepers In The Rift
Ah, Sweden. For the last 20 years, you've been a mainstay for some of the best metal the world has been graced with. Following in the proto-death tradition of fellow countrymen Entombed and Dismember, and featuring a sound along the lines of Autopsy, Morbus Chron mash together the crisp, raw production values of their forefathers, slam down enough of their influences in a swirl of their own unique talents, and unleash a potent dose of classic death with Sleepers in the Rift.
In about 35 minutes, Morbus Chron manages to reaffirm and tantalize my love for shamelessly straight-foward metal. Titles like "Coughin in a Coffin", "Hymns to a Stiff" and "Dead Body Pile Necrophile" pretty much sum up the lyrical matter for you; some people love themselves a gorefest, and if you can manage to discern what vocalist Robba is growling/shouting/shrieking about, you might find something to write home about. Personally, while I cannot say the vocals are any sort of highlight, they do exactly what good old fashioned death metal vocals are supposed to do; support, and not hinder, the actual metal. He can hold his own, that's for sure. I find myself consistently impressed with how catchy and, indeed, varied these tracks are underneath the battery of percussion. Robba and Edde form a dangerous guitar duo, with skills apt to the genre and it's ins and outs, knowledgable of what works and what doesn't. Many fantastic tracks to behold, from the chaotic, sprawling "Hymns to a Stiff", the punch in the throat of "Red Hook Horror", the hypnotic, looping guitar on "The Hallucinating Dead", and really, every track has it's moments. It's surprisingly hard to spot a flaw...
...except maybe the sound quality. It may get under some people's skins, how dated it sounds, but this is frankly the entire point. Many purists of the genre believe the best death metal has always sounded best in a raw, untouched state, and I tend to agree to a point. This particular blend of metal would frankly sound strange in an overproduced format. Those who still find themselves listening to old Autopsy and Entombed demos, or really, any self-proclaimed death metal fan, probably owes it to themselves to give Sleepers in the Rift a listen. Never my first choice for metal, but Morbus Chron are on to something special here.
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