Friday, September 09, 2011

Morne: Asylum (2011)


AsylumMorne's Asylum is a strange listen for me. Josh Haun had some great observations about it--namely that it is "a search for the sublime through heaviness," in contrast to metal's usual preoccupation with the grotesque.

Sonically, the album fits mostly into a sludge metal framework. The guitar tone is pure sludge, as are the hoarse, caveman vocals. It also draws on doom and post-metal, with a slow tempo and wave after wave of subtly changing power chords. Keyboards dance quietly atop those waves, barely rippling the surface.

There are times when the music gets light and airy, certainly seeming more Isis than Crowbar. It is mired in depression, but aches for beauty, and holds out hope for a better tomorrow, exemplified on the cello/piano/female vocals contained in the closing track.

I like the effect a great deal--but it's not nearly as successful as it should be. The standard, run-of-the-mill sludge metal vocals are ill-suited to what they're trying to accomplish. More importantly, it takes a long time to get going; the first half of the album (over a half hour) leaves little impression.

The Verdict: Morne has an interesting take on the sludge/doom/post-metal template, but there's still a lot of work to be done before they'll be changing the world. I give Asylum 3.5 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout out! This album took a long time to open up and click for me... if it hasn't convinced you yet, give it some more time when you can, because it is most definitely a grower.