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The Morningside : Moving Crosscurrent of Time

The Morningside had released a good first album two years ago. 'The Wind, The Trees And The Shadows Of The Past' was that kind of accessible atmospheric Doom album that you could listen among friends that are not familiar with the genre. Music to relax, full of soothing moods, quiet and yet mournful moments. It had its dark edges, yet, an introspective dimension that made the band compared with Agalloch and Katatonia's 'Brave Murder Day'.

Today, The Morningside come back with a new offering that goes a few steps further in the dark territories they once only touched. 'Moving Crosscurrent of Time' is far more aggressive, in the Opeth way this time. The songs have given up their dreamy leanings; the music that followed some blurred and vague meanders on the first opus is now more structured, more progressive, richer and wider.

The sound is clearer also, which fits the new approach of the genre the band has decided to try. There is still a lot of Katatonia in it; the blackened vocals remind of 'Dance of December Souls' whereas the clean vocals bear great similarities with the fragile and a bit off-key voice of the young Jonas Renkse. The musicianship is excellent on every level.

I knew the work of the band on 'The Wind, The Trees And The Shadows Of The Past', and I liked it very much despite its obvious lack of originality. The band displayed warm, sad and sincere moods that somehow gently took you by the hand to lead you in the intimate landscapes they conjured up. It was all conceived as a whole, like a long quiet walk in nature.

If I could describe that first album as a dreamy walk, this new one would be of a different kind: it's somber, more dramatic. The elements of nature are always present - through discreet samples or sound effects that translate a "feeling of nature" - but they are pushed into the background, thought out as tools, pieces of a puzzle, with the purpose to build far more ambitious songs. Here a problem shows on the surface: when that "feeling of nature" was so omnipresent in 'The Wind...' - effectively drawing the album's structure and ultimately giving it an identity of its own, being just a 'brick in the wall' on 'Moving Crosscurrent of Time', they prevent the album from gaining the same kind of solidity. In short, the three first times I listened to it, I was confused, a bit lost: Where do they want to go? It sounded incoherent as a whole. And it still does a bit.

There's a lot of bass playing in that album. And that's a good thing, it gives The Morningside's sound a roundness that I like. Funnily enough, I more than once wished to hear a real bass solo, which never happened. Too bad! The sound is still very dry, I like that also. The Morningside is not a Doom band per se, they belong more to the 'dark atmospheric music' spectrum which, as you know, can take some useful tricks from Doom Metal (there is still a huge Katatonia influence), Black Metal (Wodensthrone, Khors, Winterfylleth are bands that can come to mind as comparisons) or Prog. Metal (there is, jotted down in the course of the tracks, some magnificent guitar solos that Pain of Salvation or Riverside could pour on their lengthy compositions).

All in all, compared to the first opus, this is... Well, different. I can't really tell if this is better. I still like very much the band's debut. Where the songs have become more ambitious, they also have lost a simple feeling that I loved. Anyway, The Morningside is a great band and 'Moving Crosscurrent of Time' is a really good album. Don't hesitate to check it out and decide for yourself (the artwork is beautiful if that can help!).

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Intro
2. 14
3. The Autumn People
4. Insomnia
5. Moving Crosscurrent of Time
6. The Outcome (Admit One)
7. Outro (English Version)
8. Outro (Russian Version)

Duration : Approx. 52 minutes.

Visit the The Morningside bandpage.

Reviewed on 01-02-2010 by Bertrand marchal
Aesthetic Death
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