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The Morningside : Yellow

Moscow's most melancholy sons return with a more Doom-orientated version of their trademark miserable Post-Metal atmosphere.

'Yellow' sees Moscow's most melancholy sons return with their (technically, though actually probably fifth) third full length album, the follow up to 2014's 'Letters from the Empty Towns'. According to The Morningside's Bandcamp page, the concept of the album is loosely inspired by Kurt Vonnegut's WWII novel 'Slaughterhouse Five' in that it tells a non-linear story that meanders back in forth in time. An ambitious and lofty aim for any album, yet the musical and lyrical quality of'Yellow' does successfully manage to pull this off.

'To the Last Point…' begins proceedings in suitably melancholy fashion. It's a haunting Post-Metal instrumental track that builds a reflective atmosphere with some infectious riffing amidst sparse, melodic interludes and heavier, more frenetic passages. In addition to effectively setting a despondent atmosphere, the lack of vocals serves to develop a sense of anticipation. It's a bit of a tease, you might say. It keeps you listening as you wonder what The Morningside will have to say for themselves when the wild vocal rumpus begins.

And begin it most certainly does. After a melodic acoustic opening, 'As a Pilgrim' unleashes a crunching Doom riff, and Igor Nitikin's vocal, when it comes, is a harsh and brutal Death Metal growl. Throw in some powerful soloing from lead guitarist Sergey Chelyadinov and interestingly opaque lyrical references to 'ice bound bots sleeping beneath the snow', and the overall story that'Yellow' is trying to tell really begins to take shape.

As the album progresses, the melancholy and reflective tone remains constant, while The Morningside display an impressive musical range. 'Missing Day' in particular is an embodiment of the best of their Post-Metal, Doom and Death Metal encompassing sound. We hear clean vocals from Igor for the first time on the album with some interesting contrasts as melodic Post-Metal morphs into relentless, thumping Doom intensity. Lyrically, it heightens the feeling of sorrowful reflection as it laments time wasted. It's a topic that is explored further on acoustic number 'Clocks', with regret at missed opportunity, an inability to seize life by the horns, expressed with a dreamy whisper of 'Patiently the clock keeps count of the years we play it safe'.

As'Yellow' ambles its way to its plaintive conclusion, vocals are once again dispensed with for final track '…Then He Walked'. Again there is a Post-Metal feel, but there is certainly an iron fist of Doom beneath the velvet glove. The decision to start and end with instrumental tracks seems to bookend the album very effectively, and it is certainly a record that rewards listening to in its entirety, albeit there are also a number of tracks that work well as standalone numbers.

If sorrowful introspection is your thing,'Yellow' is a very effective demonstration of the art. Like an autumn day, it's sad, wistful and full of haunted memory.

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Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
01. To The Last Point…
02. As A Pilgrim
03. Out Of Nest
04. Missing Day
05. Depot Only
06. Clocks
07. …Then He Walked

Duration : Approx. 49 minutes

Visit the The Morningside bandpage.

Reviewed on 2016-10-17 by Nick Harkins
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