Morbus Chron – Sweven (Century Media Records)

Tuesday, 4th March 2014
Rating: 9.5/10

Somewhere in the realm of progressive death metal institutions Atheist and Edge of Sanity sits Sweden’s  Morbus Chron.   Formed in 2007 in Stockholm, they make their Century Media debut with their second full-length album with Sweven – a must-hear for heavy metal fans, and a mandatory listen for fans of death metal.  And in case you’re not familiar with the two bands mentioned above, this is nowhere in the ballpark of brutal death, deathcore, tech death, black/death, or what have you.  This is akin to old school progressive death metal meeting fresh ideas, culminating in something positively heavy, groovy, inspired, melodic, barbaric, and dare I say…masterful.

A veritable treasure trove of unique and awesome riffs, many of which are bathed in a reverb that primarily signals that this music simply stands far apart from the herd, the guitars are main stars of the show.   This is not said to denigrate the quality of the other parts of the band, simply to state the obvious…the riff composition, execution and interplay are out of sight (especially the use of clean and acoustic sounds mixed with the distorted).  I would be remiss to fail to mention that the drumming here comes across as completely organic and natural…this is a good thing.  Really good.

Singer and guitarist Robert Andersson’s bestial, hellish vocals are used in such a measured way here, never only for the sake of having vocals.  With lots of expanses of mind altering, nearly psychedelic musical swaths, there is apt time to let the music do the talking, so to speak, and his vocal delivery is icing on the cake.

With nary an ounce of filler, Sweven teems with captivating riffs and has every part feeling like an integral part of a puzzle.  In each song, one will find a “god damn, that’s great!” moment, and in each case these parts are fully supported by top-notch song structure, surrounding.  This is one of the best albums of the year, and probably one of the best death metal albums of the decade.  Special stuff, indeed.

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