Retrospective: Morne’s “Shadows”

As the seasons change, so do I. A large part of that is reflected in the music I listen to; the thrash and melodic death metal sounds that fill my summer and autumn have yielded to the darkened depths of winter, where the soundtrack tends to be of the black and doom metal varieties.

Since we’re in the first few weeks of what feels like true winter – living life enveloped in darkness most hours and feeling the first stinging bite of a New England cold wind off the ocean – it’s time to visit the aforementioned doom metal. One of the more recent releases to find it’s way into our Retrospective category, I give you the solemnly entrancing Shadows, from Boston doom metallers, Morne.

morne

The August 2013 release (the band’s first on Profound Lore) is their third — and without a doubt, their darkest — full-length. And though it received mixed reviews upon its release, it’s an album that really stands out in my collection.

While this may not fit the true definition of a “Retrospective” (I only recently discovered this band), the atmosphere Shadows forces on its listeners could not be more appropriate given the seasonal change in the northeast. It’s a sound fused somewhere between Evoken, Triptykon, and even Agalloch, at times–with vocals that could very well have been found on Mastodon’s classic Remission–and it takes you on a slow, depressing, ride.

Starting with ‘Coming of Winter’ (fitting, right?) the band surrounds you with a wall of black ambiance for almost two full minutes before beating you down with hollow, emotionless percussion. That’s not to say this track (or album) are emotionless–not in the slightest. It’s more that the sounds make you feel hollow and empty. A darkness gradually surrounds you and eventually pierces through you, most ferociously so on ‘A Distance’, the true gem of the album.

Moving through, Morne shows a tasteful application of melodic guitar tones, coupled with a meandering pace that truly allows the notes to develop and breathe, as should be the case in funeral doom. The title track ‘Shadows’ is maybe the best example of this. Really, it’s a theme throughout the album, and I am grateful for it.

I first bought Shadows on impulse, in search of an as-yet-undiscovered edition to my doom collection. Since then, it’s been an album I have gone back to repeatedly as the days have continued to shorten. It’s dark and depressing, yet hauntingly beautiful–surely an album that will take you on an emotional ride. Give it a listen for yourself and see:

If that doesn’t put you somewhere dark, I don’t know what will.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”

– Corey

Live. Love. Plow. Horns Up. 

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