The House of Capricorn - Morning Star Rise
Svart Records
Gothic Rock/Doom Metal
9 songs (43' 6")
Release year: 2014
Svart Records
Reviewed by Andy

The House of Capricorn's often described as stoner doom, but Morning Star Rise, their newest LP, has very little of the slow Sabbath-worship of its contemporaries in the genre. Imagine a Satanic rock act like The Devil's Blood, but with more of a gothic flair to the music than 70s-style retro. The lyrics are dark, the vocals are depressed, but the tunes are snappy and the album overall makes for an interesting listen.

The Road to Hell is Marked's post-punk riffs define the sound of the album. Despite vocalist Marko Pavlovic and guitarist Scott Blomfield's other project, Creeping, which is heavily atmospheric, doomy black metal, the songs here are just as "black" lyrically, but with a fast punk beat and mostly clear, though somewhat gritty, vocals. Even In the Light of Lucifer, which sounds at first like the intro to a black metal song, goes into a fast beat on the verse, even though the choruses are slower with more crushing riffs that somewhat explain the "doom" label I'd seen. Pavlovic uses some deep vocals that are layered on the choruses, but has no problem shouting out the lyrics to match the driving rage of the guitars on Our Shrouded King. There is the occasional guitar solo, but the solos don't last very long, and feel mostly like they are an afterthought -- pummelling the listener with those riffs seems to be the order of the day. Ashlands is slower and doomier, breaking and rolling with the thudding of the drum kit, with Pavlovic's vocals getting deep enough to call to mind Peter Steele, or Woods of Ypres's David Gold.

Ivory Crown is a favorite of mine, not only because the melodic hooks stand out from the rest, but also because even on an album filled with quick-time gothic rock pieces, there is a sinuous cleverness to every part of the song -- even the solo gets an double dose of the energy contained on the album, and the chorus is magnificently powerful without overstaying its welcome. Watching Angels Fall isn't quite as good, but still makes a good followup to it, with Pavlovic enunciating the verses in a rough groan, while the final track, Dragon of Revelations, finally gives us a 100% doom metal song, with the guitars playing slower than they have through the whole album and the vocals, sometimes descending to whispers, becoming positively funereal -- the Type O Negative comparison is even more apt here, given that the picked guitar bit played over the heavy backing riffs sounds exactly like something that band would have done. But even on this song, the beat speeds up halfway through, if only for a minute or two.

Morning Star Rise is a strange combination of the depressive and the fast-paced, but somehow it works, and the result is pretty unique. Fans of dark rock will probably like this one a lot, and anyone who enjoys The House of Capricorn's influences should probably give Morning Star Rise a spin.

Killing Songs :
Ivory Crown, Dragon of Revelations
Andy quoted 79 / 100
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