Morrigu - The Niobium Sky
Dark Balance
Melodic Doomdeath
14 songs (44:15)
Release year: 2009
Morrigu, Dark Balance
Reviewed by Kyle

Swedish group Morrigu, a band that features current and former members from Folk Metal band Eluveitie, is a rather underwhelming outfit considering what genre they’re pinned under. For a band that classifies themselves as “Progressive Melodic Doom / Death Metal”, they sound oddly commercial, venturing close into pop punk territory with some of their vocal melodies, and incorporating occasional growls that come off as unfitting and Metalcore-ish in nature. There really isn’t much of anything Progressive in the music at all, other than the scant time signature change or technical riff. But there is beauty to be found in all the simplicity, and on The Niobium Sky, Morrigu find a blend of melody and metal that, while not instantly accessible, pays off if you give the album multiple run-throughs.

The album begins with a brief intro, with a very ominous and sorrowful piano played against howling winds in the background while a voice being broadcasted over the radio announces that a group called “The Watchers”, that operates underground and is composed of various social classes, is criticizing and resisting a scheduled rocket test. I’m assuming that this is a concept album because of this, and the first proper track, Black Dust, does well to convey this mood of society organizing against the government, with strong vocals, great melodic Doom riffs that are both hopeful and sorrowful, and contrasting guitars that alternate between melodic leans and palm-muted chugs. It really feels like a display of rebellion, which is carried throughout the album both by the diverse sound and the lyrics. While cries such as “Those chemicals are not an answer” may come off as hippie jargon, I still applaud the band on trying to make a statement, though whether these moments are genuinely the band’s beliefs or just a part of the story is unclear; I’m assuming it’s the former though.

The production on The Niobium Sky is near-perfect; almost every single element stands out exactly when it is necessary, which is great, especially when the fantastic lead guitar melodies shine against the modest yet audible synths. The only little production quirk is that the vocals will often appear too loud in the mix, and considering that the lead singer’s voice (though loud and meaningful) can be a bit unsteady at times, this is something that should’ve been fixed. There are multiple vocalists in Morrigu; no less than two clean singers and at least one harsh vocalist (One of the clean singers and the harsh singers may be one in the same, though) are present, and while the lead singer shows up the most, the other two chime in just enough to keep things fresh and prevent the lead singer from grating.

Morrigu’s sound is strongest when focusing on grand lead guitar and vocal melodies that are backed by strong keys to give The Niobium Sky a big, often epic feel, though some moments seem a bit out of place. The Melodic Death Metal segments often come across as more Metalcore than Melodeath, harsh vocals and all, and some of the chord progression gives off an Alternative / Pop Punk vibe, which makes me want to shout “You got your Rise Against in my metal!!”. Yes, these kinds of moments feel misplaced amongst the music, and the Metalcore-esque moments inparticular come rather abruptly, but if Morrigu utilizes them in the future and finds ways of making them blend better with the music, they could pull off a really wonderful, unique concoction. Right now, however, it all seems a bit forced.

Thankfully, the multiple styles that Morrigu attempts to display actually better the music, as it adds more layers and makes the record all the more entertaining and interesting. The Niobium Sky is a peculiar album that won’t appeal to everyone with its offbeat, occasionally commercial style, but if you’re looking for something a bit different in your metal then you can’t go wrong in checking this out.

Killing Songs :
Black Dust, The Niobium Sky, At The Gathering Of Stars, The Great Finding
Kyle quoted 70 / 100
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