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The House Of Capricorn - "Morning Star Rise" (CD)

The House Of Capricorn - "Morning Star Rise" CD cover image

"Morning Star Rise" track listing:

1. The Road to Hell is Marked
2. In The Light of Lucifer
3. Our Shrouded King
4. Ashlands
5. The Only Star in the Sky
6. Ivory Crown
7. Watching Angels Fall
8. Covenant's Ark
9. Dragon of Revelations

Reviewed by on October 8, 2014

"...'Morning Star Rise' is easily worth a listen for fans of the earlier material, and the sound is a great take on next generation goth: dreary and dark, but in a much more legitimate way that will appeal to metal heads and not just angsty scene kids."

We've left the devil's days behind and now enter a new era where the morning star rises, as The House Of Capricorn shifts gears and produces more streamlined hymns to the son of the morning who resides below (for now). A sleeper hit of 2011, “In The Devil's Days” took occult rock and sludged it up with slow moving stoner doom for a very satisfying mixture of styles. Now “Morning Star Rise” continues that tradition, but with a tighter focus and less meandering between genres.

A hybrid formed from the darkness of black metal (minus the screeching vocals), doom, and goth, the band's music is simply referred to as “devil rock” in press releases, and that's actually a fairly good descriptor. It's heavier than the usual occult rock suspects (The Devil's Blood, Ancient VVisdom, Jex Thoth, and so on), but in the same general vein both lyric- and atmosphere-wise.

Changing things up from the last album, this release is much clearer on the production end. There's still super long, doomed out tracks placed next to shorter, more succinct songs, but on the whole “Morning Star Rise” is significantly more focused than “In The Devil's Days,” which featured a hodgepodge of tracks that occasionally sounded like they belonged on completely different albums. This tighter focus occurs both musically and vocally, with the vocals almost entirely a super deep clean singing that's more unique and less a Peter Steel homage this time around. The only variation takes place about 5 minutes into “Ashlands” with some killer hoarse screams.

The disc kicks off with “The Road To Hell Is Marked,” full of fury and the gloomy atmosphere that made the previous album so outstanding. Follow-up track “In The Light Of Lucifer” starts off strong as well, with a groovy hook that doesn't let go of the gloom, although it peters out about a minute in, settling into a mid-paced plod that's less exciting. That pacing works on some tracks but less so on others, most notably the 7½ minute “Ashlands,” which overdoes the doom and starts to drone on, and even more so on 9 minute closer “Dragon of Revelations.”

“Our Shrouded King” picks up the pace again and is one of the album's highlight tracks, never letting you forget you're listening to an occult rock act with a cry of “six hundred sixty six candles light the way!” Both “Watching Angels Fall” and “Ivory Crown” have catchy choruses (an anomaly in metal), although the latter unfortunately ends up a bit repetitive, with the former keeping up enough heaviness and variation to maintain interest longer.

Obviously, bands can't just release the same album over and over, and “Morning Star Rise” shows a needed evolution and change in focus from The House Of Capricorn. In this case the change has both ups and downs: a tighter sound is a plus overall, but the lack of variation makes the longer songs less engaging. Side stepping that issue, “Morning Star Rise” is easily worth a listen for fans of the earlier material, and the sound is a great take on next generation goth: dreary and dark, but in a much more legitimate way that will appeal to metal heads and not just angsty scene kids.

Highs: Occult rock get a heavier makeover with hints of doom and goth.

Lows: A few of the tracks feel overlong due to pacing and lack of variation.

Bottom line: The House Of Capricorn takes a more streamlined and focused approach to heavy occult rock this time around.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)