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Beyond the Morninglight - "Liberation" (CD)

Beyond the Morninglight - "Liberation" CD cover image

"Liberation" track listing:

1. Liberation (5:00)
2. Drifting Away (4:21)
3. Open Your Eyes (5:29)
4. Depression Blues (2:24)
5. Lose Control (6:00)
6. Into the Crimson Sun (5:27)
7. Enter Solitude (5:57)
8. Goodbye Anthem (6:31)
9. Acid Rain (2:33)
10. Crossroads (5:04)

Reviewed by on November 29, 2012

"In ways, the songwriting has moved forward with this sophomore release, but overall, the tracks aren’t as exciting and lack some of the rock and roll hooks present on the first album."

There’s no doubt about it: Beyond the Morninglight is a bit of an oddball musical project. Sure, the duo hails from Norway, has a member named Runar Funeralheart, and is massively bleak. But somehow with all those ingredients present, the band doesn’t pull out the expected kvlt black metal routine, instead throwing a big metaphorical middle finger by going in a gloomy rock and roll direction, and let’s be honest – that’s pretty metal.

“Liberation” features a dark atmosphere that isn’t really found in any other band, metal or otherwise, that still gives it appeal to the extreme crowd, even with a total lack of growling or guitar shredding. Much of the album is actually even acoustic, but the dark vibe never lets up, and the lyrical imagery is about as depressing as it gets. The opening title track is without question the stand out track, taking the downer vibe for an evil ride and using the repeating rock riffs for an eerie feel. If “Liberation” is the star of the show, “Lose Control” by contrast is also the low point, following the title’s suggestion, as all the different elements of the music discorporate and play over each other in a fuzzy mess.

The album definitely has an Achilles heel, and it’s the very repetition that worked well on the opening track. Unfortunately, it never lets up, and each song is essentially based around one major chord or idea repeated over and over. That problem was present on the first album, but it’s really magnified here and taken to another level. On the one hand, these recurring sounds are what create the atmosphere, but on the other, it gets rather old while listening to the full album all the way through, and it makes five minute songs feel much longer.

In ways, the songwriting has moved forward with this sophomore release, but overall, the tracks aren’t as exciting and lack some of the rock and roll hooks present on the first album. The self-titled debut was slow moving, but this follow-up is even more so, and coupled with the repetition, it makes the whole thing a chore to get through in a single listen (although individual tracks on their own perform well). If you want to compare the two and find out for yourself if this bleak brand of rock is for you, check out both releases available for free through Misantrof ANTIRecords.

Highs: Awesomely bleak opening track, and the gloomy rock twist is nice for a change of pace.

Lows: The repetition kills extended listening, and the songs are much slower and less exciting than the last album.

Bottom line: Beyond the Morninglight's sophomore effort slumps a bit in comparison to the debut, but the gloomy rock and roll is still an interesting alternative to the usual metal suspects.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 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)