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Morbus Chron - "Sweven" (CD)

Morbus Chron - "Sweven" CD cover image

"Sweven" track listing:

1. Berceuse
2. Chains
3. Towards a Dark Sky
4. Aurora in the Offing
5. It Stretches in the Hollow
6. Ripening Life
7. The Perennial Link
8. Solace
9. Beyond Life's Sealed Abode
10. Terminus

Reviewed by on March 31, 2014

"...direct fans of prog/death albums from Opeth's 'My Arms, Your Hearse' to Tribulation's 'The Formulas of Death' are going to love this new entry in the genre."

A group of Swedish youngsters is currently doing old school metal better than the old guys themselves. Morbus Chron's “Sweven” strongly brings to mind a sound from the late '90s or early 2000's, with a heavy progressive twist. Although the trademark alternating harsh/clean isn't present and the guitar tones are different, “Sweven” has a huge Opeth influence gong on, and it's likely fans of the earlier years of that band will dig this album.

Opening with a long and winding intro track that's more dreamscape than music, Morbus Chron works up the atmosphere before bringing out the death metal on second track “Chains.” By virtue of the melodic song structures and frequent changes in pacing and style, much of Sweven easily falls onto the prog or experimental side of the death metal spectrum.

Despite the prog focus, there's plenty of faster paced, thrash and death influenced guitar work at play, so it's not a snooze fest for those who don't want their metal to be meandering and introspective. Even the acoustic parts are interesting though, and the band works the acoustic melodies into the heavier parts so it all flows well.

The screams are incredibly hoarse and feature a tinny production, which works well for the style and helps to foster the old school feel. A good deal of the album features long instrumental segments, however, letting the metal do most of the talking. There is a ton of emotion present in the guitar work – both heavy and acoustic – creating specific atmospheres and moods without delving into sound effects or symphonic aspects.

Swedish death metal fans should take a gander at “Sweven” to see if they can dig the style despite the ever present prog aspects, while direct fans of prog/death albums from Opeth's “My Arms, Your Hearse” to Tribulation's “The Formulas of Death” are going to love this new entry in the genre.

Highs: Proggy, dreamlike atmospheres drift into Swedish death metal.

Lows: The hazy, old school production and meandering sound won't work for everybody.

Bottom line: These young Swedish lads have created an old school prog/death feel for fans of early Opeth.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)