|Review: Morgul Vale - Dead Pride|
Year released: 2010
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: February 20, 2010
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 2/5 (40%) (1 Vote)
This is the first demo for Ottawa's Morgul Vale. And it is a demo – it sounds like it, and it's even a tape release. Somehow it's nice to hear a demo that doesn't sound like a professionally-produced album. You can almost imagine one of the guys walking to turn off the recorder when a song is over – that kind of demo feel. Call me a nostalgic.
This is mostly minimalistic black metal – not because of the garage-style production but rather this is basic, in-your-face, keyboard-free second wave type of stuff. Nothing artsy here, this is raw and dirty, so Dimmu fans, steer clear! The vocals are barked when not yelped – good luck understanding the lyrics here, but it's not unexpected in the genre. Pretty sick style that they should probably re-think, as the music calls for something more... Elaborate, especially the second and third tracks.
"The Beast of Centuries" is a bit messy and I'd say it's the weak point here – it doesn't seem to be going anywhere, as if the guys were just jamming with a few ideas thrown in the pot. It does have its good moments, but as a whole song I found it a bit hard to get through. Things get much better with the other two songs where things sound much more thought out. You can actually remember something from them – some cool, slightly catchy riffage in there, though a bit repetitive at times. "High Spirits of Devastation" is mostly mid-paced, though the drums might make you think otherwise (more on that later.) "Wanderlust" starts off really nice and slow, some grinding guitar slowly building up to a more mid-paced vibe, then the almost obligatory acoustic part in the middle which leads into a slow to mid-paced later half that conveys quite a bit of atmosphere and torturous emotion, very well done – you can just feel the pain and suffering. The drum sound hurts through and through, however. They sound like they're coming from the neighbour's place rather than from the same room as the others, and frankly I found that hard to ignore – a constant reverberating "be-doom be-doom" sound that just won't go away – but hey, let's not forget that this is a demo.
Morgul Vale show some potential here, but there's work to be done – a fatter guitar sound, obviously a better drum sound (and the drum work, as mentioned earlier, sometimes feels slightly out of sync with the rest), and maybe some vocals with more presence would give these compositions a whole new life. As it is, you can almost hear the songs say "hey, fill us up with super, you cheapo!" :) Nothing wrong with minimal production in black metal, but these compositions deserve a bit more. So, not a perfect demo, but it shows a lot of potential. Looking forward to hearing more stuff from these guys.
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