Review: Morrow – Covenant of Teeth
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been called an “elitist bitch” I think I could buy an island somewhere in the Pacific. I’ll own it; I rarely stray from what I would call “the good stuff,” which is the heaviest of the heavy, the blackest of the black. The stuff that makes children cry and sends middle aged housewives running for their Bible. That kind of stuff. So when I was given a band who describe themselves as “emo-crust” I wasn’t quite sure I would be able to give it a fair shot; no demons shredding apart nuns on the album cover?! What?! I’m kidding…sort of. Since I’ve joined up with the team here at Metal at the Gates I’ve done my very best to look at the stuff that comes my way objectively, to step out of my comfort zone, listen to the music and give our readers a totally unbiased opinion on what I’ve heard. And just what did I think about the four song extended play from UK’s self proclaimed “emo-crust” outfit, Morrow, and their latest body of work ‘Covenant of Teeth?’ Well, kids, hold on to your butts because this elitist bitch just shocked herself; I actually really dig it. While I’m unfamiliar with the band’s previous works (if there is any, I can’t seem to find them on my usual sources) I can say without sarcasm or sugar coating that these guys are unique, complex, and masters of their trade. There seems to be a number of influences in the sound including hardcore, doom metal, folk metal and even some punk, and when you add in the cello the final product is overwhelming and beautiful.
‘Fathom’ is the opener and though there’s a solid five and half minute intro of various noises, chanting and the like that you’ll have to either scan through or deal with, once it finally gets going and that first “chug chug chug” of the guitar smashes you in the ear hole along with that cello, you’ll be startled by the power of the music. It’s heavy and yet atmospheric making for one of the most original sounding bands I’ve heard in awhile. Between the pounding of the drums and the growls of Morrow’s lead singer, Alex, the three piece (along with a list of guest vocalists) deliver an explosion of raw human emotion, which is sometimes fierce and aggressive and sometimes beautiful and moving, and sometimes both. The album as a whole has a very organic feel, the perfect production and the precision of the instruments together creates such a gripping listening experience. The other thing about this album is the remarkable lyrics themselves; between the four songs there are pages of lyrics, poetic and vivid, touching and full of meaning.
The second track titled ‘The Norr’ is a saga through time. A look into ancestry and Norse history, this track takes its intensely deep lyrics and couples it with its unique approach for a beautiful and totally immersive experience.
‘Forgiving Grin’ is easily the heaviest, most aggressive song on the album with an emphasis on aggressive, but even this one has those moments of sanity so we can catch our breaths.
‘Cleaved Fang’ is the final track of Covenant of Teeth and it’s no less awesome than the others despite it’s slow tempo, which drifts through cello-heavy portions and what I would call “pretty guitar” playing. After all of that, the turbulence hits and Morrow gives us that rush of heaviness and doom once again, thus demonstrating the band’s ability to weave the two together into some truly original and inspirational tunes.
I’ll be honest, I walked into this one with very low expectations, so I guess I proved you can’t judge an album by its genre label. This EP was excellent throughout and I’m floored at how much praise I feel it deserves. With Covenant of Teeth Morrow has put out one hell of an album and has really outdone themselves with masterful musicianship, I’ve never been a huge fan of instruments outside the norm for metal, but the addition of the cello sets these guys apart from the herd and brings new life into the sound creating atmosphere and driving emotion and depth into the framework. With beautiful and sophisticated lyrics, the production of the album, the emotion, the originality, the complexity of so many genres joined together I have no choice but to give this album due praise; even if it doesn’t have the copious amounts of Satan and blasphemy that I crave, this album was absolutely amazing. 9/10
Review by Nicole “The Black Metal Bitch” Rush