What’s Death Got to Do with It?
What’s Swedish, full of death with a hint of prog and thrash, plus gluten-free? Why, it’s the sophomore effort from Morbus Chron, titled Sweven. The bad news is that death metal is old enough now to experience a renaissance. The good news is that shit-hot bands like Morbus Chron are responsible for it, and killer labels like Century Media Records are putting it in earholes around the globe.
Sweven isn’t a tedious display of hyper-musicianship with sizzling scale-based solos or blazing fast drum fills. Sweven is a thoughtful collection of well-written songs that highlight Morbus Chron’s talents and artistry. It’s also refreshing that they took their moniker from an inflammatory bowel disease and not some overly eccentric evil adjective or postmortem verbiage.
Sweven is a musical journey; possibly even a thematic metal opus. There’s definitely dialogue and meditations on light and dark, as well as some delicious, dramatic dynamics. “Berceuse” is the first track, with an introduction that sounds more like a ’90s alternachilljazz song, but right when you expect the Portishead beat to drop, the song takes a more thoughtful, melancholy turn and then thickens with tension-building drums. “Towards a Dark Sky” is the third track and also the longest. Morbus Chron explore their diverse influences on this one, even mixing in some more progressive new stoner sounds. There are even a few songs, like “Beyond Life’s Sealed Abode,” that could easily make it to radio play and no one would bat an eyelid.
Remember, these guys are from Sweden, yet they manage to shake that typical Swedish death metal sound. If bands like Morbus Chron are driving the future of independent metal, then there will be more genre-bending and artful songwriting and less flexing of metal riff muscles to come. Support independent music and play some air guitar to the latest and greatest, dare we even call it, death metal.