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Primordial offerings of a future colossus. - 77%

hells_unicorn, September 24th, 2015
Written based on this version: 1998, CD, Loud 'n' Proud (MCD)

At the turn of the millennium, Morifade was a veritable force to be reckoned with in the power metal revival, particularly as it pertained to the long metal-friendly nation of Sweden. While generally more known for its death metal and doom metal scenes throughout the 1990s, there was a sizable number of bands turning the clock back a decade in the northern fringe come the middle of the decade, and apart from the recently converted ex-death metal act Nocturnal Rites, Morifade would come to be the most directly associated with the more German influenced strain that placed an emphasis on emulating Helloween and Running Wild. However, Morifade differentiated itself from its more traditional rival by leaning a bit more in a progressive direction as noted in bands that had initially influenced Helloween to some extent in the mid 80s like Fates Warning and Queensryche, and even in their earliest incarnation this was immediately apparent.

As their first offering with some degree of label support, Across The Starlit Sky presents Morifade in a fairly raw and primitive light, drawing some obvious comparisons to the keyboard-happy and somewhat quirky earliest offerings of Italian acts Secret Sphere and Labyrinth. Within the context of 1998, this EP is fairly forward working in its anticipation of a marriage of power metal with a slight helping of Dream Theater oriented asymmetric songwriting and flash that would become a fairly common staple in southern Europe a couple years later, but it is still largely rooted in 80s oriented practice that put it in a more conservative camp. This is most apparent on the second song "Tomorrow Knows", which definitely shares a bit in common with the fast, tuneful and keyboard-heavy feel of contemporary works by Stratovarius, but with a bit more intrigue to the rhythm guitar work and a bass presence closer to vintage Steve Harris worship. "Starlit Sky" follows a similarly symmetrical format, but is a bit more guitar oriented and definitely points back in a Helloween direction, whereas the other two songs have more of a progressive, mid-tempo character to them that is a bit different from their subsequent offerings, though not totally alien to them.

Despite the overall musical continuity on here that can be related to their debut LP that came out a year later, there are some heavy points of contrast that might leave some coming to this EP after hearing their latter day offerings with the impression that this is a different band. The biggest one is vocalist Christian Stinga-Borg, who didn't appear on any of the band's later releases and was also handling keyboard duties at this point. His vocal style is a bit more straight-lined and old school Ian Gillian inspired than the Tate/Kiske howl of Stefan Petersson, and his proficiency at hitting higher notes is a bit hit or miss as he tends to get a lot more gravely in his upper register. The production, which tends to cater pretty heavily to the keyboards and bass, gives things a slight demo quality, and while the guitars and drums are still largely audible, they don't have quite the amount of punch that is usually required for this style, resulting in something that sounds more like an early NWOBHM album, but faster and with a lot of keyboards.

While this is the sort of album that functions like an SRB rocket and is generally not an essential listen for most, it does serve as an interesting curiosity for those that became fans of Morifade following Possession Of Power, arguably one of the best albums to come out of the 1999 wave of power metal revival acts. The high point of this is the older version of "Tomorrow Knows", which has a more rugged and working class feel to it rather than a posh Stratovarius meets Edguy backdrop, and also has a larger vocal arrangement that's a bit indicative of where Saxon was heading just before they went totally AOR, but when discounting the weak production and the rough vocal performance, this is a decent collection of songs.

Well, I was disappointed - 66%

Rusty_Axe, March 26th, 2004

I heard a few songs off of Morifade's Full-Length album 'Possession of Power' and I saw this somewhere for cheap so I got this EP thinking it would be heavy and faster more like the full length, well i was wrong. As i started the cd i was immediately bombarded by keyboards everywhere and whenever those stopped(which wasnt very often) the guitar was hard to hear and it was over powered by the bass which just sounded god awful. The singer wasnt especially bad but he wasn't really good either he lacked something, I couldn't really put my finger on it, It was like he was forced to make the album and he didn't feel like singing. The EP ended with this really bad ballad with really uninspired corny lyrics, I couldn't believe it when they said this line "Forever in Wonderland, No Alice by your side" I didn't think anyone could write lyrics that stupid besides primal fear but i guess they were trying to surpass them haha. Well I do like Morifade but this album just doesn't cut it, if you want to hear something good by them pick up 'Possession of Power'