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Underground Death Metal From The NYDM Axis - 90%

brocashelm, April 28th, 2006

The Northeastern US death metal scene took a shade longer to assert itself than it’s more highly hyped cousin down in Florida, but ultimately more bands of substance and meaning came from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and other snow-covered states than those choked by humidity. Morpheus Descends were actually one of the first to appear, although some bad luck and worse record label choices hindered their progress quite a bit. After a good but cheaply made debut album in 1992’s Ritual Of Infinity, the band went independent and pressed this mini-CD on their own terms.

Remarkably containing a much better sound job and far more formed and well composed songs, this is simply one of the era’s best death metal releases, period. Writing quite in their own style, the band’s sound recalls the highly structured tunes of fellow scene mates Vital Remains, although with considerably less reliance on blast beat tempos. “The Cruciform Hills” melds doom and death with equal ease, as does “Autumn Bleed,” and the entire affair is blessed with an appropriately dark and spacious production. As the record label feeding frenzy had come to pass by the middle nineties, it’s a lesson in determination and a true love of ones chosen music that bands like Morpheus Descends survived (if not exactly thrived) in an environment where death metal had already been gnawed upon and spat out by the majors.