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Great ideas that lack the proper glue to hold them - 70%

Sharkuel, September 12th, 2017

So, Morvheim.

I actually found this one-man-band via Youtube suggestions, listened to this, and the previous album. And the previous one, due to it's production, I simply can't get into. And I feel that I miss a lot. But this album makes me appreciate what is in the mind behind the album to some extend, and I gotta say, there are some neat ideas here.

This is a melodic death metal act that resembles more of a melodic black band with some pop influenced melodies. You have pretty and catchy melodic keyboard sections, and clean vocals. The instrumental side of the album is quite creative and original, within the standard melodic death metal scene. The harsh vocals, also very cool, they have more of a black metal vibe to them, the clean vocals though...

Okay, I will dedicate a paragraph just for the clean vocals in this album. If someone said to this fellow that he could sing cleans, boy, or they lied to him, or I dunno. The clean vocals sound like he is being strangled with a shoelace, and yet he tries to sound like Justin Bieber. Dunno if he just tries to sound dissonant and desperate, but the end result sounds more like he is drunk teen on a karaoke boot with some friends, just for the giggles. It just takes away the melodic magic the album has, at least to me, and I would either prefer that he kept the more abrasive vocals where he implemented the cleans, or get someone who could actually sing. I am not asking for a Freddie Mercury here, just someone with some control in their voice, because his cracks all the time, and that by itself is a bummer.

Aside from the cleans, and if you can get past those without "cringing", you will get a surprisingly solid album. And when I say solid, I mean it. The musicianship is great. The guitar work is melodic and with constant shifts between sweeps, chromatic scales and heavy pounding powerchords, which give a certain dynamic without falling to that over the top glitter melodic death metal that the likes of Arch Enemy and In Flames made us get used to. They work pretty well with the keyboards that sometimes have a more "pop" feel, with great ambient synths and some strings. It even reminds me of some Symphonic J-pop that isn't over the top. All this blended in a solid effort that doesn't prioritize some elements in order to hide others.

But those clean vocals, man... They just spoil the album. I hate them, I really do. They are completely detached from everything else, and this is where the glue to hold this together fails. Dunno if they are intentional. If they are, sorry but I don't get them. Kurt Cobain didn't have a great voice, and yet he made it work. And there are a lot of other musicians that also do so without having some mad vocal range. It just feels that he was trying to achieve notes he never achieved in his life.

Nevertheless, it is a good listen if you like the more melodic, experimental kinda stuff. And if you happen to enjoy the strangled sounding vocals, then this will be a 100% album for you.