Looking at the cover artwork of Morvigor‘s sophomore full length album, Tyrant, it is really hard to discern what genre the band plays in. The visual aesthetics could easily range from psychedelic madness to one that is more avant-garde. The press release of the album does little to dispel this uncertainty as well, and the only thing that stood out was that Tyrant includes a whole range of influences – ranging from the grimmest black metal to psychedelia. How in the hell would that work out?
Pretty well, actually. With Tyrant, you never quite know what’s coming next as the band constantly throws curveballs throughout the album. Opening track No Repentance starts off with a lone melancholic guitar, but quickly turns into a punk-fuelled black metal madness, reminiscent of the works of Urgehal or Satyricon. Then as soon as the track ends and The Martyr’s Ascension begins, the band puts the listener into a depressive mood again, with the melodic lead and the heavy rhythm section reminding one of Watain‘s more recent works.
But the most memorable moment on Tyrant has to be that extended instrumental intro of Blood of the Pelican, venturing into instrumental black metal territory, exuding negativity and desolation while leaving me completely captivated. Or is it the title track with the punkish vibes that transforms into a folk metal song halfway through with that heroic, clean vocals that screams “victoryyyyyyyy”, before eventually going into that Pink Floyd-esque clean, psychedelic moment with that dreamy lead guitars in the background?
(Put succinctly, there is so much going on that if we were to identify every transition, name-drop every influence, that it’s gonna take a long time.)
Blending different genres into one release is hardly a new concept, but it is in the way that a band does so that makes or breaks a record. Morvigor on Tyrant proves themselves as capable musicians and songwriters, as they seamlessly move from one style to another with little, or no awkwardness at all. Every transition is put in place with intention, and even going from one extreme to another, be it in terms of style, or emotion, sounds coherent enough that it results in an emotional roller-coaster.
While many bands boast a wide range of influences from contrasting genres, few really do it as well as Morvigor has on Tyrant. The constant surprises that the band gives the listener makes for an extremely fun listen, and this is easily one of the few albums of 2017 that I find myself constantly going back to.