Morrow
Covenant of Teeth LP

Musician, artist and writer Alex CF has provided some of my favorite, emotional moments in music over the last few years. From Fall of Efrafa‘s Warren of Snares trilogy, to the incomplete Light Bearer saga, to the more recent Anopheli and Archivist releases, his deep concepts and various takes on crust/d-beat and post rock have been, moving, intelligent and brilliant. And while, it will be sad not to see the completion of the planed Light Bearer trilogy, Alex’s latest album certainly helps fill the void.

Joined by fellow Carnist member David Robinson on guitars, bass and drums, Morrow has Alex performing  the vocals and writing the album’s, as expected deep narrative. On this release that narrative is a post apocalyptic tribe called The Norr, who in the 22nd century are left to revive and document tales of mankind’s failed history and cultures in the ashes and ice of the new world via song. The album contains a few different languages as The Norr come from all corners with their own histories, vaguely remembered languages and songs to tell.  Helping this story are a number of spoken word and guest vocalists from Alex’s’ vast network of former bands and friends including Anopheli, Momentum, Archivist, Monachus, Wildspeaker, Temple Bell, Masakari and others.

Musically, Morrow culls from all of Alex’s past and current bands, delivering an epic brand of expectedly deep and brilliant, epic ‘neocrust’. You get a bigger sense of Anopheli  and Archivist due to the wonderful cello use, the long, rending builds of Light Bearer and earthy passion of Momentums/Fall of Efrafa’s d-beat/crust/punk.  The 4 songs range from 7 to 12 minutes, and there is ample sense of wonder colliding with brutish power chords.

Opener “Fathom” has  a few minutes of hypnotic fireside chanting before the cello and somber guitars slowly ebb into the track’s sobering mid point where the guitars come crashing in with a purposeful d beat canter for the rest of the song’s powerful duration. “The Norr” starts with more fireside poignancy some delicate female/child spoken words and acoustics before more gruff but melodic, familiar d beat gallops drag the song back to the stone age.

“Forgiving Grin” is the albums weakest and shortest track, but is still a more straight up,  cello laden, rousing crust galloper. The closer “Cleaved Fang” then delivers an eleven minute slow burner that recalls Light Bearer‘s more somber, evocative moments. With the cello providing a melancholic hue, the track is almost a post rock doom lope, but in typical Alex CF fashion, it has a somber, rending sway that gets you right in the heart strings until the last few minutes where the tempo picks up to a simply stunning controlled, cello laden trot to die for.

And while musically, this release and band has Alex CF’s unmistakable prints all over it, once again its the lyrics that make the release special, and Alex a genius:

“the sterns and bows of starveling ships
desiccate limbs seek egress
to touch the hot bite of tender skin
the iron pit black against our flame

these husks of unknowable ore
chitinous caverns that now bore
the raucous laughter and bilious throngs
that give meat to these tired old bones

frigid gasps seek to drag us astray
oh how it wishes to break us this friend
a tired old bastard cracked and worn
but the ice does not know that the ice is our home” (From “The Norr”).

Call it ‘neocrust’ or ‘ecocrust’ or whatever you want to call it, but whatever it is, it’s brilliant and once again shows Alex CF to be one of the more creative and brilliant minds in all of music that needs to get far more attention worldwide. And once again Halo of Flies delivers the packaging goods with nice gate-fold LP with a wonderfully adorned lyric sheet/inlay and map of the new world as well as the basic concept of the album. This makes for a complete aural and visual  and intellectual package that few bands and labels can match.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
September 5th, 2016

Comments

  1. Commented by: Dimaension X

    I’m fascinated with great, genuine conceptual albums. Morrow tells an original story that keeps you entertained. I also recommend checking out Anopheli and Archivist, both of which have a lot of the same musicians working together.


  2. Commented by: Grymm

    I’ve not been able to stop listening to this since I got it for review. All four songs are great, but this truly is a full-playthrough kind of album.

    Excellent review, too!


  3. Commented by: bast

    Holy crap I didn’t know this was out. If i’m not mistaken I got to know Fall of Efrafa a few years ago thanks to a review from you Erik and they blew my mind musically, artistically and philosophically.


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