Morgengrau
Extrinsic Pathway

Hailing from Austin, Texas, Morgengrau is a 4 piece playing old school US death metal in the Master/Death/Incantation/Immolation vein. What makes them even more interesting is that the band is fronted by former Autumn Tears/Hod/Ignitor vocalist/guitarist Erika Tandy and the drums are played by another femme fatale, Reba Carls. Not that being females in death metal is anything to single out a band, but the truth is, its a male dominated genre, but these gals (and their two guy pals playing bass and guitar respectively) don’t give a shit.

With a nice, primal, analog sound and Tandy’s old school throaty vocals, there is a heavy Chicago sound to Morgengrau. There isn’t a whole lot of complexity or full speed blasting just a nice solid display of honest, old school gnarliness that isn’t steeped too far in complete retro worship or tone. One only need to go to the bands fine cover of Sepultura‘s classic track “Inner Self” to get a glimpse of Morgengrau‘s overall sound as it has a gruff, loose old school sound that’s rooted in thrash and death metal’s early days, but has just enough modern sheen to keep it from being purely retro or forcibly nostalgic.

But on the flip side of that old school sound is a fairly generic album. Other than the Sepultura cover, the rest of the 7 tracks never really grabbed me or bring me back for more. Outside of the 6+ minute closer “Polymorphic Communion” with a whole variety of moods and paces and promise for future material, really stood out on the album. Not that the likes of the title track “The White Death”, “Choking Grove” or “Grave of Lies” are chopped liver, they are all decent tracks, just not quite great yet. But I do like the band’s tangible influences that above the older US style as listed above and the cover song, seems to have slivers of Pestilence, Slayer, and Asphyx lurking around the song writing. And of course, without coming across as a chauvinist, the fact that the bulk of the band is delivered by two ladies, makes it even more impressive, even though it should not be an issue to bring to the forefront.

Still, the band has only really been active for a couple of years, so hopefully they can flesh out and develop their sound and become an underground force with the next release or two. I will certainly be rooting for them.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 15th, 2013

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