The Morningside
Moving Crosscurrent of Time

The Morningside’s debut, The Wind, The Trees and The Shadows of the Past, was one of the very first reviews I wrote for this site, and so it’s a pleasure, several years later, to revisit these Russian doom-deathsters and see how they’ve progressed. Just as before, there’s a heavy Agalloch and Katatonia influence throughout, and while there’s not a huge departure from the debut, everything here is delivered with the same sense of steady, measured balance. What’s different is the tone – harder-hitting, slightly more rougher-hewn – particularly in the grittier guitars and plodding bassline. The growls too – still the clipped, monochrome Agalloch-like delivery, but sharper, with more bite and intensity.

Much like before, The Morningside marries floating, regal melody lines over the rumbly, measured pace of the rhythm guitar, bass and drums; it’s a cleaner, more pronounced dichotomy than you usually hear from denser strains of doom-death. I love this particular sound – each song just carries you away, like an astral projection soaring over dark, choppy water. Some tracks, like “The Autumn People,” bring in a crunchier, bluesier doom approach, while others, like “Insomnia,” bring back the elegiac, acoustic passages from the quieter moments of TWtTatSotPInsomnium and classic Opeth fans take note. There’s even a bit of Rapture in here as well, with the rockin’ midsection of the title track and the entirety of “The Outcome.” I feel like maybe this latter track should have appeared earlier, to break up the first three tracks (since it’s a stylistic departure). That would have made the album feel more balanced overall, but this is a very minor gripe.

If there was one element of the debut I thought needed work, it was the clean vocals, which only return here on the album closer (simply titled “Outro”). The delivery is definitely improved, although still a bit fragile and tremulous at times. However, given that the song sounds like it came directly off The Cure’s Wish or Disintegration, this actually works really well. It’s even better in the Russian version of “Outro,” so if you load both language versions onto your iPod, I suggest putting that version first.

Even with the slightly grittier delivery, Moving Crosscurrent of Time is still not a particularly aggressive album, and that’s just fine with me. This is a relaxing and rewarding example of the genre, particularly for those of you who prize melody and contemplation over crushing darkness and despair. As before, The Morningside is highly recommended to fans of Agalloch, mid-era Katatonia and Finnish death-doom.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
July 16th, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: gordeth

    Great review. I love this album. In addition to the influences you mentioned, I also hear some early Paradise Lost in there. The beginning of The Autumn People sounds like something off of Icon. I highly recommend the digibook version of this album. It’s just like a little hardcover book with beautiful photography that fits the music perfectly.


  2. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    the references to the Cure’s Disintegration, which is my favourite album of all time, make this sound like something I’d like to hear. moar doom!


  3. Commented by: mccumberv

    I think this one is much heavier, much more dynamic and the vocals are much better, this is a good band and they will only get better.

    Awesome review!!!


  4. Commented by: Stiffy

    I really like this band, but I’d like to see them mature more on the vocals.


  5. Commented by: timmy

    Very strong album—-much better than their first in my opinion.


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