Doom Metal is one of the genres where anything can happen. Unlike, say, Death or Thrash, Doom songs can go for ages without any problems, and all sorts of different moods and styles can be added. You can add Jazz, you can add Ambient, you can add a Death Metal feel, you can add Post Rock. MORGION, however, add a whole lot of bland to their version of Doom Metal.
So, what does it sound like? Put simply, MORGION combine heavy-ish riffing with lots of clean parts. Not a bad thing, as long as you do it right. You don't want to sound like a Doom OPETH. The slow, SABBATH like riffing is decent, but the production isn't raw and thick enough for this album. Doom needs heavy, crushing guitars, and while the guitars aren't exactly weak, they're not heavy enough to ever make the songs really heavy. Some songs, like “Ebb Tide” and “She, The Master Covets” (terrible song title) get close to achieving the crushing, overwhelming waves of distortion that you need in Doom Metal, but none really get over the line. Maybe it just means the bass isn't turned up loud enough. Regardless, it's not quite as heavy as you'd like it. The growled vocals are great though, and fit the songs quite well.
Unfortunately the clean vocals are terrible. They are disgusting. The singer has one of the weakest clean vocals I've heard in a long long time. There's no power in his voice, no volume. Basically, it sounds like he's still nervous of singing in front of people. It's a pain really, because the clean vocals come in during the best parts, the clean bits. The heavy parts are adequate, but the clean bits are pretty cool. “Ebb Tide” has a great tranquil intro, with some subtle and fairly awesome synths, and “The Mourner's Oak” has a long, steady build up, and is maybe the one song where the clean vocals don't completely ruin the tune. The one complaint with the clean bits is that they all sound fairly similar. Very similar, really.
In the end, the whole album just drags on into one long monotonous dirge. A bit more variation would be good! So, would I recommend this? Well, no. I'm not exactly going to run back and refund my CD, and it could be a lot worse, but this is a CD that the instant you put it on, you forget it's on.
(Online November 16, 2007)