18 May 2013
Morgue of Saints - Sleep/Death [Full length] (2012, Drowning)
From the vast nature of Canada comes Morgue of Saints, a band created by Elliot C as an output for his own droning, ambient doom tendencies. The album in question here is Sleep/Death, a three track conceptual piece that can potentially bear a rather large number of tags. Other written mediums aswell as Elliot C himself have referred to Morgue of Saints as both minimalistic funeral doom, drone doom, cinematic ambient, experimental noise and avant-garde.
In the strictest sense of the term "avant-garde" it doesn't fit Morgue of Saints. As it says in the liner notes some of the music is heavy influenced by early Earth, and I detect several other inspirations from other drone, funeral and ambient groups. Whatever you want to call it, Morgue of Saints primarily consists of droning guitars and ambient moods. The album contains the tracks "Death" and the two-part epic "Sleep". The two parts of Sleep are split by the lengthy drone track "Death" which is made up of nothing by a single guitar track. The bleak existance in the track so aptly named is underlined well by that sole, desolate guitar, but ultimately the track feels a bit too minimalistic and uneventful to justify being almost 24 minutes in length, and while drone has never been about grandios songwriting I feel at the same time that other bands have done this better in the sense that they still manage to create a feeling or atmosphere that the simplicity of the track emphasizes. One of the key elements in this type of music is depth, and the track "Death" simply isn't deep enough. The single guitar track and lack of any background ambience doesn't build up any tention, feeling, atmosphere or otherwise.
The track "Sleep" was split into two tracks - Sleep I and II - and is by far the most interesting track of the Sleep/Death album. The way the two parts contrast each other and at the same time feel so alike is astounding. Listening to the first part I can see where this "cinematic ambient" term comes from - The desolate mood part I sets for the album is very fitting and could well be featured on a soundtrack for a fitting movie. In the second part Morgue of Saints moves more into traditional funeral doom territory, and Elliot C does this rather well. His compositions on this track has a somewhat abyssal depth that fits so well together with the void-like intro to the album, Sleep I.
I mentioned that Death feels rather shallow. Sleep I and II are more or less the exact opposite in regard to atmosphere, and perharps this is the point of putting Death in between the two parts of Sleep. Starting the album out with the film-like epicness of Sleep I only to disrupt that mood with the simple drones of Death, and then finally returning to the mood set by Sleep I with Sleep II, only in a far more abrassive form. It's a bit far-fetched to be honest, and if this is the case I think the point will be lost to some. When judging the album as a whole I dislike that the middle track disrupts the otherwise great flow and atmosphere the other two tracks create, and I would much rather just listen to those two songs in continuation of each other and cut out Death entirely. 6/10 guitars.
1. Sleep I
3. Sleep II
MORGUE OF SAINTS on Bandcamp - Free download available!
Download also available here