Morgul - _Lost in Shadows Grey_
(Napalm Records, 1997)
by: Henry Akeley (8.5 out of 10)
This five-track, 41-minute offering of Norse black metal may not be notable for its originality, but it's extremely well-executed, and it's admirably free of the slick accessibility now offered by many once-fiercer Norse bands. Not that this sounds as animalistic as Ildjarn or something. No, it's more comparable to early Satyricon, but with less reliance on keyboards, more straight-ahead riffing, and overall clearer production. Lengthy songs are skillfully broken up into sections, but not so many of them that the song is impeded or fragmented by excessive musical shifts. Instead, all of the songs flow nicely through a variety of paces and moods, with some especially well-done mellow interludes providing contrast with the emotive, articulate black metal sections. (In this, they really remind me of Limbonic Art - but Morgul's overall sound is much more organic and guitar-heavy.) The haunting opening and interlude found in "Hunger of the Immortals" are especially cool. Listen closely for the baying of wolves amidst softly interwoven acoustic guitars and (synthesized) violin... and prepare to be smacked by an explosion of face-removing riffing and drum blasts. The opening to the excellent "River of Princes" stands out in a similar way. (This song also features a very well-recorded bit of acoustic soloing backed by black metal rhythm guitar.) Vocals are raspy yet expressive, and the mix and production are very good without being overly polished. Morgul may not be doing anything especially novel, but _Lost in Shadows Grey_ features such strong material, performed so well, that it doesn't feel the least bit derivative or insincere.

(article published 7/6/1997)

3/5/2000 P Schwarz 6.5 Morgul - The Horror Grandeur
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