Even though this is the third album by these New Zealand devil worshippers, I had not yet had the pleasures of hearing their black tinged rock and roll. They are a hard band to label, so I will just say that to me they sound like a mix of Babylon Whores, the vocals of Alchemist, the vibe of Jack Frost or Type O Negative, the swing of Sisters Of Mercy and the evil intent of orthodox black metal.
Morning Star Rise is a shining tribute to the splendor of our radiant master, that old serpent, Lucifer.
Nine songs of praise are played with deadly precision. These guys are masters of their instruments and the sound they have chosen is a perfect fit to the music.
The album kicks off with the highly contagious swing of The Road To Hell Is Marked. The drumming is upbeat, the guitars are almost hardcore in their approach and the vocals reinforce this idea. However it soon takes another turn musically and the band takes us to darker regions. The clear production does so much justice to this music; the drums sound akin to the sound of King Diamonds on them!
In Light Of Lucifer is spat into existence with a riff that would fit on any good black metal album and the mix of this style with the groovyness of bands like Babylon Whores makes this a remarkable experience. The vocals are at one point just compelling you to chant along and there is a definite mood of desolation hidden under the music.
The band proceeds with Our Shrouded King, again combining black moods with a more danceable kind of rock to great effect. This makes you want to howl at the moon and dance widdershins in the night. There is no doubt about the unique sound this band has, it is hard to put a finger on, but I will tell you that this is great.
Things get a little more threatening and suffocating on Ashlands. Here the band reminds me of A Pale Horse Named Death and the “choral” vocals even remind me of the genius of Peter Steel. The songs pushing rhythms, the doomy melodies and the overall bleakness are almost overwhelming here. These are perhaps the best seven and half minutes of the album.
A very nasty riff signals the start of The Only Star In The Sky. As soon as the bass comes in, the song becomes instantly groovy again, and the fantastic drums help to keep this just as danceable as The Sisters Of Mercy. There are many hooks on this album, but this song has one of the strongest with the refrain. There is a point where it all stops and an evil guitar interrupts the mad dance of the lost, but it goes on soon after, taking the listener along on the dance of death, onward to oblivion.
The band proves time and time again that it is possible to have that eighties vibe, but with a modern sound and without sounding like a clone of the bands that ruled back then. Ivory Crown could have been a new track by Fields of the Nephilim for example, yet it sounds completely modern and fresh.
On Watching Angels Fall the band opens with a post-corish riff, only to use it for a step up to darker moods. I am reminded of the grossly underrated Jack Frost, but The House Of Capricorn are a bit faster and a tad less gloomy.
Covenant’s Ark is a dark, brooding instrumental that serves as an intro to Dragon Of Revelations, the final song on this album. It is also the longest track and it builds up slowly with evil picked guitars and foreboding doom riffing. After around the seven minute mark a clean guitar is added to the mix and this gives the track a sense of majesty befitting Lucifer himself.
Morning Star Rise is unlike any other album out there and I think anyone into any form of heavy music should give this a listen, I know I will play this regularly.
Scribed by: Kevin Kentie