Is a long and willfully clenched dread in service of an imagined threat mankind’s greatest physiological achievement? Could psychosomatic terror be such an apex trait that it’d express as an ‘unlock’ for the involuntary spasm of clairvoyance among the afflicted? To sustain a full lifespan in writhing, as a worm in psychic wonder, beneath the excess gravitas of submission to the constant voluptuous satiety of today’s era could be seen as a righteous privilege by most; A dawning point of mangled significance for a so evolved, and deluded, species who’d cower in boxed fear of ‘God’ for generations without solving their way out. Whatever promise any religion’d preach their answers are uncountable and unfulfilled reparations for the knowing wrongs of those who’d fear no Death with an illusory savior at thier back. Your ability to have a conversation with yourself, in your head, in collective literal silence is either the most virtuously hidden evolution of man possible or, a repetitive gauntlet of reactions to the random number generation of life. I see this well-nurtured dialogue within the work of many modern extreme metal musicians, those who’re virtuously introverted and talented in arrangement tend to cram an extreme number of ideas into over-baked structures, succeeding by the sheer momentum of youthful enthusiasm. Restraint is a crime of sorts among those who’re obsessively tied to niche when freshly gutted ‘extremes’ call for more. ‘Il Nostro Silenzio’ is the second full-length from German atmospheric death/doom metal band Morast, a blackened collective who’d task themselves with an examination of auditory hallucinations and the dialogue of the self, staring forward into the beyond. As cohorts among sludge and doom metal acts Morast bring an oppressive psychedelic rush of post-death/doom metal as ethereal as it is transgressive of black, death, doom and other dark extreme metal sub-genre norms.
‘Il Nostro Silenzio’ is a glowing, plodding hum of an atmospheric death/doom record just as Morast‘s debut ‘Ancestral Void’ (2017) was. There is no mistaking this sound for any other if already initiated but it’ll surely be hard to describe without misrepresenting the tone of the whole piece. The mood is thickly despondent, bitter but not seething, and with that scowling roar of descending mood comes an appropriately downward-flowing stream of atmospheric dark metal in Morast‘s hands. Slight influences from post-metal account for the aforementioned psychedelia and this adds a certain ‘wonder’ to an album that means to celebrate its deepening thrust into darkness. As much as I’d like to pull references from older bands and posit certain influences most options would suggest a different sort of ‘gothic’ flatness whereas Morast are much more in tune with the flow of old Jesu (or Owl) than they are Tiamat or whatever, and if we’re looking for direct lineage that’d be vocalist F.‘s prior project Blackwhole; The major difference in any case is a ‘harsh spoken’ vocal style that avoids outright growling, singing or guttural tones in favor of a more distanced feeling. In the wake of ‘Il Nostro Silenzio’ the major flaw of ‘Ancestral Void’ is revealed in the sense that it’d been a ‘one note’ full listen back in 2017.– Morast have tweaked the range of their dynamic without losing the sludge heavy post-metal waft that they do so well but, not enough risks are taken outside of their previously established norm.
The sheer thunder of the bass guitar does end up swallowing the listening experience into one big ‘walking speed’ extreme doom metal album but where I think Morast will delight the modern atmospheric doom metal fan comes with a regular wall of ringing leads that exist to jangle along as atmospheric support. The skull-cracking sludge tuned sustain of the production was a constant headache initially, and a detractor as I’d returned to the full listen on repeat. With the focus on those deeper and distant tones ‘Il Nostro Silenzio’ buries itself a bit by placing similar performances close together with no relief from the echo-addled spoken-sung vocals Morast have arrived upon. The use of effects, particularly on vocals, are initially a great fit for the type of soupy, rumbling modern atmo-death/doom style of the band but the unintended side-effect is again, a sort of unwavering sameness from start to finish because the flourishes hardly vary. I’d say most folks will realize they’ve gotten the full spectrum of Morast‘s oeuvre by the start of the fourth track, “RLS”, but this isn’t at all an album that lends itself to first impressions, it is a moderate ‘grower’ across several listens and holds some reasonable value thanks to a huge production sound and a repetitive-but-strong focus on atmospheric guitar work. It just isn’t a ‘riff album’ at all.
In the space of two months I’d set aside ‘Il Nostro Silenzio’ as too-low scoring to bother reviewing, though I could argue for above average sound design, concept and art direction. Throughout October I’d found myself loving the dramatic entrance of the first two songs (“A Farewell”, “Cut”) and consistently jumping ship by the time the fourth ended. “A Farewell” slithers and shoves its way forward, a ranting almost post-industrial metal cadence deployed by a death/doom metal band serves as a fantastic introduction. The driving 90’s death rock worthy basslines of “Cut” continue that same threat beautifully, working into an atmospheric sludge metal worthy riff near the mid-point. From there it’d seem like variations on a theme where the major points of interest came with atmospheric or post-metal flourishes. ‘Il Nostro Silenzio’ is an above-average album despite some plain redundancies across the full listen but it is yet an implication of potential. So I’ve come around on Morast‘s latest in terms of the listening experience but a recommendation is only directed towards the spectrum of fans shared between atmospheric/post-metal, depressive rock, and extreme doom metal. Moderate recommendation. For preview purposes I’d suggest starting with “Cut”, as I felt it showcases Morast at their most comfortable pulse and suggests the pace of the full listen whereas “November” would end up being my personal favorite after many, many listens.
I suffer as I pass. 3.5/5.0
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