REVIEW: Morrow – The Weight of These Feathers
Morrow are a talented young band of fellow Cascadians, hailing from Seattle and taking influences from sources as diverse as Agalloch, Sacramentum, and composers like Steve Reich and Max Richter. Their debut LP, The Weight of These Feathers, is a skillful and promising offering with some fresh sounds and unique mixes of ideas.
The intro track, “Allure,” spans nearly ten minutes, but remains fresh throughout. It starts with a string quintet where the orchestration is a little bit muddy but the overall textures and ideas are great. After a short pause, the motives established by the string ensemble are brought back, but this time with the force and power of melodic black metal behind it. The track moves from classical to melodic black metal to post rock and it all fits together very well. They say they’ve put four years of work into this album and the slow-cooked refinement definitely shows.
The next track, “Hiraeth,” continues to showcase the band’s excellent command of texture as its bittersweet motive develops and courses back and forth between post-rock and melodic black metal, with plenty of dynamic peaks and valleys adding to its pull.
“Elysium I” offers some of the heaviest music on the LP, as well as guest female melodic vocals by Summer Green. Her solo could probably stand to be brought out a little more in the mix, but like everything else on this album, the songwriting overall is great.
“Embers” is perhaps the most emotional track on the album, with simple plodding layers that build up to a doomy post-metal-esque crushing wall of sound that suddenly falls away to a defeatedly bleak guitar duo with lots of texture, extended chords, dissonances, and the first clear sign of their Steve Reich influences with some light rhythmic layering and repetition. After an acoustic guitar outro full of longing, more Steve Reich influence rears its head as things lead into “Beneath The Waves” and some of Reich’s process music style shows up in the repetition of two recorded guitar notes that get layered in different ways as a sort of ostinato that begins to blend into a drone.
There’s an incredible range of emotion on The Weight of These Feathers. On top of that the extremely wide range of influence has led to a skillful blend of compositional styles and techniques, textures and timbres. To have pulled off a record this ambitious so well is more than praiseworthy for a band so young. If you’ve been left with a hole in your heart from the absences of Agalloch and Woods of Ypres, Morrow is more than able and ready to fill it, just in their own unique and fresh way.