The Morningside - Letters From The Empty Towns

I had never heard of this band before, man was I in for a surprise. The Morningside started life in 2006 in Russia having gone by different names over an earlier period of time. ‘Letters from the Empty Towns’ is not a natural successor to their previous releases, as the band have gone through some development, this is one of those releases that genuinely changes your mood and increases your appreciation with each subsequent listen.

‘Sidewalk Shuffle’ blends the melodic death metal gnarl of 90’s Carcass releases (‘Heartwork’ to ‘Swansong’), whereby vocally there is a comparable vocal snarl. Guitar wise, there are complex but controlled guitar riffs that really create a genuine level of envy, its sounds so easy, but these arrangements are truly majestic in places with a certain aggressive stance. For further musical genius and interpretation you should listen to tracks like ‘Deadlock Drive’ and ‘One Flew (Over the Street)’. These have some amazing and soul searching guitar pieces, very much in the progressive death metal vein off Death (the ‘Symbolic’ to ‘Sound of Perseverance’ era) developing a level of relaxation and appreciation mixed with the chaotic extreme form of progressive but melodic death metal, or rather as the label states “melancholic metal”.

‘The Letter’ is an emotive piece of tranquillity that is laden with heartfelt emotion, you feel some pain and you live the lyric for the band whilst the poignant instrumental ‘The Outside Waltz’ provides a perfect balance to this release, a stepping stone to a different level of the release leading to its ingenious form of closure.

‘Letters from the Empty Towns’ has so much variation, so much talent, with arrangements that are interesting and very much in depth, and the cool trick is being able to take you as the listener with them on their musical journey. I have thoroughly enjoyed this release, it’s an album that you can live with on so many different levels and you take a different piece of your mind with you with each listen. Whilst I wouldn’t call this thinking man’s metal, it’s not virtuoso and pompous at all, it is an extreme form of music delving into the very minds of these extremely thoughtful individuals. You have to listen to this!

  1. Immersion  
  2. One Flew (Over The Street)  
  3. Deadlock Drive  
  4. Sidewalk Shuffle
  5. On The Quayside  
  6. The Traffic Guard 
  7. The Outside Waltz  
  8. Ghost Lights  
  9. The Letter