Morlocks deliver a bewildering array of Industrial, Neoclassical, and truly Alternative music on their third full-length release.
Bugger me, that was a hell of a heading to start a review off with! But, as you will see as you read on dear hearts, it’s all true!! I had never heard of Sweden’s Morlocks before, but when it dropped into my mailbox earlier this week, I was intrigued, and after listening, I was hooked!
Morlocks‘ history dates back to 1991, but after several splits, hiatuses (call ’em what you will), Their first album “…For Your Pleasure” was not released until 2001. Then the band “ended” in 2002 before main man Johann Strauss II reformed the band with keyboardist Logos, and guitarist Innocentius Rabiatus, and all deciding that there was way too much stylistic chopping and changing on the debut release. The second album “The Outlaw of Fives” released in 2011, cemented a still eclectic, but homogenous blending of the styles mentioned in the title. A big reason for this being that all 3 musicians much like Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse are all classically trained. In 2013 they were joined by bassist/vocalist Lamashtu
Into the unknown…
As I have already stated, I had no previous knowledge of the band, so was really not expecting what hit my ears. Starting off with a Neoclassical March-type intro with various spoken word samples building up a dystopian scene for what lies ahead.
“Mean World Syndrome” starts with more samples adding to the sci-fi-laden work ahead of us, before hitting the ball out of the park with a very Ministry-esque riff and groove. The lyrics are tongue-in-cheek, satirical, and humourous: “What kind of fuckery is that?” being one that made me chuckle. The vocals range from both clean male and female to full-on choral parts. A damned fine start!!
The third track “The Golden Goddess” throws us the first curveball of this release being a mainly female vocal (by Lamashtu) led electro-ballad, with classical Egyptian-style melodies. It’s actually rather beautiful, and rather haunting in its delivery. It’s anthemic final stanza of “Hail Discordia” is just fantastic, but you need to hear it, not just take my word!
Next, we have one of several shortish instrumental/atmospheric pieces that break up the narrative of the songs. “Meanwhile in Space” has me thinking of Zombi’s first album “Cosmos”, with its suitably old-school sci-fi soundtrack vibe. This segues into a spoken countdown, before “I’m The Payload” with it’s euro-pop-rock bounce has you tapping your tootsies, and bouncing around with its infectious energy. The song in itself is a short story involving the main protagonist being hunted down by a lady intergalactic bounty hunter!
Time for some “Airwave Anomalies” which is a plethora of various radio-type samples before we march on into…
FEAR! UNCERTAINTY! and DOUBT!
Or as it is stylised “F.U.D” in the track listing! This is the most overtly political and critical song on the album. Rather than using the metaphors and euphemisms of other songs, this is direct and hard-hitting. Taking on the subject of corporate greed and corruption, social divide, religious hypocrisy, and other such social nastiness the world has to deal with, its a hard-hitting narrative, backed up by a very driving yet melodic tune.
George Orwell were he still alive, would have really appreciated the next track “Instigation” as it grooves along with its 1984-inspired lyrics about the “Information War”. It’s done in a very playful and sarcastic way, with lots of vocal and sample interplay throughout. Simply wonderful!
The second best-titled track is up next, starting with a classical orchestrated intro, before launching into a bouncy story of fucking around with DNA and gene-splicing. “Inhuman Genome Project” wouldn’t sound out of place on either a KMFDM or <PIG> album (Not surprising, seeing as the band has collaborated with KMFDM‘s Sascha Konietzko before!)
Onwards now to “Not Too Far Into The Future“, the final one of the “interval” type tracks. This one has a real Jean Michelle Jarre vibe to it a la “Magnetic Fields“. Damnably fine!
The final triptych…
So far, one thing I have not mentioned is the relatively long length of the tracks – and to be honest you don’t realise it, as they keep your attention all the way through. And that doesn’t fail with “Fear The Watchman“. Initially, I hear a bass line that sounds similar to the Pink Floyd classic “Another Brick In The Wall Pt.2″, but this then takes another turn into something akin to something more gothic, before metamorphosing again into a beast of an industrial rock track with very much its own identity.
Now then, prepare yourselves for the best track title, and my favourite lyrics on the entire album… “Dicks In Tanks“!!! Now at first, it seems as though this is a dig at various warmongering Dicks (I wonder who considering current world events??), before evolving, or should that be devolving, into a pornographic and funny song about various sexual acts – that are metaphors for Gung-Ho type actions by certain leaders. It’s funny as fuck, and catchy as hell
“Hardcore! The weight of the junk, No escape from the heat of the spunk! I’m In charge! Barge! Let’s settle the score. Make no difference between sex and war!!” Now if that doesn’t make you chuckle you need to rediscover your sense of humour! As someone who grew up listening to The Macc Lads, and Ivor Biggun, I found this bloody hilarious! Add it to a seriously infectious groove, and this is the winner here for me!
But we are not done yet!! No, we have the final load to drop with “Cold War Fusion” The latter part of the title is very apt, as this one brings all the elements together. It’s lush, it’s dark, it’s light, it’s catchy as sin…. And before you know it, you have just listened to 70 minutes of superb music!
I’ll keep this short and concise. This is simply the most refreshing and original album I have heard in a long time!! Absolutely superb from beginning to end. A sonic Masterpiece!
1 – Nas tretji Uvod (4:24)
2 – Mean World Syndrome (6:04)
3 – The Golden Goddess (7:26)
4 – Meanwhile In Space (1:57)
5 – I’m The Payload (4:58)
6 – Airwave Anomalies (2:01)
7 – F.U.D. (5:56)
8 – Instigation (5:20)
9 – Inhuman Genome Project (6:44)
10 – Not Far Into The Future (2:41)
11 – Fear The Watchman (4:37)
12 – Dicks In Tanks (7:49)
13 – Cold War Fusion (9:42)
- CD $13.00 USD