CD Reviews

Morpheus Rising - 'Let The Sleeper Awake' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 12, 2012    
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A dynamic and melodic debut.

Nothing ever pleases me more than to write warmly in support of a quality debut release by a new UK-based band, and on this occasion they are another from the city of York that has already given us Vega and Mostly Autumn (amongst others). No surprise, therefore, to find that amongst the quintet’s personnel is one Andy Smith, also bassist with Mostly Autumn. Most of the songs here are co-writes between guitarist Pete Harwood and former vocalist Grae Tennick, who emigrated with his family last year. There are two co-writes between Harwood and new vocalist Si Wright, and the closing track on the album sees him adding to the original Harwood/Tennick template.

There really is a quite splendid assortment of songs too – and one can deduce influences from a wide range of rock and metal sub-genres, often within the space of an individual song. There is only really one song, ‘Lord Of The North’, which falls below the high standard of the rest of the material; it is a plodding workout that serves to exemplify heavy metal by numbers (or possibly letters!) Opening song ‘Daylight’ is an amalgam of MHR with slightly proggy interjections, the title track is a powerful and insistent slab of MHR while ‘Shades Of Grey’ really highlights the strength of the band’s twin guitar attack: Harwood and fellow six-string player Damien James Sweeting combining magnificently on what is the album’s longest cut.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

There is no let up on the second half of the album, either, and the hugely powerful ‘Those Who Watch’ with its keyboard-led introduction is clearly the song that artwork designer Dylan Thompson (ex guitarist & vocalist with The Reasoning) has focused upon with its burning cities and ravages of war. ‘Fighting Man’ has more of a proggy feel to it, and is an excellent track drives along nicely and this is followed by the solid, impressive and urgent number ‘Gypsy King’ and has some absolutely wonderful guitar tones. Indeed, this is true of most of the album, and its quality production values give a warm, sonorous feel throughout. Penultimate track ‘In The End’ is – it has to be said – lyrically inane, but is rescued by its great sound and quality performance. Finally, there’s ‘Quench Your Thirst’ which hits a raw nerve with me because the damn thing fades rather than closing out a rather splendid album triumphantly!

The band should feel pretty pleased with this dynamic and melodic debut. It’s not perfect, and they’re not the finished article, but given that vocalist Wright is a relative newcomer, he has acquitted himself very well overall while the rhythm guys, the aforementioned Smith and sticks man Paul “Gibbo” Gibbons, underpin everything solidly. Meanwhile the twin guitar attack shows itself to be something rather special here, and I really look forward to seeing the band before too long.

Paul Jerome Smith

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Framester said:

I have seen MR live about 3 or 4 times now and I'd really love to see them given a chance on one of the breakthrough stages at Download. Everyone plays their part perfectly but I particularly love the cracking guitar harmonies. Excellent examples of those harmonies are on the tracks Save The Day and Hold On, the latter of which can only really be described as a bit of a 'romp', guaranteed to induce a grin on the frostiest of faces. The skills are virtuoso but unpretentious and Si Wright is an engaging and genuinely likeable frontman. If you get a chance to see Morpheus Rising on the road, don't miss it.
June 13, 2012
Votes: +2

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