Tuesday 12 February 2019

Ædelric - Liquidmorphium (2019)

Country: Bulgaria
Style: Gothic/Industrial Metal
Rating: 6/10
Release Date: 31 Jan 2019
Sites: Facebook

This one leapt out at me for a reasons. For one, the band's name contains a diphthong, which automatically makes them cool. Hey, metal umlauts are so last millennium! For two, they seemed to be a gothic metal band from Bulgaria, but a little research tells me that they're not really a band. So, for three, this is a one man gothic metal band from Bulgaria. That's even better!

That man is named Alex and he had previously co-founded and played guitar in Renomane, about whom I know even less. I believe that he's responsible for everything here, except for the vocals on Deka Si, presumably, because Martin Lutzkanov has a guest credit there.

Oddly, Deka Si is the standout track, because it isn't the lead vocal that makes it special. It just contains far more imagination than anything else here, from its very beginning with a tribal drumming sound that evolves into a handclapping routine reminiscent of Nina Simone's Sinnerman. Then, a solo choral voice echoes the pounding bassline and escalates into full choir (and I have a special fondness for Bulgarian female choirs). If it really is Martin Lutzkanov's lead vocal, he provides a relatively subdued folk song underneath the incandescent choir. There's also a flute section and a spoken word section. There's a lot here and it's good stuff.

And that's not to suggest that it's the only imaginative track. However, the other ten put together might not quite match Deka Si alone on that front. Echoes of the Force has flute too, as well as piano. The title track showcases an odd contrast in vicious guitars and frantic cymbals but an almost ambient keyboard backing. Ædelric fleshes out an organic electronica landscape under a driving industrial guitar. Falling Skies does much the same and Sanity does too. Struggle for Life isn't that far away either, with its synthesised strings and choral soundscape.

That's probably the worst aspect of this album. While Alex does vary up what's in his tracks, he doesn't vary much further from one track to the next and many of these start to blur together when the playlist isn't in front of us keeping us aware of where we are in the album. Perhaps those vicious guitars become a little more black metal wall of sound on Ballad of the Death but that's hardly a debate into which anyone's likely to care to leap.

Like morphium itself, this is easy stuff to like but it's also easy stuff to drift away from our attention until it lurks in the background doing whatever it does away from our focus. It's more interesting and certainly more varied than the similarly instrumental Ancient Hawks album I covered recently, but there's little depth here to explore. It feels less like a coherent album and more like a scrapbook of ideas to aid Alex's future work.

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