|Posted by THE DUKE on August 24, 2011 at 2:15 PM|
Morbid Sin- The Demos: 1988-92
2011 Stormspell Records
Well, here I go with another entry in my metal journal. This time I’m choosing a band to review that is a bit closer to home. Morbid Sin is a power metal band influenced by thrash and doom that hails from New Jersey. The band began as the brainchild of one Bobby Lucas, the original singer and co-founder of the New Jersey based band Seven Witches. Bobby along with guitarist Wade Tyler started Morbid Sin when he was in high school. The band produced a demo in 1988 called “The Arrival of the Sin.” They followed it with another demo called “Cauldron of Souls” in 1992. Finally, the band produced a full-length album called “Sins of the Flesh” that was shelved and not released until 2010 by Stormspell Records. The band was making waves in the tri-state area, when Jack Frost saw them perform live and then invited all members sans guitarist to join him in a new project, which became Seven Witches. Morbid Sin has since created a demo in 2005 called the “13th Child,” and have been rehearsing and playing with various line-ups ever since, with the two constant members always being Lucas and Tyler. I just feel that it is the right time to discuss the demos release, because 4 of the “Sins Of The Flesh” line-up have very recently reunited making it pertinent to discuss the CD release of the band’s early demos.
This CD release was long overdue. Stormspell Records has limited it to 500 hand-numbered copies. The cover art was done by singer Bobby Lucas, and depicts a witch being burned by grim looking Puritans as a visual companion to the band’s most prominent song “Sisters Of Salem.” The cover is intense, and Bobby conveys depth very well through the use of bright and dark colors. The smoke rising from the flames comes forth in the shapes of demonic looking creatures. I’m going to do something that is rather uncharacteristic of my approach to this metal journal and discuss the CD release track-by-track. For the sake of brevity, I'm going to keep the song descriptions short and discrete. The CD begins with 1988’s “Arrival of the Sin” demo. The title track to the demo kicks the disc off as a driving instrumental lead-in to the song “Injector.” “Injector” is a fast and furious tune that kicks into a rather cool riff at about the 1:47 mark. Lucas’ vocals are incredibly high, intense, and carnal. After the outright aggression of “Injector,” the song “Children Of War” begins in a rather epic fashion with a slick guitar solo that leads again into the vocal talents of Bobby Lucas, who at times on this song reminds the listener of Crimson Glory’s legendary singer Midnight. The song is a slow buildup to a killer riff that augments the pace about half way through the song. “By Reason Of Insanity” arrives next bringing aggressive, driving riffs. The song stands as a barnstormer of a track that recalls everything that was memorable and great about 80s, U.S. power metal. The demo ends with the track that may be Morbid Sin’s aural calling card otherwise known as “Sisters of Salem.” The track is a masterpiece. It begins with the sound of a fire burning followed by soft music segueing into a heart felt guitar solo. Bobby Lucas begins singing in a soft tone which then leads into an incredible, high-pitched scream followed by a cool riff and some savage singing again complements of Lucas. The build up at the end of the song is absolutely classic, trading heavy riffing with high pitch singing for the remainder of the track.
Track 6 begins the “Cauldron Of Souls” demo with a speedy piece called “Twisted Souls In Hell.” The song has a straight-forward impetus to it that’s infectious. The second song from the “Cauldron” demo is called “The Cathedral (Of The Black Monk)” and stands as one of my favorite tracks off of this demo. It is extremely catchy and memorable. The song “Endangered Species” is another fast and aggressive track, which is followed by another version of “Sisters of Salem.” This version is performed to the standard of the first, but sports a better production mostly due to the fact that it was recorded at Trax East studio. The one thing that I have to say about “Sisters Of Salem” is that it is my opinion that very few of the power metal bands in today’s scene could create a tune as well done as this classic. The song is so well written and performed that it surpasses 98 percent of the power metal that I have heard in the past 20 years or so, and it was created in 1988, which places it ten years or so before the power metal resurgence of the late 1990s. Jack Frost should have taken this song along with the members of the band to use on the Seven Witches’ debut album. I think that it would have outshined all other tracks on “Second War In Heaven.” Finally, the disc ends with the final track on the “Cauldron” demo called “Walking Through Darkness.” This song shows that the band can consistently create classic metal tracks. I haven’t commented on Lucas’ vocals on this demo, because they are on par with the first demo in the fact that they are at times very high, and show a great deal of range.
Most people who read my reviews probably think that I’m never critical of the pieces that I review. It may come across as though I have only praise for the releases that I discuss. Believe it or not, the majority of the metal currently circulating in today’s music stores, I do not particularly like. I choose only to review bands and albums that I find special and move me in some way, which explains my rather sparse review production as of late. I have to say I enjoy Morbid Sin a great deal. I believe that this band was flying under the radar in the late 80s, and should have at least landed an appearance on a Metal Massacre compilation or something similar. They were just as talented or even more talented than many of the bands that appeared on the first 5 or 6 volumes of the Metal Blade Records compilation series. Due to the year it was released, I could picture “Sisters Of Salem” as a track on Metal Massacre VIII or IX without any issue. To sum up this review, if you like power metal that is thrash influenced with powerful vocals, speedy interludes, catchy riffs, and effective time changes you cannot do any better than this release. The song writing is stellar and the musicianship is at times incredible. But enough of reading these words, go online or get out to an independent record store near you and buy yourself a copy or even two of this metal jem. There were only 500 copies of this disc produced after all.
Categories: The Duke's Classic Metal Journal