Morton - Come read the words forbidden 3.5/5
1. Calling for the storm
3. Brotherhood of light
4. Sleeping king
5. Losing faith
6. We are the shades
9. Burning prisoner
10. Werewolf hunt
11. Black witch
13. Weeping bell
Sometimes when the timing is right, roadies for particular bands eventually turn their dream into a reality by joining that or another band and gone on to stardom. There have been a few instances of that over time: Andreas Kisser, of Sepultura was a guitar tech for Max Cavalera until he was asked to join the band, while Frank Bello was a roadie and guitar technician for Anthrax before replacing Dan Lilker. Before joining Hawkwind and then Motorhead, Lemmy was a roadie for Jimi Hendrix, while Joey DeMaio of Manowar started out as a pyro-tech for Black Sabbath.
While there are a few examples of roadies finding fame and fortune, there hasn’t been as many written stories of sound producers claiming the same feat, it can be sometimes the other way round, band first then become a producer. In the case of this review for Morton’s debut CD, founder and vocalist Max “Morton” Pasechnik is a Ukrainian sound producer forming the band in 2009 after working with many others over the years. Rounding out the band is drummer Dmitry Smotrov, bassist Kull Karpov, and guitarists Roman Skorobagatko and Alexander Rudnev.
Releasing an EP back in 2010 (‘Grimoire’), Morton signed with German label giant AFM Records and in July of 2011 released their debut CD entitled ‘Come read the words forbidden’. Best described as melodic power metal with a decent layer of classic heavy metal, Morton’s debut is for the most part quite good, but with a fair amount of room to improve and evolve. There is also a nice sprinkle of symphonic/neo-classical metal thrown into the mix, that touches a couple of the 13 tracks on the CD. Mr. Morton himself is a quite talented singer, with a delightful melodic metal voice; and his delivery is impeccable. Able to sing both at a high-pitch but also mid-range makes him versatile and doesn’t fall into that monotone trap that some vocalists have in the past. Max also handles the songwriting duties, to which he has done a very good job; but again with room to improve.
Mixing up the quicker tracks with mid-paced and slower ballads, ‘Come read the words forbidden’ has enough to keep even the casual melodic power metal fan pleased. While the quality may be lacking a bit in a few of the tracks, on the other end of the spectrum, the far better tracks I can’t rate highly enough. Refreshing? Not really, but it’s melodic power metal, so refreshing shouldn’t be a factor anymore in this day and age; just the enjoyment of well written metal songs by talented musicians. Guitarists Roman and Alexander stand tall on this CD, ripping out some cracking riffs, hooks and solos during the faster tracks, quite technical in parts too I might add and overall entertaining and intricate. Kudos must also be given to drummer Dmitry, who puts up a flawless performance behind the kit and is one of the standout factors on this CD.
The opening track “Calling for the storm” has a strong and catchy symphonic and neoclassical influence to it (reminiscent of Thy Majesty), with well placed layers of keyboards and synths, and crisp and precise guitar riffs for that added grunt. The ferocity picks up a tad on the following track “Eaglemark”, slightly slower, but with heavier guitar riffs, the track is a blueprint for traditional melodic power metal. A nice twin solo in the middle makes for a memorable and energising song that reminds me of Secret Sphere or Dionysus. Despite being a bit of “happy metal” in parts with the overuse of the synths, “Oblivion” is another catchy track on the CD. Max’s vocals on the track is excellent, while the melody is very infectious and you can’t help moving to the sound. Catchiness is the prime factor in “Brotherhood of light” being a decent track on the release. Energetic and entertaining, Max’s passionate vocals stand out, while another blistering solo ensures that the skip button is not pressed prematurely.
The songs thus far have been teetering on the powerful and hard-edged side of the genre, so it is both “Black witch” and “Losing faith” that injects some much needed beef into the music to really crank it up. “Losing faith” contains heavy bass, thundering riffs and technical ferocious drumming; obtaining that grunt we were after. Still melodic to an extent, the track is easily one of the best on the CD. “Black witch” is a badass track that contains a brilliant classic heavy metal groove-tinged dirty southern style riffs throughout, not to mention the powerful solo in the middle. Max’s vocals take a gruffer approach suiting the music behind him, but still melodic overall. The other track worth mentioning is “Burning prisoner”, very similar to Pink Cream 69, has one of the most memorable and catchiest chorus’ in the entire CD, while the song itself is speedy with a nice blend of neo-classical metal forged with melodic metal.
In the end there are far more positives for ‘Come read the words forbidden’ than any negatives that may be lurking around, and for a debut it is very much still an enjoyable, entertaining and pleasantly surprising release. The extensive auditioning process to find Morton’s musicians have definitely paid off here and Max should be very happy with himself and what plan he has for future releases. Power metal fans who enjoy bands like early Firewind, Masterplan, Nocturnal Rites (around the time of ‘Shadowland’ and ‘New world messiah’) and any others similar will definitely dig what Morton are doing here and then some.
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