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Morian - Sentinels of the sun 4/5

Reviewed: 6-13-08


1. Firewalkers
2. The legion of two
3. Away from the sun
4. The rats in the walls
5. Tomorrow she comes
6. Flak jacket
7. Sleep of the just
8. Recoil
9. Warmongers' ball
10. Smoke and mirrows
11. Remains (To be seen)

Although this debut CD was released in mid 2007, it must have slipped through the cracks. Nevertheless, the review for this excellent CD is done now; and I bring you Morian’s ‘Sentinels of the sun’.

This melodic heavy metal/gothic rock band hail from Finland and were created in 2002. In 2003, however, the band split into 2 factions; one continued on as Morian while the other became the band Zeel. The later did not last for long and broke up without releasing any material. Morian continued and released their first 2 of 4 demos later that year. A 3rd demo was released in 2003 and the 4th in 2005. Between then and early 2007, Morian were picked up by Dynamic Arts Records, where they released a single in March 2007 (“Away from the sun”), which was followed by their debut CD, which was released in May.

Morian consist of vocalist Janne Siekkinen, guitarists Sami Niittykoski and Mika Laitinen, bassist Jaakko Niemi, drummer Joonas Juutilainen; and finally Antti Simonen on synthesisers. Siekkinen has a wonderful, emotional voice which I just can’t compare to anybody else; but he suits the band’s melodic style to a tea. He has the kind of voice that would suit either melodic metal or gothic rock, as his range and melody qualifies for both genres. Morian don’t sound as heavy as most melodic metal bands do, but that is due to their infusion of gothic rock into their music. Morian also use quite a lot of synths and keyboards in their music, which brings another element to their style and overall the whole combination really suits the band.

The songwriting on the CD is very good, yet somewhat simple. However, I say that in the nicest way possible, as it works well for this band. Morian have found their little niche and it sounds great. I also keep forgetting while listening, that ‘Sentinels of the sun’ is this band’s debut CD, as the quality and quantity is something you would expect from a band into their 3rd or 4th release. Morian’s lyrical entail surrounds topics such as emotions, melancholy, life, love and death; pretty much what you would expect from either a melodic metal band or a gothic rock band.

As far as the songs go, all of them are very good and quite consistent. Morian have adopted a style where in most of their songs, they will start out heavy and powerful, but then drop down to a more calm, softer sound during the verses. But then the main riff and heaviness returns during the choruses. Normally this type of style can annoy me at times if it doesn’t sound right, but I've found that with the use of the keyboards and synths Morian uses that there was enough creativity to keep me interested.

Going back to where I said all of the tracks are very good, the 2 which rise above the rest, in my mind, would be the single “Away from the sun” and “Recoil”. “Away from the sun” is a great track, with obvious reasons as to why it was made out to be the single before the release of the CD. The track best combines the melodic metal with the gothic rock style Morian has employed. It may sound softer than the rest of the tracks on the CD, but it is certainly one of the best despite having a “commercial sounding” appeal. “Recoil” is probably one of the heaviest tracks on the CD, with some nice head-banging riffs and heavy bass to boot. Again, this song beautifully and creatively combines the greatness of both melodic metal and gothic rock, with some masterstrokes on the synthesisers.

Other top tracks on ‘Sentinels of the sun’ include the heavy and dark-sounding “Firewalkers”, the melodic “The legion of two”, “The rats in the walls”, the lyrically strange but enjoyable “Flak jacket”, the emotional “Sleep of the just” and the CD closer “Remains (To be seen)”. Towards the end of the final track, Morian lets loose with a ripping heavy riff which carries the song til the end; a great and memorable way to finish the CD I must say.

Overall, I was taken by complete surprise by the quality of this debut release by Morian. I have noticed now that there are a lot of metal bands which have really kick ass debut CDs, more so now than possibly 5-10 years ago. And that’s a great thing for metal, and for us, the metalheads.

Morian have an excellent style which will immediately attract fans from both melodic metal and from gothic rock. The combination, along with the heavy use of synths, is a breath of fresh air in my opinion and Morian should be very proud of their debut CD. ‘Sentinels of the sun’ is extremely good and we should watch out for more material from this band in the future. Well done.




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