Morbid Evils – Supernaturals Review

Loudness is a weapon. Many great sludge bands know that. Amplified judiciously, altered maliciously, sludge has the potential to be gargantuan, overwhelming—the thick ooze of a proper harmonized rumble can leave your innards sufficiently massaged with low-end pleasure. Morbid Evils knows this well, with previous encounters showering us with growling guitars moving at a funeral pace against a drowned-out, stoner backdrop. While changes across their previous outings arrived at a tectonic pace, Supernaturals erupts this mighty Finnish trio into a form that is far more visceral. Morbid Evils has chosen to double down on distortion and song length, while still keeping a runtime under the gold standard of 45 minutes. Will this sonic maceration leave us well-doused in dankness or unceremoniously pulped?

This question is as hard to answer as the one posed by the monolithic reaper1 on the cover: is he ripping your soul from above or thrusting his malevolence downward. Head of household, Keijo Niinimaa, explores this dichotomy of push and pull throughout Supernaturals. Niinimaa is no stranger to crust and grime, having fronted the long running HM-2-forward grind outfit Rotten Sound since its inception, as well as lending his talents to the newer, equally fervent Age of Woe. His many faces have seemingly collided here, with Morbid Evils increasingly approaching their marathon dirges with bursts of rage folded into their ritualistic repetitions (“Fearless, “Tormented”). With a huge and haunting guitar tone matched by a howl that echoes through every threatening layer, this latest cast may provide Niinimaa with his best backing yet.

When these fearsome Finns use their bottom-scraping talents to pull us through a brume of their own ugly creation, they create a mystical tether in their undeniably bleak world—a world permeated by dripping lead echoes and vibrating synth signals. From the get-go, slow-burn opener “Fearless” leads us down the rabbit hole with a waning digital chirp, allowing us to fall into the wash of black static that borders continuous clips. Continuing the crawl through “Anxious” Niinimaa runs an unholy amount of distortion through his six heavily abused strings, both to build the thick, upfront crunch (and passable low-end pulse with a bass octave pedal). Thankfully, in this oppressive environs, Morbid Evils never remains to far from a quick switch up to a lumbering, shattered guitar shake-up (“Tormented”).

However, Supernaturals still takes a lot of time getting to some of their curveball moments, which makes it hard to stay invested on repeated listens. We’ve already established that Morbid Evils does not play traditional bangers, but that’s not an issue all to itself. Similar providers of the sludgilicious arts, like Conan or Thou, manage to hold my attention in as much (or more, retally) time. Part of that, though, is that these more proven sludge providers rely on a diversity of tones that make extended segments feel ever-shifting. While the first two tracks are shifty enough in their attack, the cracks begin to surface on the second half. The massive kick dominates the low-end, and by the time “Tormented” rolls around, the dearth of all things low leaves it ringing closer to headache than a gut rumble. Leading right into the mammoth 14 minute closer—a closer which features not one, but two false feedback endings—the drone and tussle act that Morbid Evils continues to try and master simply feels like too much.

Despite their stumbles, Morbid Evils has plenty of potential. Unfortunately, making a lot sound like a lot with such a limited instrumental backing presents challenges they didn’t overcome. While their last album faired a smidge more green2 on this site, I long to be crushed evenly and thoroughly; Supernaturals falls short. A live arena might serve their ideas better in their current state. Sometimes, pumped cabs meet tipsy ears from a packed tight stage at a club where you wouldn’t want to see the floor, befitting of the creeping rattle that Morbid Evils assembles. But, for what we have on record, Morbid Evils and their hovering reaper neither push nor pull me in any discernable direction.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Transcending Obscurity
Websites: morbidevils.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/morbidevils
Releases Worldwide: August 19th, 2022

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Not a Lewandowski, but reminds me of his work all the same. RIP.
  2. We love you Aker!!
« »