Morphetik- Proclamation of War Review

The promo materials for Morphetik’s sophomore release state that it “promises to usher in a modern age of thrash that pays homage to the originals while keeping their eye towards the future.” A lofty boast in a genre field that is well-populated with talented bands producing quality music. Just last year High Command’s Eclipse of The Dual Moons proved that thrash bands can honor their roots and look forward while completely slaying it. Bands like Toxic Holocaust and Municipal Waste have kept the energy and fun of the bay area sound alive but these Swedes tap into a more sinister sound. Does Morphetik practice what they preach with their Proclamation of War or are they another thrash in the pan? Our team of investigative reporters goes inside the mosh pit.

From the Diamond Headed opening stomp of “March of the Fallen,” you get a pretty good idea of what’s in store. Morphetik plays boots-on-the-ground thrash metal designed to whip up the circle pit and piss off the neighbors. Their sound taps into other bands from the motherland with an At The Gates and Entombed buzzsaw guitar but with a reckless attitude that feels more like Sodom or Kreator. Some of this is due to vocalist Julian Bellenox who has a Millie Petrozza and/or Tom Angelripper-like snarl. He’s not the most dynamic singer but he manages to substitute vocal cadence for melody in a way that effectively meshes the lyrics with the music. There’s an urgency to his style that sells songs like “World Wide War” and “Domination” despite their simple and repetitive choruses.

Morphetik feel like they’re having fun with this record. Without breaking new ground, the band effectively mixes and matches the tropes of the genre into a potent but enjoyable cocktail. Thematically, the songs dwell on your typical subjects: war, pain, endless pain, and nuclear destruction. While it would be easy to joke that 1988 called and wanted their lyric sheet back, Morphetik sell it. What’s olde is new again and the legacy begun by earlier thrash pioneers is carried on here. Guitarists Seb Reyes and Anton Svensson keep the perfectly passable riffs flying without turning heads too far. There’s a nimbleness to their style that allows them to flow effortlessly from chugging grooves to blistering licks. Their creativity lies not in the riffs themselves but the way they flow together. The net outcome is a fun and economical album of songs to mosh to. A song like “Death from Above” could feel like stock thrash if done by lesser players but Morphetik add an acidic spit shine that elevates the material. The guitar trills, the semi-truck drums and the screaming vocals converge in two and half minutes of fist-banging revelry.

Despite being 9 minutes longer than their debut, Omens of War (see a pattern here?), Proclamation of War runs just over 26 minutes. It’s a short and economical platter of sonic mayhem. There’s a bit of a Misfits “keep it short and leave them wanting more” attitude here and while this approach mostly works, there aren’t a lot of dimensions to the album’s contents. Things feel like they’ve run their course by the end, and I suspect that tacking any more on would only make the euphoric injection of thrashy excitement you experience start to feel stale. The sum of the record is greater than any of its parts and drummer Jester J seems to be the secret weapon keeping things cohesive and fresh. He maintains a frantic pace but embellishes each song with its own fills, flourishes, and feel. He has a bit of a caged tiger vibe and plays slightly ahead of the guitars but holds the thunder together deftly.

Proclamation of War is a fun and contagious bit of high-octane thrash. I don’t know if the band is doing anything new here, and I certainly don’t believe they’re ushering in a modern era of thrash, but they do their thing well. Morphetik firmly establish themselves as worthy players in one of my favorite genres of music. The album is a bit of a one-trick pony – but one that has spirit. I can see myself returning to it during workouts or late-night drives when I want something that slaps hard, short, and sweetly. If Morphetik want to truly set themselves apart, their next proclamation will have to be a little more unique.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: v0 mp3
Label: Witches Brew
Website: |
Releases Worldwide: February 24th, 2023

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