Morrow – The Quiet Earth Review

When you mention epic storytelling, your brain will zero in on the usual suspects: novels (The Lord of the Rings), movies (Star Wars), and video games (Mass Effect). Music normally doesn’t spring to mind unless you’re aware of the work of Alex CF. The former Fall of Efrafa vocalist1 crafted an epic tale of post-apocalyptic tribalism that has spanned not only eight releases so far, but across three separate bands: the sludgy futuristic Archivist, the overdriven doom of Anopheli, and today’s band, the downtrodden-yet-defiantly hopeful Morrow.

Over three albums, the Morrow trilogy guided us through the collective eyes of the Norr, a nomadic 45th-century tribe trying to survive a landscape and society long-ravaged by technology and warfare. If the 2016 debut, Covenant of Teeth, was the morose foundation, 2017’s monstrous Fallow was the beating heart and thunderous soul that elevated Morrow‘s songwriting chops and emotional impact exponentially, going so far as to land itself as my favorite album of 2018.2 The Quiet Earth, the rumored final album wrapping up the story that started with Anopheli‘s A Hunger Rarely Sated back in 2014, tries to perform the impossible task of not only tying up loose ends, but also following up the Herculean Fallow.

If opener “Rejoice This Quiet Earth” is anything to go by, Alex and company are largely successful. Between a furious acoustic guitar and pummeling drums, the Morrow trademark of several shouting voices, crying in unison over a d-beaten landscape and hypnotic riffing, once again stirs the heart and rouses the blood, making a strong case for Song o’ the Year honors. Elsewhere, immediate follow-up “Totemic” carries the listener, weaving a path rife with emotion and various twists throughout its thirteen minutes without once veering into boredom. Further on, the somber “Our Right in Rest” provides necessary respite in an otherwise emotionally overcharged album. Those three tracks alone could cement The Quiet Earth as the quintessential Morrow experience.

But there are three other songs on here, and those three songs trip the proceedings up a bit. “To the Fold” features an oddly syncopated final minute of weird, staccato rhythms and vocal cadences that disrupts the flow considerably. “Fugue Plague” keeps to the d-beat lane almost throughout the song’s six-minute entirety. Now, I love d-beats, and Morrow does them well, but six minutes of staying in that zone can be a bit much. Finally, closer “Of Sermons and Omens to Mend,” while not a bad song, doesn’t hit with the same powerfully emotional punch that previous closers like “Cleaved Fang” (Covenant of Teeth) or “Crown in Red” (Fallow) did.

Now, for those of you looking at the score below and balking, consider this, please: a Morrow 3.5 still stands head-and-shoulders above most bands’ 4.0s-4.5s. A Morrow 3.5 is still a raucous, furious beast of an album worthy of your time and money. It just had the unfortunate distinction of following Fallow, a nigh-unfuckwithable display of passion and heart, their own Master of Puppets or Slaughter of the Soul. Following that up is a daunting task for anyone, I don’t care who you are or what band you play for. The fact that we have The Quiet Earth at all is to be celebrated, and I can think of worse notes to go out on if this truly is the end of the story.3


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Independent/Self-Released4
Websites: morrowpunx.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/morrowpunx
Releases Worldwide: March 25th, 2022

Show 4 footnotes

  1. They, themselves, patterned after the Richard Adams novel, Watership Down.
  2. It was released Christmas Eve of 2017, well past the cut-off point of making any lists that year. That, and it’s too good an album for anyone to ignore or bypass.
  3. Though, honestly, I hope Alex and company continue on, because their contributions have been nothing short of incredible.
  4. The Quiet Earth will be released on vinyl by Alerta Antifascista Records (Europe) and The Plague of Man Records (US) at a later date.
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