Proclamation Of War
Review by Greg on March 26, 2023.
Right from the cold lands of Sweden, a new thrash ensemble under the banner of Morphetik appears determined to worsen the Earth's climate condition by turning everything in their path into a triumph of hellfire... or, at least, that's what their latest offering Proclamation Of War seems to advertise. Let's give it a spin.
After a quick look at the cover art, you'll be frankly naive to expect something other than your uber-nostalgic, old-school new millennium thrash album. A lot of hints point me towards the less elaborate and more derivative thrash bands of the mid-00s like Fueled By Fire et similia, or maybe to later Hellcannon (circa "Return To The Wasteland"), but really the closest comparison I can think of is Avenger Of Blood, as Morphetik share with them also a rather brief average song length. At the very least, despite being Swedish, a couple of members having South American ancestry might justify their similar love for the subgenre's more extreme fringes. The album's tracklist soon reveals a parade of tracks that seldom venture past the three minutes mark, with a constant, piercing shriek (arguably a recrudescence of the frontman's black metal various commitments) on top and a super analogic (or wannabe such) mixing – for a grand total of 26 minutes of playing time. Okay, the debut Omens Of War (notice a pattern in these titles already?) stopped at 17, so... they're maturing, I guess?
You might have started to imagine where I'm getting at, but the main issue with this Proclamation Of War is that, well, you've probably heard it several times before. Strictly speaking, it may be considered a success, as I can easily see myself dating it to 1987-88 if exposed to it without any kind of context, and that's no doubt what the band was going for. But what does the album add to the last 35 years of existence, at the end of the day? Especially when several contemporary acts (not necessarily more ambitious – just think of Exul, Rezet, Battery...) have offered enjoyable twist to the style without scorning the space-time continuum, and when several veterans such as Kreator, or the obscure Finnish Tetragon, have embraced modernity, without denaturing their essence and still presenting something interesting? This approach, on the other hand, gives me unwelcome 'born in the wrong generation'-type vibes more than anything. Even Complete Annihilation itself, I could say I appreciated it, but even that one is now old enough to buy alcohol here. To say that time has passed and music evolved would be an understatement.
In any case, I can't deny that Proclamation Of War's only trick up its sleeve, much like the aforementioned Avenger Of Blood, can sometimes nail what it's going for. Okay, maybe the hyper-predictable, not to mention rather sloppy, "Agent Orange"-esque marching intro isn't the most exciting start one can experience, and some tracks speed by leaving the listener wondering if it's actually the 57th or 58th time that "Endless Pain" has been used as a title, but little more. Still, 'Domination', 'Fatal Incursion', the speedy 'Acolytes Of Destruction' and the choice cut 'World Wide War' surely offer more than the mere feel of seasoned extreme musicians reminiscing their garage rehearsals from '87, and 'Nuclear Homicide' tries to partially shake things up by presenting well-placed blast beats outbursts, not really standing out from its peers as a closer should, but not that somebody possibly expected it, after all.
To sum up, Proclamation Of War is incredibly faithful to the genre's roots, not to mention genuinely pissed off, but also hardly a game changer. I guess Morphetik will be a killer addition to my long 'bands I wouldn't mind opening a show I'm already going to' list, if nothing else.
Rating: 6.1 out of 10380