Mörglbl are a rather interesting musical entity. The predominantly instrumental three piece are heavily rooted in the realms of progressive metal, and from there, they add plenty of jazz and fusion elements to their sound, giving an end result which comes across as ‘Frank Zappa and Steve Vai meets Dream Theater’. It’s highly technical, mesmerising and a solid compositional approach to making music, and this album marks the band’s 8th studio release and it also acts as a landmark, celebrating 20 years of fusion-jazz-prog metal. So, take a seat and listen to the tale of Scott (with gratuitous umlaut use and bizarre song titles!)
Like mentioned above, this album is a highly technical release. The level of detail in the composition and arrangements is what you would expect from a technical leaning progressive metal band. Shifting time signatures and polyrhythms dominate the flow, all locked together by a solid drummer who effortlessly switches up from rapid and heavy sections to more free-form jazz, switching from measured and deliberate to nonchalant and showboating. The bass work is just as reliable too. Bearing many similarities to the iconic bass virtuoso’s like Billy Sheehan and Stuart Hamm, there are moments of melodic shredding to pseudo-funk popping lines, rich tones and great augmentation of the riffs and of course, a real rounded sound. Slipping in and out of ‘lead fills’ to intricate runs which tie in with the drums, it helps lock everything down, allowing for the guitar melodies to take centre stage.
Guitar wise, well by comparing Mörglbl to the likes of Frank Zappa, Steve Vai and Dream Theater, you can get a damn good idea of the talent and creativity on display. Fluid lead lines which effortlessly glide across the rhythmic chaos beneath sing out almost as if they were the vocals. Blistering shred sequences and angular melodies dance across the tracks and the crunchy grooves and hammering low end tones on the riffs are solid. The momentary lapses into pseudo-downy can be forgiven as the heavy kick they provide the tracks with works well enough.
Whilst the musical approach is pretty solid, the overall reception is a mixed bag. For those who enjoy the mind-bending styles of jazz-prog like classic Frank Zappa, Primus and some elements of King Crimson, there are plenty of moments where you will get lost in it and if you’re not into the whole angular and awkward/wacky/quirky style then it will be annoying to listen to. The ‘wandering’ moments in tracks can also be detrimental to the experience as you can’t really tell whether or not the pacing you have acclimatised to will return or not. There aren’t really any ‘straight forward’ tracks, the closest you will get to order in this musical chaos is “Dark Vädim” and “Crime Minister”.
Other than that, if you want wild, wacky and music loaded with character and experimental expression, this is the album for you.