As you’ve probably guessed this Swedish act is named after the final album by Morbus Chron before they split up. Purely the sonic vision of Morbus Chron’s Robert Andersson this could be viewed as a solo project under the banner of Sweven. According to Robert the album is a realisation of his own vision of musical output and indeed everything about this album is complex, intriguing and sonically intelligent. There were signs on the last Morbus Chron album “Sweven” as to where the band might go musically before they halted proceedings, and to some extent this is possibly it. With Robert being the sole song writer here, as he was in Morbus Chron, there are tenets of the defunct outfit here and there but generally this debut release in on a whole new level of song construction and realisation.
Everything here is expansive, progressive structuring lending their ear to mind bending riffs and histrionic texturing that for some maybe a little hard to swallow, but the point is that this album is Robert’s, it’s his personality, his enshrouding aura, his emotions, his whole heart being handed to you via eight highly evolved and complex compositions. “The Eternal Resonance” is an astounding release, equal to anything progressive extreme metal has released in the last decade, it showcases insurmountable talent that opens with the sublime subtlety of “Spark” which initiates the album like a long intro piece before “By Virtue Of A Promise” follows. As the song starts with a flowing acoustic section the song has a 70s poise due to its atmosphere that progresses with utter charm building layer upon layer of musicality. Even on this one song you will hear different things each time you play it as the song intensifies in stages producing a soporific solemnity that transports you to realms of unerring bleakness.
With stick taps adorning the opening of “Reduced To An Ember” a tranquillity is embedded, as the softly played guitar work has a psychedelic tinge before the abrupt riff switch and increase in power. With harsh vocals producing a more aggressive outlook they suggest a tormented style with lamenting tones and elongation for added effect. It would not be remiss to suggest that parts of this album was like Opeth in various parts of their discography due to the dulcet guitar work and sombreness. The eerie start to “Mycelia” is dramatic, flooding the listener with a myriad of guitar hooks set within a sinister and morose atmosphere. That guitar hook infestation is addictive too, as the song smoothly diverts its energy down an acoustic avenue where the mood takes a grisly approach due to the deeper vocal style. The percussive elements add more texturing as the song evolves through constantly changing riffs that change cohesively yet with apparent suddenness.
“Solemn Retreat” is a song that I struggled to get into, clocking near the ten minute mark the composition is a multifaceted exploration of progressive poignancy where serenity and abrasion are locked hand in hand with the technical prowess. The serenity continues on “Visceral Blight” as cymbal taps and acoustic playing instil a sense of dolefulness that depressive and atmospheric black metal bands would envy before the slight uplifting in pace as a more coarse guitar riff follows. Again the ever morphing changes unveil bountiful charisma as the vocals do indeed take on a blackened tone, being harsh and saturated in emotion.
Closing the release, “Sanctum Sanctorum” is drenched in sorrowfulness, the inherent charm of the guitar melody is tearful and beautiful before the sudden but expected riff change that has a desolation, before the drums thrust through the mix building up the song majestically and with escalating extraordinariness. I am sure Morbus Chron fans will be expecting a Mach two of that band but that is definitely not the case as this album is progressive extreme metal masterfulness that few will match as the tantamount emotive musicianship will leave you awe-struck.
(9/10 Martin Harris)