Before second and new album Legacy, UK Rock band The Morning After had already excited and drawn enthused acclaim and a fervent following from fans to the media, but with this release they will surely take classic rock/AOR to new heights amongst rock listening audiences. With sure exuberance, blatant teasing showmanship, and a definite confidence that their sounds will light up anyone’s day, the band and their album have rounded off a strong year of rock in distinctly fine style.
Fusing classic 80’s metal, melodic hard rock, and NWOBHM with shards of harsher metal and pop the Essex quartet create a sound that is buoyant, energetic and intriguing to any ear. For rock fans Legacy will be manna from heaven and even for the blacker more violently veined tastes as here there is more than enough substantial quality and dark veins running through much of the album to ensure solid attention and satisfaction.
Since their debut album of 2009 You Can’t Hurt Steel, the band has demanded and received impressive attention and support from the UK to even more immediate adulation in Japan. The UK was slower but in determined fashion caught on to the band too thanks to the release and the band’s explosive performances on tours and shows with the likes of Viking Skull and Blessed By A Broken Heart throughout the UK and Europe, plus a scorching performance at Download in 2010. Legacy released via Rising Records will thrust the band even further into the hearts of fans new and old as they take the melodic rock sounds that they have become known for and matured them with songwriting that is intelligent, engaging and captivating.
The brief title track leads in the album with a glorious and immediately mesmerising harmony of voices before handing over to ‘Into The Fire’ and its vibrant classic rock/hair metal sounds. Addictive choruses, lively melodies and irrepressible energy thrust the song happily into the ear and though the song is not bursting with anything particularly unexpected the stabs of metal/hardcore intensity and coarse supporting vocals add substance that lifts the track. ‘Limit’ carries on in the same mould though stays firmly on the side of melodies with scorching guitar play and solo from Phil Maher and Sam Ryder. Vocally the blend of voices from the guitarists and bassist Gary Stone are a seamless union with the lead vocals of Ryder never less than impressive and of high quality.
The single from the album ‘America’ is another straight forward slice of melodic rock and though understandable why it is the lead track to draw people in it is probably the weakest and most predictable song on the Legacy. It certainly is not bad just a little dull, especially when in the context of the album against the likes of ‘The Witch Is In My Back’ with its creative variety and wonderful additional strings, the meaty and aggressive ‘Rest In Pieces’ and ‘These Hills Have Eyes’, plus by far the album’s best song ‘Stream Of Stars’. The last of these is worth checking out the album for alone, it being easily one of if not the best song to arise this year from anyone. Incisive guitars, probing basslines from Stone, and with drummer Jake Booth skilfully directing the affair this ten minute epic glory of metal and hypnotic melodies reveals there is so much more to the band creatively and in their ability to write stunning songs. In some ways it leaves a little taste of disappointment for the other songs on Legacy, in that though they are all fine and impressive creations they could have been much more on the evidence of ‘Stream Of Stars’.
Legacy is a joyful first rate album with a proud unbridled desire to bring rampant, verging on overblown, controlled glorious melodic rock to the senses. Even ears that crave intrusive pummelling will fall into its charms. The Morning After have created a masterpiece for classic/melodic rock fans that will have them drooling, and for the rest of us they have given one of the more agreeable and intriguing albums this year.