The Last Man On Earth is one of those malevolent pestilences which rather than run and hide from its toxic virulence you just have to dive head first into the exhaustingly inventive depths of melodic blackened death metal. The debut album from UK metallers Morgue Orgy, it is a toxic torrent of maliciousness fuelled by a rabid expanse of intensively magnetic flavours and styles from within a brutally predatory imagination. It is mischievously psychotic, rampantly schizophrenic, and masterfully vicious and one of the most tempting rages of extreme sonic violations to come from the British Isles in quite a long while.
Exploding from the darkness in 2008, the sextet from Birmingham has emerged as a tour-de-force at combining a diversity of sound and ingenuity into a melodic death metal proposition as shown by the album which bewitches and savages with equal intensity. Drawing comparisons to the likes of Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder, Abigail Williams, and Cradle Of Filth whilst sculpting their own unique acclaimed presence, the band has earned a fine and imposing reputation on stage. That encounter has taken Morgue Orgy to a slot at Bloodstock Open Air in 2010 as well as stages appearances alongside the likes of Anaal Nathrakh, Evile, The Rotted and many more. Debut EP, The River & I only enhanced their emergence as did its successor the Murders Most Foul EP which featured guest vocals from Dave Hunt of Anaal Nathrakh. A release just as ripe with riveting and grand neoclassical keyboard seduction and crippling technically sculpted grinds as it is with blackened venom and melodic death corrosion, The Last Man On Earth is the declaration of a band at its imaginative height and fullest merciless malevolence, and you still feel that there is so much more to come from the band ahead.
Across the album not a moment is wasted, ideas and twists spearing every minute if not second of every song with an adventure you can suggest is barely alive in melodic death metal elsewhere. As soon as the opener They Came From Outer Space hits the ear senses and imagination are swiped into action by band and sound. Lively classically bred keys embrace the ears at first whilst a warning buzzer makes a call of impending menace. It is an instant coaxing which suggests numerous possible paths ahead which the album may take without revealing which initially. The gothic breath of the entrance is the predominate lure but one which offers an Adams Family meets Cradle Of Filth like tease before the track reveals itself fully. That is does with thunder rich rhythms and rampaging riffs stalked by a female spoken narrative. Again it is mere hinting until the song settles into a delicious stomp of tantalising sonic revelry and urgent intensity which in turn soon evolves into a melodramatic gothic waltz. Barely two minutes in and a canvas of multiple textures and hues have been laid to intrigue and disorientate. This is the way of the song, and album from start to finish, and one reason why both are thoroughly riveting. Halfway in and the vocals of Gray, backed by those of keyboardist Carter, savage air and emotions with an expected but again varied and eventful poisonous attack. It is a mighty introduction to the album soon backed up and at times surpassed ahead.
Both 4 Days and Phantasms of March rampage vehemently across the sense’s landscape, the first a fury of guitar enterprise from Prok and Pence which sears and soars with artistic rabidity and primal savagery whilst the keys pulsate and swoop around the aggressive tempest with melodic rapture and temptation. Like the first and album as a whole, the track is a voracious flow of imagination and hostility which you cannot take all in on one or two listens but rewards intensively for all the extensive time spent in its caustic wrap. The second of the two is a slower bestial incitement at first but cannot not hold back the rapacious energy boiling up within and soon unleashes a rabid assault with guitars creating grooves which finger the passions and a rhythmic barracking from the lethally crisp beats of drummer Tom and the predatory throaty tones of Uncle Holloway’s bass which is instinctively addictive.
The Last of the Summer’s Wine steps forward next soon diminishing thoughts of old men in childlike escapades with a horde of ferocious riffs and rhythmic bitch slaps which are subsequently aligned with melodic suggestiveness from the keys alongside crazed grooves and a guitar solo which only ignites greater submission for the impressive storm. To be honest it is impossible to describe every dramatic turn and rich bait provided by each song as with this one such the constant imagination and ingenuity of the release but we can reassure that it is something at times bewildering and always scintillating.
The likes of Barnum & 399 and Castle Freak continue the strong encounter with the same flocking of ideas and intensive rhythmic barbarism, if without quite matching those early pinnacles, whilst splitting their storms is the excellent ruinous swagger of the pestilential 70 Dead pt 2: The Scarecrow of Medan. The track caustically engages and impresses whilst the piano and keys designed instrumental Waiting for the End is a glorious grandiose neoclassical aural painting to take a breath over and allow imagination and thoughts to reflect before the album’s finest moment viciously thrusts its jaws around the jugular.
The Last Man On Earth (Diary of George) simultaneously is cultured and barbaric, vocals and rhythms merciless predators upon the senses whilst the guitars and keys cast a mesmeric if vitriolic haze over the damage. With a brilliant discord kissed sax wailing over and taunting the carcass of your sanity, the song is a blackened fury with a melodic harpy on its shoulder but one constantly twisting and evolving as it moves towards an expulsion of a riled almost hardcore brawl of vocal scowls and shouts over a punk spurred ferociousness. It is a stunning track and almost leaves the remaining songs an impossible task to follow but IT LURKS BENEATH!!! and Paradise irrepressibly and cantankerously in the case of the first make light work of the challenge.
Closing on the enjoyable and impressively presented but less commanding In the Smoke of the Green Ghost, though that is again down to the quality elsewhere, The Last Man On Earth is an exceptional album. There is little to raise up against it, though you suspect some will find it just too intensive and unrelenting in its inventive maelstrom. Released as a free digital free on Christmas Day and getting its official retail release on 13th January, Morgue Orgy may just have delivered the best melodic death metal release of the coming year. It is a tall order to follow for sure for them and the genre.
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