This is one of those releases that will likely infuriate those who like music that’s easily classifiable. According to the band, they’re emo crust, and I can see why they’d say that. In my opinion, describing Morrow as a d-beat influenced crust band may be superficially correct in some ways, but there’s so much more than that going on here. They have a cello player, for a start, and more guest vocalists than you can shake a stick at.
Like the extremely talented Nux Vomica, or older Neurosis, crust may be the core underlying style and influence of the band, but what they have morphed into is something else entirely. We’re now used to black metal bands showing this kind of development, and have a plethora of different ways to tag them when they do, (post-black metal is an easy one, for example, although not necessarily that descriptive), whereas not so much with a band like Morrow. Not that it hugely matters, but I’m going with a doom/sludge category for Covenant of Teeth, as the music here has more in common with those genres/sub-genres than not.
Regardless, what matters most rather than tags and genres is the music itself – is it any good? Well, all arguments concerning the inherent subjectivity of individual musical taste aside; yes, it really, really is.
Covenant of Teeth is rich and textured music that has a large emotive component alongside the jagged, rough underground sludge/doom of its underbelly. D-beat aggression is definitely a part of the band’s make up, but there’s more than enough softer and/or slower material here to make for a crawling, heavy release. The cello is a perfectly judged accompaniment too; not too ostentatiously done, it makes a meaningful contribution to the music when it is employed.
Morrow create deeply-felt atmospheres and have a firm bleakly melodic side to their sound. Alongside the rawness of the rhythm guitars and the various harsh vocals, these songs have nuance and depth to them as well as the more obvious assets of their heavier, faster side.
So, if you’re into highly emotive, richly textured music that combines doom, sludge and crust into a 40 minute journey through the dark underground of metal, then Morrow have got you covered.
This really is an impressive, enjoyable album. Check it out as soon as you can.