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Max Lilja – Morphosis

Max Lilja
by Dave “That Metal Guy” Campbell at 01 July 2015, 2:37 AM

MAX LILJA is a Finnish cello player, known mostly for being the founding member of the band APOCALYPTICA, as well as touring member of TARJA TURUREN (former NIGHTWISH). This is the second album solo album he has released, and it contains nine tracks.

The Opening Song, “Revelation,” is both ominous and mysterious in its presence. A haunting riff of electronica carries the main melody, amidst a cello that sounds possessed by something not of this world “Silent Highway” is a soft and delicate beauty, proving that you don’t need a flurry of notes to impart the emotional impact that is carried here. By contrast, “Flux” is more of a jovial, fun, and funky sounding song, with a distinct rhythm from an electronic drum beat. The steady strokes of the cello though provide a smooth and wondrous melody that just hangs out there wide open. The title track, “Morphosis” is a hushed exercise in minimal instrumentation, all the while maintaining an air of suspense. Like a coiled snake ready to strike, he rears back a couple times here but never lashes out. “Black Lava” is appropriately titled. As the cello notes are softly plucked and played, the landscape behind remains still and steady. The various methods he uses to create the sound in this track are quite notable. “Unstoppable” features a dissonance with the main chords over the bed of a minor key that just kind of chugs along slowly and cautiously. Past the half way mark, some keyboard notes chime in in contrast with the plucked cello that somehow unites two very different sounds. “Machinery” is perhaps the most unique song on the album. At only three minutes in length, it takes about a quarter of the way in before a main sound is established. What follows is hard to describe.

It’s a loose collection of several different notes and instrumentation styles with a fat sounding keyboard at the bottom end. “Lonely Blue” is another eccentric piece that builds slowly, coming to a peak at the hallway mark and then disappearing into the scenery once again. Carefully, it rears its head again towards the end, adding layer over layer a little bit at a time. Closing the album is the longest song presented, entitled “Trench.” It’s an eight minute track that borders on the scarier side of dark instrumentation. The organ notes are forbidding and the background electronica reminds me of things that go bump in the dark. Following a crescendo there is an extended ambient passage to the end. Though the approach here is fairly anomalous, there are some pleasing elements to the album overall. Some of it is more accessible than other parts and some more easily understood. I would call a lot of it more Avant Garde and Ambient than anything else, with most of the details being fluid as opposed to tangible.

3 Star Rating

1. Revelation
2. Silent Highway
3. Flux
4. Morphosis
5. Black Lava
6. Unstoppable
7. Machinery
8. Lonely Blue
9. Trench
Max Lilja – All Compositions
Record Label: Fluttery Records


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Edited 06 February 2023

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