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Minas Morgul – Heimkehr Award winner

Minas Morgul
by Leanne Evans at 26 May 2021, 9:18 AM

For over 20 years, the masters of darkness, MINAS MORGUL has excelled at producing the most exquisite of pagan black and death metal and, with a plethora of high-quality atmospheric releases under its belt, the band has gifted the metal world with its seventh full-length album, “Heimkehr”, with a few line-up changes, including none other than Robse of EQUILIBRIUM, leading the way forward with his emotive and inimitable vocals. The carefully crafted ten-track LP takes listeners on a journey through a world of hope, despair, fire, damnation, death, fantasy, mythology, as well as light and the deepest darkness. Awash with sumptuous sonics, bountiful blast beats and plentiful a nuance, MINAS MORGUL has excelled at presenting an impassioned collection of compositions in their magical ten-track black metal wonder “Heimkehr”. Perhaps the latest release is a literal “homecoming” for MINAS MORGUL, the band’s own personal music arrival, fresh musical blend, but true to their roots, and a fitting continuation from “Kult”. Or perhaps MINAS MORGUL has created an introspective record, relatable to listeners with their own personal struggles and strife through the challenges and, less oft, rewards of life? Or, just maybe, these clever conjurers of creativity have mastered intertwining both perspectives and “Heimkehr” is unapologetically unambiguous… I’ll let you be the one to decide…

Commencing the journey, the majesty of “Sturm aus Ost”, a superb composition created by renowned composer within the genre, Rene Berthiaume (EQUILIBRIUM), and a genius individual who MINAS MORGUL has worked with a number of times previously, creates a delicate fragility and relatable vulnerability, whilst dominating in presence, in atmospheric washes of waves of sound. Sumptuous orchestral build-up transcends with an almost ominous and melancholic edge, suitably paving the way for the plight of title-track “Heimkehr”. Literally translated as “Homecoming”, “Heimkehr” announces itself with certitude in empowered wails and dominates in presence with melodic guitar riffs and pulsating drums, ultimately plunging into the deadlier “Niedergang”. The abyssal depth of this track is inescapable with its tremolo intro, ravaging sonics of dissonance and simply smothers you every which way, like a death-dealing shroud of sound over your face. The mephitic vapours of “Stein um Stein” are then steadily released in a wave of guitars building up to mountainous heights, in a steely fusion of harmonies and imposing bass line, with drumming that pummels and igniting vocals.

MINAS MORGUL is all about creating atmospheric brilliance and the demonic aspect of “Teufel” bounds in with impassioned shrill wails, turbulent drums and riffs designed to unnerve, expelling the most insidious of wretchedness, penetrating you to your core. The band has expertly mastered the art of emotive listening in their latest release, plunging the listener into different emotional turmoil and torment, from track-to-track. “Weltenfall” is a distinct step forward into a more reflective state, whilst still maintaining that wonderfully familiar commanding presence. Released as a single, “Weltenfall” – loosely translated as “World Fall” – grapples with human accountability and being responsible for our own destruction, until, ultimately, everything is just ashes. Every aspect of this track forms powerfully reflective perspective, from the lilting intro to the headiness the vocals bring, with the addition of Stef Jörmungand working perfectly, the solid bass line and harmonious guitars and incessant drums, creating a swathe of sound. For me, this composition is one of the highlights of “Heimkehr”, as is “Totenschiff”, a noticeable melodic shift towards a folk/Viking interpretation, dealing with the end of the world once again, with great tempo, rousing energy and an intoxicating heaviness that’s not too overpowering, but nonetheless, still imperious and aurally commanding.

The last section of “Heimkehr” takes a slightly lighter twist, offering a richer tonal palette after the intensity of earlier tracks.  “V.F”, a re-interpretation of "Väterchen Frost", from the debut album "Schwertzeit", erupts with drums contracting and penetrating soaring vocals, with an almost hymn-like turn at the end of the track. MINAS MORGUL has consistently shown that delving into different shades of sound within the latest release is enthralling. “Dein Erwachen” brings a gothic heavy metal sentiment with clean, smooth riffing and plenty of melodic moments that still impose and the finale, “Tiefe Narben”, showcases the keys much more amongst a delightful distortion and chant-like quality to the piece.

There is a great affinity about the band’s sound that is still wonderfully familiar of the black metal genre, but after their musical hiatus, MINAS MORGUL return with a deadlier Pagan charm about them in the seventh album release “Heimkehr”, showcasing a matured aspect to their craft, encapsulating a perfect balance of emotive output with spellbinding sonics.  “Heimkehr” is certainly an album I’d recommend and offers magnificent layers of depth without ostentation.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Prolog Sturm aus Ost
2. Heimkehr
3. Niedergang
4. Stein um Stein
5. Teufel
6. Weltenfall
7. Totenschiff
8. V.F.
9. Dein Erwachen
10. Tiefe Narben
Robse - Vocals
Berserk - Drums
Saule - Guitars
Haffi - Guitars
Janke - Bass
Jen – Keyboards

Session musicians:

René Berthiaume (Equilibrium) on Intro
Stef Jörmungand - Vocals on 5 songs
Record Label: Trollzorn Records


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