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Morning Bell - Slide Back into Misery

Morning Bell
Slide Back into Misery
by Emily Schneider at 12 May 2020, 1:46 AM

“The Bell-ringer watches humans. Not many months ago he rang his bell for the first time. Now he is ringing again.” This excerpt from Danish duo MORNING BELL's bio is an interesting lead-in about their music. They label their music as Dystopian Rock and after listening to it, I suppose a new sub-genre label is fitting (although I think Prog Rock also fits).  Their first EP “Slide Back Into Misery” is inspired by the apathy of society and feeling like they're the "bell-ringers," the ones who are aware of life outside the static of modern society. You can check it out for yourself on or after May 15th 2020. Here are my first impressions of the 5 song EP.

“Wide Awake” has a cynical energy about it right away; something about the main melody has this disdainful tone about it. The guitars and drums kind of drowned out the vocals, so I had to crank up the volume to hear the words. “She Loathes You” carries on the angst-fueled energy, similar to the first track, yet also has a veil of something brighter surrounding. The music has some STEVEN WILSON inspiration happening, with the style of riffs and his vocal styling. “Slide Back Into Misery” is a heavier track on the album. I really like how the organ blends into this song, it adds some melancholy without peeling away the intensity of the music surrounding. The guitar solo on this reminds me of more Steven Wilson territory, later era PORCUPINE TREE in this instance. “Reaper” has a cool gloomy intro with a church-like organ implemented once more. It picks up to that solemn yet uptempo style this EP has been doing so well. This song is a deceptively cheerful track; the vocal melody has this fake smile type of happy sound, then you listen to the words and you can see right through to the darkness behind it.  “Das War Die Welt” plays around with layered vocals and it works well in this closing track. The solo in this one is rather quaint while folded in between pessimistic verses. It's like watching the rain through a clear plastic umbrella; you can see the world soaked  around you but you're safe and dry under the dome of the umbrella.

Overall, I liked this EP. It was some solid Prog Rock with consistent melodic qualities in every song. It's cool that Ole plays the majority of the instruments and sings… it's even better that he's great at playing every one of those listed instruments. Another detail I want to mention is I was admittedly a bit nervous when I'd read the highly political premise for this album, but it was thankfully portrayed in a way that wasn't preachy. The allegory and references were there, but in way that you can make your own interpretation. I also liked how every song has this deceptively upbeat melodic quality, but there's this cynical bite nipping at your ears as you listen along. You can't quite choose a single emotion to feel during this album because the music evokes at least a few per song; it's intriguing and probably the thing that stood out the most on this EP for me. I'm curious to hear possibly a full-length album from this self-produced Rock project in the future.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Wide Awake
2. She Loathes You
3. Slide Back Into Misery
4. Reaper
5. Das War Die Welt
Ole Grarup:  Vocals, guitars, bass, keys
Ejnar Videbæk:  Drums 
Record Label: Obsolete Machine Records


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Edited 03 February 2023

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