Sacred Metal Page > Sacred Reviews > Eigenpressungen > Morpheus Rising: The Original Demos 2008
Morpheus Rising: The Original Demos 2008 (CDR)


  1. Fighting man
  2. Save the day
  3. Those who watch
  4. In the end
  5. Lord of the north

 Remember when it all began? Back in ’79, ‘when the dam began to burst’, to quote a song that you hold dear if you heart beats to the thunder of metal (if it doesn’t, don’t bother reading on and go waste your time and money on miserable nonsense like Snow Patrol). Oh, and where did it begin exactly? In Great Britain, lads and lassies. Young British bands swamped the underground music scene by the dozens to kick punk, pop and those new wave sissies in their ugly little heads – and quite a number of them succeeding bloody well in doing so, I might add.

2009 A.D., the world and everything in it has changed in many ways, but real heavy metal is still braving every tide. One of the bands intent on bringing back the spirit of old are Morpheus Rising from York in the UK. Grae Tennick (vocals), Pete Harwood and Daymo Sweeting (guitars), Andy Smith (bass) and Paul ‘Gibbo’ Gibbons (drums) continue a very English metal tradition on ‘The original demos 2008’. This CDR (b/w cover, lyrics inside) serves up five weighty tracks that do the legacy of NWoBHM proud. Entering the arena with the anthemic ‘Fighting man’ – reissued in a re-recorded version as a factory-pressed single in October/November 2009 – Morpheus Rising sport all the trademarks of a dedicated band that refuses to do things by half. Top-notch musicianship, melodic-yet-raw vocals from Tennick, powerful-yet-natural production and, first and foremost, splendid compositions with an edge to them. In other words: melodies and rhythms to bang your fist and raise your head to. Er, well, you get the picture.

These five tracks, highly varying in tempo, colour and atmosphere, are bound together by an epic and sometimes melancholy feel. Listen to the wonderful intro to the mid-paced ‘Fighting man’ and its heartfelt lyrics/vocals and you’re hooked. The music is all the more enjoyable because this band clearly works as a unit, with the musicians not trying to outshine one another. Grae Tennick’s pleasant-on-the-eardrum voice has soul and is a bit akin to that of Elixir’s Paul Taylor, while MR’s overall sound isn’t far away from the London/South East bunch’s style either. You could do worse in the comparisons department, right?

Other highlights are ‘Those who watch’ and ‘Lord of the North’. The first song is a runestone of doomy downtempo metal that effortlessly maintains its suspense throughout, the latter a stoically slow epic, lyrically inspired by the works of Bernard Cornwell, prolific British author of historical novels. The third of Cornwell’s works in his cycle of so-called ‘Saxon stories’ is called ‘The lords of the North’ (2006) and takes place in savage 9th century Wessex and Northumbria. (See, we reviewers do know our Wikipedia.)

An album’s worth of Morpheus Rising metal is currently being forged, while the band is active on the good old pub ‘n’ club circuit as well. The aforementioned single of ‘Fighting man 2009’ – a charity endeavour with proceeds going to Help for Heroes and Poppy Appeal, in aid of families of wounded and fallen British soldiers – has been doing well on the UK national charts. As is custom with good music, there was zero support from the mainstream media, so: hats off to you, metal men of York.

My only qualms with this release would be its CD-R format, but hey, better to have that than no demo at all, right? In any case, Morpheus Rising, as the latest shiny link in the new chain of traditionalist bands like High Spirits, In Solitude, Enforcer, Züül and Savage Blade, are worthy of your attention and support. If you couldn’t care less for all that overproduced and gimmicky stoner, nu, goth and whatever-the-fad-is-this-week metal, give them a listen. And what the hell, drop them a line and some cash too, just so you won’t kick yourself later for failing to discover them earlier.

 (c)2009, Oliver Kerkdijk