May 23, 2015
Review by Joe Sullivan, Photos by Joy Sullivan
Back crushing the metal underground scene once again, Middletown NY’s Morpheus Descends is tearing shit up! Reformed with their original lineup after a hiatus, the brutal death metallers have signed with Dark Descent Records, released an awesome all encompassing boxed set FROM BLACKENED CRYPTS, and started working on a new album! How’s that for less than halfway through 2015?!? Today Morpheus is playing the legendary Maryland DeathFest (MDF) in Baltimore. No better way to tell the metal community you are back with guns blazing than to do it at MDF! FUCK YEAH! BRING IT!
MDF is the best underground metal festival we have in the United States. It is 4 days of death, black, thrash, crust, doom, and stoner metal from all over the world. MDF gets big name acts (Obituary, Napalm Death), European bands that have never played the US before (Bloodbath, Triptikon), obscure acts (Demilich), and born again hard metal veterans (Morpheus Desecends). It takes place at 3 different venues – Ram’s Head Live, Baltimore Soundstage, and the massive Edison Parking lot where 2 stages are set up. The fest has vendors galore selling tons of rare CD’s, vinyl, shirts, patches, jewelry, and more! There’s something for every extreme metalhead! Best of all, the friendly brotherly vibe of MDF is amazing. This is the 4th year I have attended, and every time I reconnect with old friends, meet new friends, and have a great time. There’s nothing quite like MDF, it’s like fucking Christmas for metalheads.
Morpheus came on at 2PM Sat afternoon on stage 1 in the Edison Lot. After the creepy intro (it kinda sounds like something from the ALIEN movie soundtrack!), we got the full on all out assault that is “Corpse Under Glass”. It was overwhelmingly powerful; this is what Death Metal is all about! Sam (Inzerra)’s drums just reverberated through your body as Rob (Yench) and Ed (Winner) churned heavy riffs, Ken (Faggio) administered leaden bass, and Craig (Campbell) put his guttural growl on top of the chaos! It was akin to having a dump truck unload 10,000 lbs of boulders on your fucking head! WOW! The crowd, which filled in really well for 2PM considering how hungover some concert goers were, responded with intense headbanging. Crowd surfing and moshing would follow later.
The blueprint for brutality was laid out with “Corpse Under Glass”, but then Morpheus changed gears and took us back to the doomier CRONICLES OF THE SHADOWED ONES EP with “Cairn of Dumitru”. Musicianship was impressive but still savagely heavy. Sam’s intricate drumming and Rob’s and Ed’s guitar passages were stellar. Craig’s vox were sick! Basically, it was heavy and loud as fuck!
Craig asked the crowd to salute former Morpheus vocalist Jeff Reimer (RIP) and they responded. I think it’s great that Morpheus always recognizes Jeff, he was a great singer that unfortunately came to a tragic end. Morpheus honors him much like AC/DC does with Bon Scott and Broken Hope does with Joe Ptacek. Very classy guys.
The set was the same one we got at the St. Vitus Bar earlier this month but this time it was louder, sharper, and more polished. Craig told me afterward they had rehearsed a bit in the studio while working on new stuff, and it showed. My faves of the set included “Immortal Coil” (I love the old RITUAL stuff!), opener “Corpse Under Glass” (better this time than at St. Vitus), and new songs “The King’s Curse” and “Oozing From The Urn”. The new stuff is as heavy as RITUAL and as epic as CRONICLES, great buildup and payoff and both end on a doomy note. I love the riff about midway through “The King’s Curse”, it just fucking grinds man! Sam’s drumming on both new tracks was deadly, at turns fast, punishing, and precise. Craig’s vocals were superb, fittingly evil sounding. Crowd response was rabid throughout the set; there were some crowd surfers that I helped security lift over my head. When you’re a big dude at the barrier, you’re almost part of fucking security! Mosh pits broke out later in the set, watch the asphalt guys! MDF is mosh at your own risk!
Afterwards people were PUMPED about Morpheus! Everyone was blown away and thrilled that Morpheus is back! They absolutely were one of the best bands at MDF and many metalheads got to experience them for the first time. More to come for these purveyors of brutality, more shows and a new album is in the works! If old school death metal is your thing, check out Morpheus Descends and prepare to be bludgeoned!
Corpse Under Glass
Cairn Of Dumitru
Begging for Possession
Oozing From The Urn
The King’s Curse
The Cruciform Hills