In Tolkien’s fantasy Lore ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Minas Morgul was a beautiful fortress that shone like the moon. The twin city of Minas Tirith whose lofty towers and marbled walls were built in the mountains of Ephel Dùath and was conquered by the dark forces of Sauron. The German pagan black metal outfit Minas Morgul is one of many bands that took its influences from this epic story. Returning after four years of reflection the sextet group has gone through a complete revamp of the lineup. The seventh album ‘Heimkehr‘ brings forth an epic and melodic presentation. With the main songwriters Berserk (drums), Saule (guitars), and Jen (keyboards) remaining in the lineup, the new members Janko Jentsch (bass), Robse (vocals), and Haffi (guitars) add their personal creativity to the music. With a strong, renewed lineup the sextet brings a plethora of variety to the songs.
The epic intro ‘Prolog: Sturm aus Ost‘ immediately sets the tone for the album. The excessive symphonies and the dramatic scale here feel accomplished. The guitars on the following track ‘Heimkehr‘ are laden with a powerful rhythm that provides a fantasy theme. The raspy growls of Robse are fierce and fit well with the music. From the plethora of melodies, animated drums and twin guitars Minas Morgul adds their characteristic sound on each of the tracks. Make no mistake as the sextet provides many compelling guitar hooks on tracks like ‘Niedergang‘. The artistic flair of the guitar melodies are combined with tremolo-picked riffs. However, the band presents a modern style of pagan symphonic metal. There are plentiful hooks that are brought by the guitars. Although the songs are mostly prone to mid-tempo, the band displays personal skills. The melodies are quite passionate as they contrast with the vocals. There are many aspects that also showcase a keyboard arrangement. The use of the chugging guitars on ‘Stein um Stein‘ boasts powerful dynamics. The song is stuffed with layers of keyboard and guitar riffs.
The bombastic patterns prove that the new members bring some personal touches to the songwriting. Taking a different method on how to achieve a song, the album does not rely on one single formula. On tracks like ‘Teufel’, the drums convey blast beats while the guitars always bring up variety to the music and the vocals perfectly preserve that raspy tone. Unveiling catchy musical pieces, the songs sometimes sound bombastic, filled with hooks and fast tempos. You can easily differentiate between all the songs on the album. The heavy drums and energetic guitars propel the pace and move towards an up-tempo force for the songs.
The melodies are very engaging and add up to the dynamics, ranging from subtle guitar chords on track ‘Weltenfall‘ where the guitars come in with blazing riffs. The musical style of Minas Morgul beautifully oscillates between symphonic/melodic and pagan black metal although one cannot deny the Viking energy which vibrates through the songs. At every point, the galloping riffs serve as an energetic and powerful backbone. Even though the atmosphere always shifts up, it is quite easy to get lost in the music because the songs thrive on such rich symphonic textures.
‘Heimkehr‘ mostly scores on thundering riffs and keyboard arrangements. The guitars on ‘Totenschiff‘ deliver some heavy rhythm and dual vocals attacks. The blazing guitars convey massive, bombastic moments full of excitement. The same heavy guitar tone continues on ‘V.F.‘. Across forty-five minutes Minas Morgul tackles modern symphonic gimmicks to enhance the composition. Unfortunately, the band fails to keep the same vibrant effect that appeared on the previous tracks. ‘Dein Erwachen‘ contains a clean vocals chorus where the band keeps the heavy tone of the guitars and the rhythm intact.
The songs rely mostly on emotional and dramatic rhythms, where as a whole ‘Heimkehr‘ has subtle elements of black metal. In my humble opinion, Minas Morgul’s seventh album will attract the fans of Sojourner, Shylmagoghnar and Eldamar.
Release Date: April 23rd, 2021
Label: Trollzorn Records
- Prolog: Sturm aus Ost
- Stein um Stein
- Dein Erwachen
- Epilog: Tiefe Narben