Review: “Dead End” EP by Morose

Describing themselves at “Aggressive Metalcore”, St. Louis Missouri 5 piece Morose may claim to officially have established themselves as a band in January 2019 but have a rich past with four members playing together in Wide Awake as far back as 2015. Not only did they play on their local scene circuit Midwest to East Coast back then but also got as far as the 2018 Vans Warped Tour. That is however where the comparison ends because this new entity is the Mr Hyde to the previous bands Dr Jekyll, a far darker and heavier beast. Morose consists of vocalist CJ Erxleben, guitarists Chase Politte and Jordan Siegler, bassist Kameron Mitchell and drummer Chris Richey. “Dead End” was Recorded with Josh Schroeder in the producers chair, a man who previously worked in that capacity with the likes of King 810, For The Fallen Dreams and Varials to name but 3.

A buried programmed drum loop brings in “Stranger”, a track with a cold buried synth underpinning, introspective lyrics and a deep Gloom Metal groove. Vocalist CJ Erxleben shares some of the vocal stylings of former Vanna frontman Davey Muse while musically there is a solid bass bounce and guitar chug to get the heads banging. The sung chorus element seems to lack a bit of punch but at the 104 second mark the band play their Ace card with a tempo shift to a guitar squeal loaded verse breakdown section that extends out with Erxleben reaching for and finding some lower tones in the final vocal lines. Starting out with the programmed drum loop before the Chris Richey gets his chance to batter the kit “Dead End” continues the Doom Groove meets Nu-Metalcore taste of the opening tune and as a whole the EP has an interesting comparison to “In Between Misery & Apathy” by Florida natives Lordis but with a greater sense of melody an no Deathcore tinged knife blade edge. That’s not to say that “Dead End” isn’t heavy – rest assured it is, but that is plays in the space between the lines, using the heavier elements to play against the lyrical and vocal change ups to create a darker overall atmospheric. What Morose do incredibly well is dial back the aggression momentarily so when it hits, it hits harder. The Gloom leads of the title track are impressive while the chant along quality of the lyrical delivery will no doubt go down like an ice cold beer in the Sahara. The haunting programmed introduction to “Bury Me” breaks for an Emmure inspired riff of bouncy Tech infusions before itself breaking for a slow, thunderous click-y bass moment. Its play on atmospheres is dark an moody, flowing with slow bone crushing intensity. Musically its the track that finds the best balance between the elements that comprise the bands sound while doing so to delicious effect. Feeling looser with more edge in the guitar tone “Parasite” brings with it some schizophrenic lyrical flow from Erxleben with a rap scream styling to elements of the attack that add bite. Around the 109 second mark the song false ends with a shotgun blast like bass drum hit while the electronics play on. It’s a moment of magic because when the swirling vocals come back in with some seriously heavy chugging guitars, it’s the push to the shove for the final tempo shift to that last chorus [7.5/10]

Track listing

1. Stranger
2. Dead End
2. Bury Me
4. Parasite

“Dead End” EP by Morose will be released on 30th August. Physical copies are available for pre-order in their merch store here.

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