[Review] Mother Morgana – Rise

Mother Morgana is a band originally from Graz in Austria that offers a musical genre halfway between Progressive Rock and Psychedelia, with many facets. Their second album “Rise” was released on January 6, 2022 and contains 12 mid-length tracks, which as the debut comes in concept form. The album opens with “Emptiness – Dream I” which is the first of 4 parts and starts with atmospheric sounds and a dark vocal in the background, on which Arabic percussion and guitar phrasing are inserted. A short introductory piece that leads us to the next track “Outcast and Stranger” characterized by a hypnotic bassline. The rhythmic session is solid and the guitar riffs increase in intensity with the passage of the song, to which pleasant dreamy keyboard melodies are combined. The tempo changes are an added value of the sound, which alternates darker moments with symphonic openings, with the guitar being the protagonist of a solo in the first part. In the middle of the piece the very warm and expressive vocal enters, which interprets the verses of the piece with pathos, and then increases in intensity in the second part. With good mixes of guitar and keyboard the track closes in crescendo. “Call me Echo” begins with a very upbeat drum on the toms, massive guitar riffs and keyboards that fit in with Arabic scale melodies. The dark-toned vocal enters and shows all her potential, adapting perfectly to the evolution of the song, very intense in the first part, while in the central section it becomes softer. Delicate and with Jazzy atmospheres, this section also offers a fine guitar solo, and then with a change unleash all the power of distorted riffs and oriental melodies on the keyboards. Ever changing this track is very engaging and shows how the band has many ideas in both composition and playing technique. Here we are at the second part of the dream “No Hiding – Dream II” a short passage of one minute from the dark atmospheres with a piano and atmospheric effects on which a narrated vocal is inserted. The title track “Rise” is characterized by guitar riffs rich in effects, oriental percussion and a powerful and energetic rhythm session, creating an Acid atmosphere especially in the repeated and hypnotic sounds. The vocal, as always, is an added value, with the track evolving on sudden changes with the leading voice with experimentalism. An elaborate track, sometimes intricate where we find high-level ideas and a winning mix of Prog, Experimental and Stoner that make the sound very personal. Powerful riffs intertwining on the keyboards open “Emotion,” where the ever-changing rhythmic session is at times tight and the vocals very warm and expressive. Closer to Heavy Rock sounds, with forays into Prog, and an interesting instrumental section with phrasing between the guitar and the piano, using both the Arabic and Western scales with ease. Here comes the third part of the dream “Don’t Dive to Deep – Dream III” which, like the previous ones, is a short passage of 1 minute with atmospheric sounds, narration voice and piano. “Sea of Vision” begins with a dreamy piano and a deep bass line to which is soon added the guitar, the rhythm session and the pleasant voice of Katharina. The intensity increases with the passage of the song which also becomes more and more elaborate in the plots, encroaching on oriental atmospheres played with a very original Rock key. The second part is more energetic and powerful, with the guitar protagonist of a solo in the instrumental section, guiding us to the finale where the singing returns and closes. Spoken voices that are stratified open “Farewell Letter” characterized by a pulled rhythm and distorted guitar riffs, with an energetic and engaging singing. With a touch of Alternative Rock and Prog that mix, in the central part it becomes more elaborate with the return of spoken voices and a good guitar solo with Psych overtones. The finale is in crescendo with the return of the vocals and the initial theme that closes the track. “Veil of Ilusions” is a mystical atmospheric track with sounds that take us to the east, then unleash the full power of the band with a powerful and solid rhythm session and heavy guitar riffs. The vocal interprets the piece with energy, characterized by sometimes dark, elaborate intertwining and with the keyboards protagonists of both the melodies and the solo parts. Another track with very personal and original characters that enhance the sound and ideas of the band, as well as the technique of the artists involved. The dream ends with the fourth part “I am You are Me – Dream IV” with a gloomy piano and atmospheric effects in the background. The album ends with “Strange Ways” which is the longest running track, starting with a jazzy guitar arpeggio and a warm and very intense vocal. At 2 minutes with a change the intensity increases and distorted guitar riffs and a scratchy solo come into play. In the second part the more jazzed initial theme blends with the guitar distortions creating something original, and then returns to softer atmospheres in the final part, closing in any case with a crescendo. An interesting band that manages to blend different genres and styles creating their own personal sound. Psychedelia, Prog, Jazzy inserts and Arabic melodies come together to create a good, pleasant and smooth album. A listening recommended for all lovers of Psychdelic and Prog sounds, full of original ideas, tempo changes and refined melodies with a high-level vocal. A band that must certainly be followed in the future too, many well-developed and executed ideas.

Tracklist

1. Emptiness – Dream I (02:21)
2. Outcast and Stranger (05:12)
3. Call me Echo (05:12)
4. No Hiding – Dream II (01:04)
5. Rise (06:01)
6. Emotion (03:25)
7. Don’t Dive to Deep – Dream III (01:10)
8. Sea of Vision (05:23)
9. Farewell Letter (04:35)
10. Veil of Ilusions (03:55)
11. I am You are Me – Dream IV (01:35)
12. Strange Ways (06:29)

Lineup

Katharina Franz / Vocals, Keyboards
Fabian Gössler / Guitar
Jakob Mayer / Bass, Lyrics
Stefan Höfler / Drums

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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