Werewolf Records sets June 24th as the international release date for the long-awaited eighth album of Germany’s Morrigan, Anwynn, on CD format. The vinyl LP version will follow later this year.
For those who’ve lurked within the black metal underground for the past two decades (or even longer), the name Morrigan should be more than familiar. As Mayhemic Truth from 1992-2000, the band released a steady stream of demos that bowed before the ancient altar of the almighty Bathory. The shimmering darkness that Mayhemic Truth created back then was an untrendy counterpoint to black metal’s increasingly mainstream aspirations during that period, and also served as an oft-overlooked pillar of Germany’s black metal underground. However, when the band changed their moniker to Morrigan at the dawn of the new millennium and released their debut album, Plague, Waste and Death, in 2001, changes were afoot – and they were grand. For the rest of the ensuing decade, Morrigan moved on from Bathory’s more hard-charging style into the glorious “Viking era” marked most poignantly by the dual classics of Hammerheart and Twilight of the Gods. Their exploration of Quorthon’s pagan ruminations soon became an almost parallel realm of unrecorded Viking Bathory work, both sincerely devoted to those twin tomes and simultaneously expanding upon them, the latter largely through the exploration of Celtic mythology. In short, this was the true sound of Morrigan, and they quietly led others into new-yet-old pagan vastlands.
Sadly, the Morrigan camp has been quiet since the release of 2013’s Diananns Whisper; only a far-too-short split with fellow Germans Blizzard came the following year. At last, they emerge from darkness and doubt with the surprise full-length Anwynn. The years have been kind to Morrigan: not only do they sound utterly invigorated with their solemn, hymnic pagan metal, but the rest of the wider underground has perhaps caught up with how far ahead they were in looking back, now able to appreciate the immensity and poignancy of Morrigan in their prime. Indeed, Annwyn is arguably the band at their peak of their powers; from beginning to end, the album magickally reminds of Bathory’s Viking era AND immeasurably adds to it, whisking the listener far away to forgotten realms and high adventure. “Epic” almost seems too cliche of a word to describe the thick-yet-spacious landscape Morrigan unfurl here – ominously rippling chords layered mountain-high, the subtle swell of mystical synth and various battle-oriented sound FX, the measured-yet-regal gait of everything, all of it simply HUGE – but it’s pretty much the (mayhem) truth. As ever, the impassioned voice of founder Beliar imparts a blanching intensity to everything, the man imperfectly pouring his heart out with his clean tenor, but still equally able to utilize a blackened rasp for dramatic effect. Likewise, tempos occasionally dip into (dramatic) blasts, again expanding upon hints hidden within the Viking Bathory paradigm. All told, Anwynn is 53 minutes of classic Morrigan: no more and no less, and nothing else needed!
No other words necessary – Quorthon would be proud!
In the leadup to its CD release later next month, hear Anwynn in its entirety HERE at Werewolf Records‘ official YouTube channel. Preorder info can be found HERE. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for Morrigan (Germany)’s Anwynn
1. Anwynn (Intro)
2. Herald Of The Sleep
3. White As Snow
4. Blind Witch
6. Taech Duinn
9. Arawn (Outro)