Morgart – Die Schlact

Morgart – Die Schlact – 3/5

Based upon the writings of the monk Winterthur, pertaining to the battle of Morgarten in Switzerland, 1315, those amongst you who dislike keyboards in their black metal should probably stop reading, for this is an artist who has taken it beyond mere gratuitous use, but actually built their sound around the majestic keyboard melodies that have been created. Barely feeling like Black Metal at all any more, and almost more akin to a blackened ‘Wagner’ composition, he utilises multiple layers of keyboards to simultaneously maintain an atmospheric presence as well as provide the main rhythm for the track.

The drums are all done utilising a drum machine, and whilst they feel as though effort has gone to not simply maintain a repetitive beat, they nonetheless feel mechanical and lifeless (as one would expect) though can be clearly heard through the keyboards. Vocals are used sparingly, not performed superbly but nonetheless succeed in providing a little more variety to the proceedings. Likewise, the guitars assist in creating a basic rhythm, but despite this instrumentation more often than not it is the keyboards, with their variety of orchestral programming providing multiple layers, supplying the rich atmosphere.

Often consisting of two layers, a synthesized backing playing basic chords, creating a thick tone to the proceedings, this is then combined with some form of organ or piano melody supplying the main ‘riff,’ in place of the where the guitars ordinarily would. It is this that takes the centre stage, working well with the guitars (even if they feel too far back in the mix, and supply the most basic of riffs).

This is a piece that aims to supply an atmosphere, and they have succeeded in doing so. It’s not so much a dark or evil toned presence, but the thick keyboards lending a more depressive manner, at times attempting a more bombastic nature with limited success; there is a number of interesting keyboard lines that whilst they could quickly become monotonous, are assisted by the albums short length. In doing research for this album, it didn’t take me long to notice the large number of excessively low reviews. Take it for what it is; as far removed from Black Metal as is feasible whilst still being ‘the genre of best fit,’ filled with fantasy-inspired soaring depressive keyboard lines, fans of ‘Summoning’ may find much to their liking. For the rest of you, skip it.

Highlights: Sinfonie 2, Sinfonie 8