Saturday 5 May 2018

Morag Tong - Last Knell Of Om (Album Review)

Release date: May 18th 2018. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Last Knell Of Om – Tracklisting

2.New Growth
3.We Answer 08:12
4.To Soil
6.Ephemera / Stare Through The Deep


Adam Asquith - Drums/Vocals
Alex Clarke - Guitar
Lewis Crane - Guitar
James Atha - Bass


Morag Tong debut album - Last Knell Of Om - is one of those rare albums that show waves of huge psychedelic creativity throughout the entire record. Morag Tong are very hard to describe. As they blend a lot of different sounds in their music.

Take the opening track - Transmission - for example. This is an Ambient Post-Rock/Post-Metal song that feels influenced by Pelican and Russian Circles. However Morag Tong add psychedelic/spaced out moments that leave you wanting more. It's quite restrained compared to the other songs on the album. Though it gives the listener a good indication on how spaced out and trippy the album becomes.

Second track - New Growth - sees Morag Tong adding a heavier Sludge/Doom Metal groove whilst keeping the Psychedelic elements firmly part of the action. The vocals from Adam are superb. Blending angry Sludge/Doom based vocals with trippy based lyrics is a work of genius from the band. The vocals become softly spoken towards the end of the song with Morag Tong play a quieter style of music. Though the heavy loud progressive riffs soon make a welcome return as the song becomes more aggressive.

Third track - We Answer - opens with a subtle post-rock/sludge rock groove as Morag Tong take time in bring the heavy sounds to the listener. Though the album starts reflecting a more seventies prog-rock feel. The vocals from Adam are straight on point yet again. I admire how Morag Tong's music can be so quietly restrained one moment and pure sludge metal aggression the next. It's a hard sound to pull but Morag Tong excel on all levels here.

Fourth track - To Soil - feels like We Answer Part Two as this song continues the heavy distorted psychedelic sounds of the previous song. It's a beautifully played song that has the right balance of post-rock passages and the familiar psychedelic doom/sludge metal riffs. This is perhaps my favourite song on the album.

The final two songs Ruminations and Ephemera / Stare Through The Deep - perhaps contain the heaviest moments of the album with Morag Tong excelling once again in creating eerie familiar sounds but still maintaining an air of originality around the entire album. The production is first rate. Though I'm not surprised with Slabdragger's Sam Thredder behind the production desk.

Last Knell Of Om is a deeply ambitious album and one that sees Morag Tong play to their absolute strengths. The album is a dazzling and superb combination of so many different sounds that you'll be listening to this album over and over again just to make sense of it all.

Last Knell Of Om is another album that I will rank as one of the best albums of the year.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Lisa at Hold Tight PR for the promo. Last Knell Of Om will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from May 18th 2018.