Concept albums came into prominence with The Who’s Tommy back in the 60s, and continue a rich tradition of storytelling in music to this day. In TreeLogia (The Album as It Is Not), The Morningside gives us a new twist on the concept album; a fifty-minute single. TreeLogia is an exposition of the song The Trees from previous album The Wind, the Trees and the Shadows of the Past, and tells the story of a man becoming a tree in reality or maybe just in his head.
Songs about trees in a concept album may bring back memories of Rush’s Hemispheres, and rightly so. The Morningside creates a sound similar to early Rush, with long, atmospheric songs filled with meandering guitar riffs and timely vocals. Of course, The Morningside’s version of this style is significantly darker, and a little heavier, but what would you expect from a doom metal band.
The album opens with four minutes of storm sound effects and gentle synth tones, developing a bit of a psychedelic feel, then merges into a bright guitar riff that defines most of TreeLogia. To that, The Morningside layers in a base of doom guitar that accentuates the lead guitar.
On drums, Boris Surgeev drives the beat, and Ilya Egorchev plays bass in a rhythm section that neither stands out, nor detracts from the songs. They mostly play within the bounds set by the guitars. In fact, I had to listen several times to pick out the bass at all. The duo is certainly talented, as listening to older Morningside proves, but TreeLogia calls for more sedate action from the two, and they provide professional quality.
Vocals on the album come from Igor’s deep, hoarse voice. His growling delivery fits with the drums, bass and rhythm guitar, but seems a bit out of place among the high notes on lead guitar. At times it sounds like James Hetfield’s voice singing to Joe Satriani—high praise for both band members, but just not together. At worst, the effect is mildly distracting, so this isn’t a big problem for the album.
I like this album as background music while working or playing a game. I just don’t find myself craving it. TreeLogia is a must-have for Morningside fans, but doesn’t offer enough to those looking for more than just a mood-setter.
Music Review: The Morningside – TreeLogia (The Album as It Is Not)