When new albums arrive in my mailbox and I am not familiar with the band, I always collect some data on the internet about the band and the album. Whenever there is a biography put into the envelope, I always read this first. The Morganatics are clearly well organized, because they had the biography included.
Because the band didn't ring a bell, I also collected some information on the internet.
Within a minute I learned that The Morganatics are from France. When I think of French music I think of not-mainstream, more or less avant gardistic- and stubborn music.
The album The Love Riot Squad vs The F-Word kicks off with the words “This man, the better man”. When you are an insider you know that these are the words of the legendary John Lennon. His voice is unmistakable.
After these few words by John Lennon, dark- and heavy guitar sounds and Metallica-style drum beats filled up my living room. It was clear to me that the album had opened in style. To refer to the title of the album my first thoughts were “What the f-word is this?”
As mentioned The Morganatics are from France. The Love Riot Squad vs The F-Word is their third album release after the albums Never Be Part Of Your World (2013, see review) and We Come From The Stars (2015). From 2013 up to now there were some line up changes, but the band survived them. They stated that this process brought them progression. The album line up is: Seb (vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards), Chris (vocals, samples), Lauris (Lead guitars), PM (bass guitar, unclean vocals), Franck (drums).
After listenening to the album for the first time, I came to an odd conclusion. What is about progressive rock and what is not? Pigeonholing so to say, my advice is: leave the spirit in the bottle!
Back to the odd conclusion: in my humble opinion The Morganatics are in the twilight of the progressive rock. When I do an educated guess, I think that a lot of the proggers put them next to the genre. But enough about what it is or not.
The Love Riot Squad vs The F-Word is an interesting album. The album floats over the musical landscape and touches down on several islands. I think it's best that I mention some influences and remarkable properties of their music.
Linkin Park is the first band that came to my mind, especially the vocals. The vocals of Seb have some interesting parallels with late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. I think that Seb's voice would fit perfectly with Linkin Park. The power, but also the tenderness, have the same colour.
Most of the time the guitar parts are heavy and extremely tight. The clean guitar parts are so very lingering. There are several parallels with Porcupine Tree. I think it is always a compliment when someone compares you with Steven Wilson's Porcupine Tree.
Most of the vocal parts are male. The backing vocals are partly female. This is a concept that also is done by bands as Anathema and Retrospective.
Bass player PM does the “unclean vocals”. Unclean vocals are a broad term. When you listen to this album you will find out that unclean means really unclean. Some parts of the vocals are grindcore-like. Hell is breaking loose at these time. Personally this is not my cup of tea. I'd like to hear what is sung. But's all a matter of taste.
When you mix up all named bands and concepts you will get something that looks like The Morganatics. Don't get me wrong on this on, what I try to say is that in this album the influences of the named bands clearly can be found.
In this review I've tried to create an image of what someone can expect. I think that for mainstream proggers this album is a bridge too far. But when you like the more heavy stuff, it is certainly a recommendation.
Personally I belong to the category “a bridge too far”. Nevertheless I recognize the high skills and craftsmanship of the musicians. Therefor this album scores a 3 out 5 for me.
*** Aad Bannink (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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