Let's start off this review with a digressive story, how I discovered and met Morpheus Descends. I first became aware of them when they re-united to play Martyrdoom Fest II in 2013. While researching other unfamiliar bands to prepare for the fest, I was blown away by Morpheus Descends; they are an integral and original part of the influential NYDM scene that has escaped me for years! How had I missed them? Well, having only one full-length and a small host of rare demos and EP's, I suppose I can forgive myself... a little. Anyway, I have more on them in a separate post for their MDF appearance. I managed to run into current (and incredible) singer Craig Campbell (may former singer Jeff Reimer be remembered) after their MDF set, to express my enthusiasm for the band and the show (as well as ask for an autograph). He was in a hurry but advised me to drop by their merch stand later and he'd round up the band for signatures. I did this, and he followed through... with a twist. I got to talking with Sam Inzerra, who was totally infatuated with the idea of us both being the many-eth Sam in a line of Sams (neither of us are a seventh son, however). It was he who rounded up the rest of the band for me, walking around the fest with me, shooting the shit, and being an all-around awesome guy! In fact, the whole band was really approachable and grateful for my enthusiasm. I wish I could have been more eloquent than "YOU GUYS FUKCING RULED" but I suppose my point came across. Thanks again to Sam and the gang, you guys really made my day, I felt like VIP royalty!
So, onwards to Golgotha... I mean the box set. Essentially a collection of everything the band has ever recorded, there's also a double-sided poster and a DVD featuring interviews and various shows. The DVD is really worth the price of the set itself, it is a strong document of the band's history and development, clearly dedicated to Jeff Reimer, now deceased. The box is heavy cardboard with black-on-black lacquered ink. The DVD comes in a CD case with a heavy card stock cover. The new Putrid artwork for the poster is pretty awesome, though I'm partial to the surrealism of Brad Moore on the "Ritual Of Infinity" album. The booklet is a bit confusing as there's no list anywhere as to where the songs on the CD come from, but if you follow along the booklet, the tracks follow the order listed there:
1-2 “From Blackened Crypts” recorded 2014, now a 7” in 2015 from Dark Descent Records
3-11 “Ritual Of Infinity” 1992
12-16 “Adipocere” EP, 1991 by (pre-Morpheus Descends band) Morpheus
17 a 1993 version of 'Cairn of Dumitru'
1-5 “Chronicles of the Shadowed Ones” EP, 1994
6-9 “Horror of the Truth” EP, 1997
10 live version of 'Corpse Under Glass' from Martyrdoom Fest II, Brooklyn NY, 2013 reunion show
11-13 Rehearsal 1990
14,16 Rehearsal 1991
15 pre-recording version of 'The Cruciform Hills' from 1994
17 a 1993 version of 'Autumn Bleeds'
The booklet includes all the artwork from all the releases as well, including front and back cover and all lyrics. Sound-wise, this release is solid, even the rehearsals are listenable while still having that lo-fi, unbalanced feel I find desirable in rehearsal recordings. For new fans, here's chance to catch up (like I did) on an important and interesting NYDM band that combines the local brutality of their neighbors with the bizarre-ness and darkness of their Scandinavian counterparts (Finland, I'm eyeing you) for a unique flavor of Death Metal. For old fans, here's a great chance to complete your collection and go for a shamble down memory lane to visit old cadavers long since cannibalized.
A great compilation, this box set closes the casket on Morpheus Descends' past while simultaneously opening the lid on their future, thus unleashing more undead hordes to reach from beyond the dimensions of mortal men.
*Review and photos copyright The Samnambulist, 2015*