7.5/10 – review by Jamie Cansdale
It is no secret that the Devil has been associated with rock music since the very beginning – this influence can be tracked back even further to the days of Robert Johnson and the Cross Road Blues. Time and time again we see the mark of the beast appear in a vast array of material to the point where a whole genre of music dedicated to nothing but the ways of Satan was born. His presence is still felt towards the end of 2014.
And this is where The House of Capricorn comes in. They play rock music that has had its soul corrupted by the Devil and doom metal. Hailing from New Zealand – an area, along with Australia, known for its twisted musical dances with evil – you can expect nothing but the darkest of songs to erupt from your speakers upon spinning this. Starting with the raucous The Road to Hell is Marked, we are thrown head first into a foray of evil riffs and Marko’s grizzly spitting vocals; it is a fast pace rock riot sure to get necks cracking. Following suit but slowing down to a whirl of sludge is the aptly named In Light of Lucifer (in that there is no light to be found here whatsoever).
Unlike the previous album, 2011’s In The Devil’s Days, Morning Star Rises features an array of shorter songs that comprise of stripped-back hard rock riffs and plenty of doom to appease the beast itself. One cannot help that, in songs like Ivory Crown, there is a strong nod towards bands like Woods of Ypres – the chorus reminds one of the track Career Suicide (Is Not Real Suicide). This is not a bad thing of course, but it takes away some of the band’s mesmerising and bone-chilling identity found previously. If anything, Ivory Crown sounds like a good single used to promote the album. It does have a cracking solo too.
It is, however, the two longer and much slower tracks that steal the limelight here: Ashlands is a crawling torturous affair that crushes as well as haunts; by far the closest that The House of Capricorn gets to pure doom metal here. The album’s epic closer, Dragon of Revelations, is the perfect epitaph for this particularly evil album. Marko’s vocals are as haunting as ever and the song boasts some excellent guitar craftsmanship courtesy of Scott Blomfield. For this writer it is these two songs that this album will be remembered for, as they hark back to the creepy atmospheres that songs like Veils and Horns provided us with.
Overall, Morning Star Rises is a rocking beast of a record with some excellent headbanging anti-gospels that should easily find itself in anyone’s collection. However, given the epic majesty that was their second album, one cannot help but feel that the suspenseful and eerie aesthetic that many know the band for is now gone. We cannot complain though, this, after all, is the Devil’s music.