Releasing on 5 December 2020, Null Dimensions, by the five-piece Icelandic stoner doom metal Morpholith, takes a sonic journey through the cosmos, celestial bodies and darkness. The EP incorporates classic elements of the genre in a coherent way within its two expanded tracks. When it comes to creating an atmosphere and crafting well-developed compositions, Morpholith is on point. The album’s consistent sound builds tension brick by brick to shape a massive wall of amplifiers. This band has more amplifiers than musicians! Despite its heaviness, surprisingly, the EP manages not to smash the listener’s eardrums.
In the past five years since Morpholith’s formation, the band has grown in confidence. Their debut release in April 2016, Void Emission, was followed by live performances that propelled the band’s success beyond the local scene. Morpholith has already made appearances away from their tiny, dark island. It is worth mentioning that they won the international music contest, Wacken Metal Battle 2019, which aims to bring together worldwide metal scenes. It is no mean feat to perform at the Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany – an event that has been happening for 30 years. Undeniably, the band has the skills to translate their studio spectacle to the live stage.
As they say, Morpholith’s genre is like pop amongst extreme music. Do not fear. Null Dimensions confirms that the band’s sound is accessible and inviting to non-daily listeners of heavy genres. The EP’s 33 minutes are solid – heavy, like a tank rolling on tracks fabricated of disaster and leading to doom, thus presenting a fatalistic picture of the future. The first composition, ‘Orb’, starts in a slow-paced manner and gathers force. What the listener absorbs right away is how Morpholith lays out magnifying sound layers and doses of pressure that slowly spiral down into a deep structure. Yet the sonic thickness does not take away any personal space or invade the soul with an attack of claustrophobia. A hypnotising repetitiveness animates the overall expression before it is swallowed by nihilism, the way it would be by a black hole.
Morpholith does a proper job of retaining the listener’s focus throughout this 20-minute track, which smoothly transitions into the slightly shorter ‘Monocarp’. Blunting the force of gravity, the song’s intro boils with cosmic noises. It resonates well with the preceding track and the EP’s artwork made by Ryan T Hancock. ‘Monocarp’ frames the atmosphere of sci-fi mystery just to hit it with all the sludgy power in Morpholith’s guts. I must underline that the band is already known for its vocal diversity – and with good reason. ‘Monocarp’ offers further proof of this diversity. Although the vocals are half-immersed in the monumental sound of ‘Orb’, in ‘Monocarp’, they function as another instrument, not a tool for any narration. I still have a hard time believing that the clean singing and guttural screams from the abyss actually belong to the same person.
It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel, and Morpholith does not bother to set off such fireworks. Listening to Null Dimensions is a guilty pleasure of letting oneself be surrounded by the Icelandic darkness at the end of this miserable 2020 and be driven by this intense sonic cosmic tank. Null Dimensions grabbed my attention from the first listen and made me contemplate Morpholith’s sturdy sound structures with anticipation of what the next minute of their music would bring. The EP is worth giving a spin regardless of whether you belong to the die-hard metalhead family or not.
Words by Stína Satanía
Morpholith – Null Dimensions