Review: Morbonoct – The Higher Purpose

Band: Morbonoct
Album: The Higher Purpose
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal

Country: Ukraine
Label: Independent
Release Date: 19 February 2023


Hailing from Kherson, Ukraine, Morbonoct mastermind Alexander Medvedev would release his debut LP Anmet in 2021 as a solo project, handling all instrumentation and vocals. Morbonoct regularly delved into deep, spiritual themes and told tales of cosmic horror. Joined by the Polish David Welnicki on the vocals in mid-2023, Morbonoct would continue to dive deeper into the realm of Symphonic and Cosmic Black Metal and deliver their latest offering, The Higher Purpose consisting of six tracks and boasting a runtime of one hour. Listeners are in for a journey of cosmic cold, doom, groove, choir, and melancholy.

The Higher Purpose

Premiering on YouTube on the 16th of February 2024, the record immediately grabs the listener’s attention with an epic bass-slapping intro, a unique element for a black metal record.

Here’s the tracklist for The Higher Purpose:

  1. Mortal Shell
  2. Labyrinth of the Damned
  3. The Prayer
  4. Comet King
  5. Death and Rebirth
  6. Beneath the Veil of Time

Enter Mortal Shell – an 11-minute opening banger. The riffs play out for a minute, setting listeners up for the record’s mood. Welnicki’s vocals come through as a haunting reminder for us mere mortal humans of the cosmic mysteries of unexplored outer space and whatever it is that might be lying outside our observable horizon… Whoever’s in charge of the mixing and post-production here has done a fantastic job of adding enough reverb to make those grim, demonic screams sound spacey, no pun intended; they do not take away focus from Alexander’s magnificent orchestration of keyboard, bass, and guitar riffs nor clash with them but rather complement and accentuate those to reach a new peak in Morbonoct‘s artistic catalogue. Around the 4-minute mark, a gush of melancholic choir segments pushed far back in the mix, not far enough to be inaudible but just far enough to serve as an eerie memoir of the daunting fate humanity had always suffered and continues to suffer- the weakness of the flesh and the inevitable death of all beings.

“Mortal shell so fragile and weak
Worthless meat, our destiny is bleak
in death’s grip, our secrets we keep
unbearable reality until beyond we meet”

These are the words with which Morbonoct expresses a yearning for a reality beyond the current, suggesting that the present existence is unbearable until reaching a state “beyond,” possibly alluding to an afterlife or a different plane of existence altogether. An array of shimmering sounds and space ambiance take over the track near the 6-minute mark and is intercepted by a final breakdown moment before the choirs return, and the song slowly fades away. A marvelous display of the heights Black Metal can reach.

Track No. 2: Labyrinth of the Damned creeps through the speakers with a doom-esque start and slowly gets groovier and groovier until it crescendos and the space lasers raise the green flag for the vocals to shine right through, this time being a lot more raw and emotionally charged. The drum work shifts pace halfway through the song and gives the record a goth/post-hardcore punk influence as the tremolo picking continues, and it all combines into headbang fuel right around the 15-minute mark. The rest of the song is mostly the same- more lasers, switch-ups between blast beats and punk groove, and the disappointing absence of the opening bassline. The second half of this song is where the record begins to exude its singular con amongst a horde of pros- its unwarranted extended runtime.

Track No.3: The Prayer comes through with the same bassline I long yearned for, more of the same choirs halfway through and three verses. It honestly feels like a mixture of the previous two songs. It doesn’t stand out for me, and its 10-minute runtime is unjustified because even if you throw in some acoustics and ambiance, it doesn’t save the mediocre riffing from making the song feel like it has long overstayed its welcome. From here onwards, trying to dissect each song seems pointless given just how similar they all play: a minute of ambience, a minute of acoustics, a minute of choirs and a minute of riffs and screams that don’t stand out all that much.
So, let’s skip to the conclusion


This record is rich in sound, variety and artistry, all of which are best displayed on the opening track. The vocals are powerful and fit the aura and atmosphere the record is trying to deliver. Bass shines through as the hero for me, while the guitars and drums are very standard and solid, they just don’t stand out from its contemporaries as much as the other aspects of this record do. Where the album fails the hardest is being concise. It will take a good moment and stretch it out and over-play it until it loses its magic, and it does this repeatedly until the record starts to get predictable. I would rate the album 7/10. If they reduced the runtime of some songs by a third or maybe even a half, this would easily bump it into the 9/10 territory.

I would recommend everyone to check out the first track, Mortal shell.

BMZ Score: 7 / 10

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