Here's a band I'm keeping my eye on...
Prog metal is a world filled with so many bands trying to be Dream Theater or Pain of Salvation, and failing because of it. When a prog metal band makes a debut nowadays it's rarely original. The Morningside does not fall into this category, and their debut The Wind, The Trees, and The Shadows of The Past is a very strong debut from a band that I think can do better in the future.
The type of music played here can be described as post-metal. What I hear when I listen to this is some similarities to early Opeth's melodic death metal style, some very silent and relaxing moments found in the post-rock greats, and of course a lot of post metal similar to Isis, Pelican, and Agalloch. The result, while nothing groundbreaking, is much better than cloning another band.
The music here is very melodic. There are no blast beats, no shredding, and nothing really fast. This is mostly mid-tempo. It can be very energetic and very relaxing at times. There are some nice melodies and musically this album is very good.
The only main issue that I have with this album is the horrendous vocals. I love growls when they're done correctly, but this is a hellish high-pitched scream that doesn't work with the melodic and beautiful music. I wouldn't have minded a deeper growl, but the vocals can get annoying. The clean vocals aren't much better, and to be honest this entire album is not good vocally.
However, the music is really good. It's still not completely flawless, but this is everything a post-metal album should be. It's energetic, relaxing, and it has beautiful and sometimes dark melodies.
"Intro"- The sound of wind opens up the album. Some creepy-sounding effects follow.
"The Wind"- After the short intro, the second song opens up with a melodic metal riff. It progresses well between riffs, and it is a very solid opening. An energetic riff enters, and then the horrid vocals come in. Keep in mind, I love harsh vocals, but these really are poorly done. Musically, this song is excellent though. This contains some of the best post metal riffs I've heard. It contains a very post-rock influenced section near the end that I think is just excellent. I think this song would have fared better as an instrumental.
"The Trees"- The sound of rain opens up the third track on the album. This has more melodic riffs and melodies, and it progresses into the vocal section. Followed by an atmospheric post-rock section until suddenly electric guitars come in and play the same riff. I really enjoy this song as well.
"The Shadows of the Past"- This is the longest song on the album, and it opens up with a light acoustic melody. It builds well when the drums come in. This features clean vocals, and they really are not good in my opinion. I think this would have been better as an instrumental, or even with a different vocalist. Anyway, musically this song is really good as always. The outro is very intriguing, using the same riff from the very beginning of the song.
"Outro"- This song is entirely instrumental, and is a post-rock song built off of one main riff. I think it builds very well, and it's a great way to close off the album.
The Wind, The Trees, and The Shadows of The Past is a very good album that will definitely appeal to fans of the genre. I think this young band will produce some great albums in their future, and this album shows their potential as musicians. This isn't an essential album by any means, but if you're into post metal it's worth looking into. A 3.5 star rating is deserved.