Deep Thought - Morphios

Year of Release: 1998
Label: self-released; DT Records Ltd
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:10:00

Morphios begins with the title track, structurally similar to classic Marillion, but the swirling keyboards of Dominik Pfleghaar are much higher in tone, and vocalist Pat Merz sounds nothing like either Fish nor Hogarth. In fact, on this, Deep Thought are closer to French and Italian progressive than UK. I'm brought to mind of Eris Pluvia or Ezra Winston, without the winds. For a few beats we get wah-wah guitar that ? well, without meaning to paraphrase Neal Morse*, it sounds like that used in the "Theme From Shaft."

Do the Hustle!! Hmm, well, maybe not, but that's the rhythm for "Grave," which is anything but. Keys parp sprightly, the percussion and bass are jaunty, the guitar lines upbeat. You'd have expected some very dark and sinister playing with a title that - or at least somber with reflective lyrics - something like Thomas Grey's "Elegy Written In A Country Courtyard" perhaps, though I don' t know why that comes to mind here. It's not a bad instrumental, mind you, but does have a strong disco feel about it.

"Waiting For Darkness" wouldn't seem out of place on an Ilúvatar disk or, looking even further back, mid-to-late 70's Genesis. Except, again here, it is much too bright for what one would expect to be a somber sentiment. Once you get past that, it's an okay tune. The keys are a little muddy, a little too echoey, and Merz' vocal performance here could be stronger.

"Gone" is a full of dynamic contrasts between gentle, more acoustic-like segments and rockier, angrier sections. Acoustic-like, but not acoustic. Where guitar has the lead in the former, it is percussion that has the lead in the latter. This is more epic as moves beyond this after some time into a lilting guitar passage, accented by tinkling keys, and sinewy bass. Then some dark, epic tones come to the fore (this is what "Grave" should have sounded like), but only briefly and then just before it ends.

"Silent Four" is the spotlight track for Martin Altenbach's drums, which intro this track. Dark guitar lines create a sense of foreboding, which is undercut by the bright keys. Throughout, I realize, the keys also take on the role of brass with a somewhat medieval feel. This is a nice instrumental track.

"Inside The Dune" returns to the disco flavor - open, fat bass and guitar chords. All that's missing is the mirror ball. Okay, that's really just the intro, as the rest is moody prog more in the style of?well, I thought of Egdon Heath. "Anything You Want" made me think of Live.

Overall this is a nice disk and worth hearing. There are some production quibbles, but as was mentioned to me, this was self-produced without having a large budget. With that taken into consideration, this is a pretty darn good release. The quibble I have is that sometimes the drums sound a little tinny, or the percussion is up in the mix when it needs to be back a little bit, and everything seems a little quite, but really nothing major.

*cf Morse interview

Morphios (6:40) / The Land Of Never Ending Rain (5:50) / Grave (3:44) / Waiting For Darkness (3:04) / Gone (3:51) / Silent Four (9:23) / Inside The Dune (5:10) / Yearing (5:59) / Anything You Want (3:19)

Martin Altenbach - drums
Pat Merz - vocals
Marcel Oehler - guitars
Dominik Pfleghaar - keyboards
Dominik Rudmann - bass

Morphios (1998)
Shadows Of The Past (2000)
Somewhere In The Dark (2002)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin CH

Added: April 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1910
Language: english


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