Year of release: 2019
Released by: Ashen Dominion
Rating: 7,7 / 10
The Ukrainian project RAVENTALE has always been popular in the post-Soviet space and not only - it is difficult to calculate how many of its albums were distributed by me through Possession Prods distro. However, for me, over the years since acquaintance with the music, it remained a project of one album - the debut “На хрустальных качелях” which I still adore for the magical melody. Further experiments, going into transcendental wilds and returning to sharper material on “Dark Substance of Dharma” left nothing in my soul and memory (except for an excellent cover of ГРАЖДАНСКАЯ ОБОРОНА). But “Morphine Dead Gardens” has every chance of becoming the third, after “На хрустальных качелях” and “Mémoires” compilation, release of RAVENTALE in my collection.
The secret of “Morphine Dead Gardens” is simple - this is the classic funeral Doom Death Metal, which, if not for Ashen Dominion label, could become a ticket back under the wing of Solitude / BadMoodMan Productions. Even on the merch, released in support of the disk, you can see a sad face of the gothic statue. It's hard to imagine more traditional aesthetics. The album is full of surprisingly unpretentious by the standards of RAVENTALE decisions (just like a debut), and it works better than any far-fetched atmospheric techniques. The natural sound makes me suggest that Astaroth for the first time in a long time played music that he liked, leaving behind his composer's ambitions.
Describing the music of “Morphine Dead Gardens” is, by and large, pointless. In the case of a funeral doom, the reviewer has to use beaten cliches, since the expressive palette of the genre always remains almost unchanged, and the difference in feelings is usually difficult to express in words. “Morphine Dead Gardens”, of course, is based on mournful, viscous riffs that reinforced by large-scale and atmospheric keyboard parts. There are only few sinister motives; everything is dominated by the melody of a ringing lead guitar, sometimes a synthesizer. Feels like the album resembles the creative period of 2010-2013: the same cold detachment, measurement, trying to take the listener beyond the material world. I think this is the property of the “morphine” concept put out in the title. In fact, music, and especially the title thing, as if floating between sleep and reality, in narcotic half-asleep, filled with vague images. From this follows its only noticeable drawback: it is hard to remember. Only general impressions remain in my head, but not the compositions themselves. However, this is characteristic of the genre. “Morphine Dead Gardens” deserves to be listened and bought, even if you have long lost interest in RAVENTALE.