Morgengrau play a scene-setting brand of death metal on Blood Oracle; here premises are introduced, developed, and concluded with logic and visceral intent. Debut Extrinsic Pathway was held back by frequent recourse to speed metal technique and populist maneuvers, but Blood Oracle, whilst not entirely free of those charges, boasts a far more composed and seething attitude. The pair of these albums can prove a fine case study in why death metal just had to part ways in no uncertain manner with speed metal in order to realize its progressive aspirations. The chug in its very essence is static and filler, and serves no purpose in furthering the narrative. By tempering that propensity to a large degree on Blood Oracle, Morgengrau have opened up the whole of the musical space available to them; they are now impelled, consciously or otherwise, to impregnate it with context, subtext, and overall continuity.
Morgengrau‘s writing not being uniformly atonal allows them to embed passages with punctuations verging on the triumphant lickcraft and power chord shapes of heavy metal. Even otherwise, core note choice maintains a certain tenuous, translucent link with more conventional ideas of melody. This induces a bleed-over effect in the music, where straight forward death metal can reside without any cognitive dissonance alongside the faintest sliver of brightness. Because of their malleable note palette, Morgengrau can switch between “musical colors” with a dexterity not accessible to many bands.
Morgengrau‘s most significant achievement on Blood Oracle is to align themselves with the dwindling arts of the slow burn and the grand reveal. Much underground extreme metal has ceased to be song-oriented and has instead opted for an ambiguous impressionism dissembling itself through gratuitous violence. Memorability and death metal are no longer regarded compatible bedfellows, but which old death metal album of note was entirely without its memorable moments? Blood Oracle‘s unstated intention is to recapture some element of the genre’s traditional concern for posterity by presenting songs that stick without compromising integrity or intelligence.