The German progressive rock band Morphelia was formed in 1999 by Guido Froehlich (guitars), Guenter Gruenebast (keyboards), and Elmar de Groot (drums). Both Froehlich and Gruenebast were in a band together, called Peacock, for almost 15 years prior to the formation of Morphelia.
It wasn’t until 2001, when vocalist Kurt Stwrtetschka joined the band, that they decided upon the name Morphelia. The line-up was complete when Renko Rickerts (bass) joined the band.
In 2003, the band released their debut album "Prognocircus", which had a lot of positive reviews about it. I haven’t heard this album but I hope to some day (very) soon. They took about 6 years to create the follow-up album, which is a concept double album called Waken The Nightmare.
The band’s sound is a mixture of several bands but I’ll divide those into two components. First off is the vocals, picture a mixture of Nick Barrett (Pendragon) and John Carson (Arena‘s debut). Very typical vocals of the neo-prog genre. Not that it‘s a bad thing, just most bands in that genre try to hard to emulate their heroes rather than creating an original sound. The second component is the instrumentation, which leans to the heavier side of neo-prog without putting them in the progressive metal camp.
Creating double conceptual albums, is a craft few have perfected. I would put Morphelia in this camp, mainly because there’s virtually no filler on the album whatsoever. There is a lot of music to digest and may take longer than some to fully appreciate Waken The Nightmare. While not a groundbreaking album, it does have a slightly fresh sound in the instrumentation side.
Songs range in length from a minute to a 27 minute epic closer. Highlights for me lean towards the longer tracks, as it shows the band spreading out it’s musical wings. The one song that could sum up what Morphelia’s sound, is the epic 27 minute “The End is the Beginning of the End (from the inside coming out)”. This doesn’t take away from the rest of the album but personally sums up Waken The Nightmare.
In closing, had I heard this when it came out originally in 2009, it would have made it to my favorites of that year. I do look forward to where the band goes next, and hopefully sooner than six years.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on July 30th, 2010