Mark Morton – Ether

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label URL: https://riserecords.com/
Released: 2020
Buy Album [URL]: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ether-Mark-Morton
Band Website: https://www.markmortonmusic.com/

Band Lineup:

Mark Morton – Guitars

 

Tracklisting:

All I Had To Lose feat. Mark Morales
The Fight feat. John Carbone
She Talks To Angels feat. Lzzy Hale (Black Crowes cover)
Love My Enemy feat. Howard Jones
Black feat. Mark Morales (Pearl Jam cover)

 

Review:

Mark Morton (aka Duane) is well known for being Lamb of God’s guitarist for the last 20 years, mainly playing Jackson guitars in a very heavy domineering style, that has taken him around the world, playing sell out tours, huge festivals such as Download and also earned him his own signature Jackson. Then in 2019, he released a solo album, ‘Anesthetic’ through Spinefarm Records, which showed a different side to Morton, a softer, bluesy side with acoustic guitar and a mix of friends helping him out with vocals and additional instrumentation. Tracks included a posthumous collusion with Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, recorded in 2017, as well as tracks with Josh Todd (Buckcherry), Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), Myles Kennedy (Alter Bridge) and Randy Blythe (Lamb of God).

Morton has quickly followed this up with an EP as part of the promotion for his current Acoustic tour, this time released by Rise Records, it was produced and mixed by Josh Wilbur. The UK tour will feature Mark Morales from Sons of Texas on vocals, and support comes from Dave McPherson of InMe, (who once slept in my van).

The five tracks chosen are a mix of 3 original songs and two classic covers, and they will certainly make you want to check out the full album based on these collaborations. Track one is an original, featuring Mark Morales, ‘All I had to Lose’ is a serene and calming composition, emotional, beautiful with pretty guitar work that soothes and charms, a love song with a great sense of sadness conveyed within the lyrics. ‘The Fight’ features John Carbone of Moon Tooth, whose voice suits it so well, gentle strains and rhythm lulls you into a relaxed feel then suddenly the song bursts dramatically to life mid-way through, waking you up and making you take notice.

Next up is the Black Crowes hit, ‘She Talks To Angels’ with Lzzy Hale from Halestorm on vocals, the guitarwork is a mix of acoustic and electric, suitably bluesy, and well-performed, Hale’s voice is gravelly and perfect for the song, though it might have been interesting to do something unexpected with it, rather than staying so close to the original. ‘Love My Enemy’ is performed with Howard Jones of Light The Torch, whose voice has a hypnotic quality, drawing you in, luring the listener than with the chorus getting all up in your face, so you cannot ignore it, the guitars become much beefier than early tracks, with dramatic solos that lift you up and take you places you don’t expect. Last of all is ‘Black’, a Pearl Jam cover which returns to Mark Morales on vocals, simple strummed chords, soulful vocals, a great job of re-inventing the grunge classic, with sensitivity and passion, a delightful rendition.

This is a very attractive EP, and as a piece of promo to entice people to the shows, it certainly works, even the cover grabs the interest. The music is nothing like Lamb of God, so it’s unexpected and surprising, well-produced and performed and yet not trying too hard, it has a relaxed natural feel, nothing seems forced or contrived. It will make you want to go out and buy the full album next if you don’t have it already.

Review by Lisa Nash
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