Album Review: Mark Morton - Ether
Artist: Mark Morton
Album: Ether EP
Genre: Acoustic Rock
Review by Steve Jenkins
Everyone knows Mark Morton as the guitarist from American heavy metal titans Lamb Of God. But in March of 2019 he released an incredible first solo album titled Anaesthetic which showed a bit of a different side to the extremely talented musician. There were even some tracks on that album that to be honest sounded better than a lot of the stuff LoG have made over their past couple of releases. Not even a full year later, Mark Morton brings us a brand new 5 track EP 'Ether' which contains 3 original tracks and 2 covers. Inspired by the acoustic shows that he played last year. each track also features a special guest.
The EP starts off with "All I Had To Lose" with Sons Of Texas frontman Mark Morales on vocal duty. The acoustic guitar gives off a soothing yet haunting feel as Morales' gives an emotional performance that showcases both beauty and harshness. A rather enjoyable listen and a welcome change from that ferocious energy and vigor that we've associated Morton with over the years.
Next up we have "The Fight" which features guest vocals by the always impressive John Carbone from heavy rockers Moon Tooth. Starting off slow, this one picks up the pace a little more as the track moves along, a bit more upbeat and actually quite radio friendly. This track is the complete opposite of a Lamb Of God offering, and I think that's the entire point here.
"She Talks To Angels" is the first cover we get here and it features the incredible Lzzy Hale who shows off her powerful and dynamic vocal range. This is wonderful track that is dripping with blues inspired instrumentation and harmonies, and the addition of Lzzy makes it all the more special.
Another new track is up next called "Love My Enemy" and this one sees Howard Jones (ex-Killswitch Engage and current Light The Torch vocalist) who is known for his huge sounding vocals. With an explosive chorus and an absolute cracker of a solo from Morton, this one definitely stands out and they make for a superb collaboration on this occasion.
As the EP comes to an end we are left with a Pearl Jam cover of "Black" which again features Mark Morales on vocals. A super tough track to attempt, but boy they did a good job of pulling it off here and they definitely did Eddie Vedder and co justice. A great closing song which once again really highlights Morales excellent vocal capabilities.
Overall, Ether is nice little listen that I might revisit on the odd occasion, but if anything I feel like it benefits the guest spots more so than Mark Morton himself. The vocal performances on this EP are outstanding and Morton certainly chose well with everybody complementing each other perfectly. I'm a fan Morton's solo career thus far, but I'm also looking forward to hearing him rip it up on a new LoG album hopefully this year. Definitely check this out in the meantime though if you want something a little less chaotic.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Ether is out now via Rise Records.