The band’s first two albums, “The Shrouded Divine” and “Monolith”, are both supremely accomplished pieces of work in the melodic death metal / progressive black metal field so this third album has a lot to live up to.
After the first track, called “Colossus” – a nice link to Meshuggah last week – I sit back in my chair to reflect.
By heck, it is phenomenal.
Everything that is marvellous about In Mourning, everything that is marvellous about metal is encapsulated in this track.
Bass and drums start, with keyboards playing a refrain that conjures up the atmosphere of the movie Blade Runner. Then a guitar comes in playing an understated melody. Things begin to build and what sounds like about eleven guitar tracks explode into life.
It is utterly magnificent.
“Colossus” continues to be utterly magnificent for its entire nine and a half minutes. Indeed, the final section, the last 90 seconds or so, are so beautifully, brutally, brilliant that I make this assertion:
If there is a better metal track released in the rest of 2012 I will eat my hat.
I don’t have a hat. Instead, I will eat my Oceansize T-shirt and post the video of me eating it on YouTube.
Right, now I’ve got the rest of the album to listen to.
“A Vow To Conquer The Ocean”, the second track, suffers only because it comes after “Colossus”. Apart from that, it is another excellent seven minutes of metal. An uptempo opening thunders into a slower passage with vocalist/guitarist Tobias Netzell roaring his head off.
Track 3 “From A Tidal Sleep” demonstrates In Mourning‘s complete mastery of dynamics and of craft. Even within such a brutal musical genre songwriting is all-important and In Mourning, continuing on from their first two albums, show accomplishment to match Opeth…and no finer compliment can be paid.
Fourth track “Celestial Tear” is a ballad. Sure, its got some noisy guitar towards the end, but basically it’s a ballad. Tobias Netzell gets to show off some clean vocals and in the process makes us realise he is one of the best metal singers around.
“Convergence” bursts out of the speakers, featuring more excellent guitar work from Netzell, Björn Petterson and Tim Nedergård. It almost goes without saying that Christian Netzell‘s drumming and Pierre Stam‘s bass work are also exemplary. I don’t usually mention individual band members in my reviews but it feels right and proper to do so this time.
Sirens completely changes the mood and is a minute and a half of piano. To coin the most appropriate cliche, it is the calm before the storm.
Final three tracks “Isle Of Solace”, “The Drowning Sun” and “Voyage Of A Wavering Mind” actually sound like a band with the power of the ocean behind them. I don’t want to pick apart each track. I think you should savour them as I am doing. Revel in the collective majesty of these final three tracks and then immediately go back to the start, put on “Colossus”, and listen to the whole album again. And again.
This is modern-day metal at its very best. In Mourning deserve to be enormous.
Actually, it sounds like they already are.
I reckon my Oceansize T-shirt is safe.