In Mourning: The weight of oceans
03/05/12 || Smalley
“‘In Mourning’…? What kind of unimaginative, sad-sap, whiny emo/goth name is that for a metal band, anyway?” I was skeptical when I first saw it as well, dear reader, and skimming through the band’s previous two records didn’t do much to get me more enthusiastic for “The weight of oceans”, either. Not that I think those first two are worthless, or even anywhere near that, but inconsistent, and with a lack of full potential being fulfilled…? Def. However, it seems as if “oceans” is truly their breakthrough record, as they really swung for the fences and washed out the taste of the sometimes immature earlier albums, just fucken classing things up on every front. While being my fave album of the year so far may sound like a minor thing when it’s still just April, I honestly would not be surprised at all if this was still standing tall atop my best-of list come December 31st (assuming the Mayans were wrong, naturally).
Now, Mourning does play a progressive melo death style here, but before you write them off as just another bunch of generic, Johnny-come-latelys to an already overcrowded genre, just listen to the opening track “Colossus”, which is also the finest song here; first comes an ambient, off-kilter, alien-sounding synth line, which is soon joined by sparse-but-prominent percussion, followed by a minimalist, melodic bass line. Another soothing, melodic guitar line adds onto the pile, as each instrument subtly evolves in their playing, until the intro finally boils over into a heavier, inspiringly beautiful section.
A more energetic, traditionally melo death verse comes next, but while genre haters may hear this section as just being generic, it does work, partly because it’s just nice to hear a switch-up, but moreso because of the way Mourning patiently, maturely made us wait for the pay-off, gradually layering in the elements so that we can simply listen and soak in all the atmosphere/emotions for 2+ minutes, before moving on to the more traditional metal stuff. Anyway, besides all that good shit, the song’s chorus has this simply brilliant melody to it, and for lasting for 9 & 1/2 minutes, it never gets repetitive, but also doesn’t feel lost at any point, rather, organically evolving in what can only be described as a perfectly natural songpath. Fucken ace work.
While the record doesn’t quite reach that high again, there’s still plenty of great material here; the way “A vow to conquer the ocean” seamlessly puts frantic, chug-a-chug riffage alongside melodic soloing, without either one overshadowing the other at all, with more beautifully powerful melodies and an awesomely sparse, “cool-down” section to boot. The way “From a tidal sleep” goes from an highly-distorted, clean guitar intro with the sonic texture of icewater (so to speak) into up-tempo, melancholic heavy playing? The way “Celestial tear” gives us a bit of a power ballad break (NOT the bad kind) in the middle of all the heavier stuff? And so on and so forth; I’d keep going into details, but I don’t want this to start to drag, and almost every one of the 5 tracks I haven’t mentioned yet has something in ‘em to cream yer panties over.
So, “The weight of oceans” is beautiful, engaging metal done with an extremely sharp, intuitive intelligence behind the songwriting, able to keep songs entertaining at certain lengths longer than the vast majority of melo death-ers can. Granted, the harsh vox aren’t all that unique here; he has some powerful moments, but mostly they’re just serviceable, and the clean stuff isn’t really any better… but so what when we have all this great songwriting, right? And while a lot of the elements used here should be pretty familiar to any experienced metalhead, it’s just the way that they’re executed so damn well that makes this such a powerful, engaging album. And remember this; while non-old records sometimes take a lot of listens to get super-high scores from me, for how new a release “oceans” is, for me, it honestly wasn’t too far from getting a 9.5, and will make for some extremely stiff (that’s what she said?) competition if anything else this year tries to challenge its spot for the top. No fucken kiddin’ sir.
- Released: 2012
- Label: Spinefarm
- Website: www.inmourning.net
- Tobias Netzell: guitars, vocals
- Pierre Stam: bass
- Christian Netzell: drums
- Björn Pettersson: guitars
- Tim Nedergård: guitars
- 01. Colossus
- 02. A Vow To Conquer The Ocean
- 03. From A Tidal Sleep
- 04. Celestial Tear
- 05. Convergence
- 06. Sirens
- 07. Isle of Solace
- 08. The Drowning Sun
- 09. Voyage Of A Wavering Mind