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In Mourning - Monolith CD (album) cover

MONOLITH

In Mourning

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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4 stars Dear fellow hardheaded progressiphiles, try imagine a band that plays a mix style of Opeth and In Flame or Dark Tranquility. If you happen to love those aforementioned, this is it...this is Monolith.

I have to say I don't know much about the previous releases of In Mourning as this album, Monolith, is happen to be the first In Mourning CD I've ever own (Thank you PA .) What I do know is there are pretty much resemblance of Swedish metal sound incorporated in this release. And since I am a hardcore Opeth fan and was for Dark Tranquility/In Flame admirer, I found this album very pleasing. There is not much left to say about their sound since a terminology like Opeth + Dark Tranquility is quite self explanatory. Mixing, production and musicianship wise, they are topnotch. The only thing that I don't like is vocal style. I used to like it but as I grow older, however, I find this kind of top-of-the-lung growling/screaming is quite let down.

Very good album for Tech/Extreme Prog. Almost full 4 stars. But for Swedish Melodic Death Metal lover, this album is 5 stars.

Report this review (#267534)
Posted Monday, February 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars I sometimes wonder what's happening with Death Metal these days (yes, I call this Death Metal). Either I'm becoming more tolerant, or this music is getting softer and more melodic. In general speaking, it is hard rough, but let's be honest. You can find perfection in tyranny, as well as in beauty (beauty is more prominent). However, being rough, being not optimistic is not a crime, same as being optimistic is (hey you, haters of Moon Safari). Strange thing is that even most of my music works in my speakers, this one wasn't so successful (but as I said, most of music works [for me]), but this one is killing, striking greatness (yes, this word exist, hooray). For example Mannefall is metaphoric audioalization of simple act that every one of us must do from time to time. To catch your breath guys, that's it. Next round of melodic Tech Metal it is (so it's not plane, nor bird, it's Metal). I like this kind of "weaker" Tech Metal. Because it's not so "Extreme" (pun intended).

4(+), believe it or not, but you should believe, if you consider yourselves as "believer".

Report this review (#269239)
Posted Tuesday, March 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Disappointing, at least from an extreme-metal-fan's point of view.

The Shrouded Divine has become one of my favorite albums over the last two years. I would go as far as declaring it one of my favorite albums of the last decade. With that album being such a favorite of mine the expectations to their follow up might have been unrealistically high. Nevertheless, the second official release from In Mourning proves to be somewhat of a disappointment. The music is still performed flawlessly. There are good melodies, but something made me lose interest rather quickly. I did, however, spend a long time trying, as I really was rooting for these guys. It is hard to describe in one sentence what makes this inferior to their debut, so I will have to go in detail.

The album opens with For You To Know, and the riffing is pretty good. That is before the awful vocals kick in. Luckily this singing style only appears a couple of times on the album. I can appreciate the screamo, nu-metal style vocals in the right setting. But when everything is as perfectly performed, border lining a neurotics wet fantasies, there are no place for out of key sounding elements. This singing style seems almost identical to that of Leprous as well. But where it fits nicely in with the style of Leprous, it just seems out of place in this setting. The rest of the song is by far one of the best on the album. The melody, variation and riffs are top notch.

The next song is called Debris. Forgetting the yawn of an opening, this song kicks off with one of the albums most interesting riffs (00:58). The starting/stopping and subtle syncopations are similar to the riffing I loved with The Shrouded Divine. Also the following verse is incorporated with the technicality of the riff in an excellent manner. Unfortunately when the pre-chorus riff takes over (around 02:50), the rest of the song becomes very predictable. The riffing is straight forward. I have heard the chorus many times before. And in addition, being that Debris is one of the "calmer" tracks on the album, kicking in a slower pace towards the end makes me lose interest. It would have been a better choice to pick up the pace instead. The remainder of the song seems very similar to the band Godgory. (This goes for many tracks on this album.)

The third track, The Poet and the Painter of Souls, is the most upbeat track on the album. The riffing is rather straight forward though. There are some excellent syncopated parts jumping in at 01:28, but this little spicing of the riffs aren't enough to break up the monotonous feel of this track. Where such riffs were spiced up with unexpected turns and twists on The Shrouded Divine, such tendencies are absent on Monolith.

The Smoke also reminds me very much of Godgory before the singing starts. Then it dwells into more doomy areas. The whole song has a very monotonous feel, compared to most of the tracks on their previous album. It sounds a bit as an old Katatona track, of the album Brave Murder Day. I also get some My Dying Bride vibes.

The opening riff of A Shade Of Plague is also very goth sounding. It would fit nicely in as a Sentenced riff. A more progressive part takes over for a few seconds, but the mid tempo, doomy feel permeates in this song as well. Also similar to Godgory. Riffing is straight forward and monotonous here as well.

With You Came Silence is again dwelling in Katatonia-esque landscapes. Especially the lead guitar is very similar. Also this track makes me loose interest as it develops into more doomy stuff as opposed to picking up the pace, or spicing up the predictability with technical twists and unexpected turns.

Pale Eye Revelation starts op with a thin, and somewhat strange sounding riff, before the verse is introduced. It seems to be picking it up momentarily, before the track looses itself in monotony and predictability. This song also lacks what most songs on Monolith have been missing, which is a touch of original identity.

Ending this album is the track, The Final Solution. It is 12 minutes long and also by far the most doom sounding and slow song on the album. And that would be great if it had been made with some originality to it. Though this song is far from being a Funeral Doom song, In Mourning could have benefitted from listening to Swallow The Sun or Runemagic, if they wanted to make some really slow doom songs with originality and identity to it. The Final Solution sound like something that has been made countless times before.

So there you have it. I guess my objections to Monolith are that it has lost some of the unique identity that I initially found in The Shrouded Divine. The previous album also had some pretty usual death metal songs, but they were consistently spiced up with unexpected elements. Elements that unfortunately are absent on Monolith. Where The Shrouded Divine was borderline tech/extreme metal, Monolith is borderline doom metal. And some of In Mournings initial magic seems lost. Still, I have not given up on this band. I count them as one of the most exciting metal acts to emerge in quite a time, and look forward to their future endeavors. Better luck next time.

Report this review (#271007)
Posted Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Monolith' - In Mourning (6/10)

Having only recently come to my attention, I had heard good things about this Swedish melodic death metal act before checking it out. Being described by some as 'one of the best metal albums of 2010,' I took it upon myself to give In Mourning's 'Monolith' a listen for myself to decide whether these claims were founded or not. As it turns out, this young band is certainly impressive in their own right. Taking the signature melodic metal sound of their home country (also called the 'Göteborg' sound), In Mourning makes a solid first impression. However, the route the band takes has been done to death already, and with legions of acts having already covered the same territory before, it might be difficult for this talented act to make a lasting stand.

From the first listen of the opening track, I instantly related the music of In Mourning to compatriot acts Dark Tranquility, Opeth, and In Flames, among others. A very polished sound, plenty of heavy melodic guitar work, growls and then a soaring, catchy chorus all tie this band together with the more experienced and travelled acts. The album starts off in a vein that is very typical of melodic death metal, but also very skilled and enjoyable. Throughout the first few tracks, there is solid song structure, choral hooks and occasional curveballs, such as an acoustic breakdown here and there. Towards the latter part of the album however, there is a very noticable (possibly intentional), gradual change of sound. While the beginning of the album took an upbeat and hard hitting approach to the music, things start sounding more like doom metal than anything as 'Monolith' nears it's closing. With heavy anthems like 'The Poet & The Painter Of Souls' and the funeral doom epic 'The Final Solution' sharing the same disc, 'Monolith' can feel at times like two separate works. However, the change of the sound from upbeat to depressive and forlorn makes for an interesting emotional journey.

While certainly not being the most original act I've come across, one thing In Mourning does very well, is the actual presentation and execution of their music. In a crystal clean vessel of production, it becomes all the more important for the musicians to give a very deliberate and purposeful execution. The members of In Mourning accomplish this by delivering a nearly flawless performance of their work. Tobias Netzell gives a good range of vocal work here running from growls to vulnerable clean vocals, although the majority of the vocal work here generally rests on low pitched grunts, typical of the genre.

In Mourning have established themselves as a talented act with 'Monolith.' There is a great performance, some decent songwriting ability and a competent package. The band wears their influences on their sleeve, but rarely succeeds at surpassing the giants of the style.

Report this review (#321044)
Posted Monday, November 15, 2010 | Review Permalink

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