In Mourning
Afterglow

Swedes In Mourning have made a solid impression over the past five or six years. Their brand of melodic death has matured greatly in the past three albums that they’ve released, and with The Weight of Oceans (2012) the band were being lauded as possible heirs to Opeths death metal throne. Rightfully so, because Afterglow only pursues that notion even more presenting far-reaching, atmospheric, progressive death that few in the genre can match.

Afterglow continues conceptually where The Weight of Oceans ended telling an epic, mythology inspired story of the sea, that is obviously Lovecraftian influenced. Coupled with the bands signature staccato riffing and lumbering doom passages, Afterglow is a dynamic yet familiar sound, expanded into an odyssey unlike anything they’ve produced before.  Opener “Fire and Ocean” perfectly sets the tone for Afterglow forging a dense mood that completely fits the album artwork.  Swift yet somber in its delivery, this track is the shortest on the album at just over six minutes. Things start to get much more expansive and sprawling when “The Grinning Mist” starts.  As suspended as you can feel within these songs, there’s still plenty of head bang inducing riffs to compliment the alluring clean breaks and meditative passages that this album is chock full of. None of the seven tracks particularly stand out from one another as the really all come together wholly as one in the end. On the first few spins I had trouble telling them apart and that’s not a negative criticism at all. This album is dangerously close to a Crimson-like album where it’s just one long song. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard an album fit so perfectly as one whole unit.

The addition of ex-Katatonia drummer Daniel Liljekvist has proven to be a wise choice. Through all the stop go riffage and lush melodies, the album is extremely tight and can hit hard when it needs to. Tobias Netzell has had one of the deepest roars in the genre as of late, and though he still utilizes those doomy deep bellows at times, we find the lead singer now widening his range and going for a higher raspy attack. Similar approach to what Mikael Akerfeldt did with death metal era Opeth, and it pairs with the dynamic of the album flawlessly. The clean sung passages are more apparent than in previous releases but they are used sparingly and placed carefully.

In Mourning’s sound cannot be pigeonholed to simply melodic death metal. That would be cutting them short. Before the album dropped the first taste the band gave us was “Below Rise to the Above.”  This moody song is a great example of the adventurous lengths this band is willing to go to elevate their sound above any simple moniker. They are very much a progressive outfit that has opened themselves up for further exploration in years to come.

It’s a grower for sure. Afterglow is not as immediate as its predecessors. However, it has the strength to last and I feel like I will come back to this release for years to come. Surely to be atop of many yearend lists, a beast has been bestowed upon us and In Mourning have firmly cemented their place as capable storytellers and leaders in the atmospheric/melodic death metal world. Take the journey with Afterglow. You won’t regret it.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shane Wolfensberger
July 19th, 2016

Comments

  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    Not bad. some of the chuggier syncopated stuff isn’t so hot, but this is pretty music.


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