Mourning Beloveth
A Murderous Circus

2005 is shaping up to be a monstrous year for doom, as Shape of Despair, Esoteric, Novembers Doom, Pantheist, Draconian, and now Ireland’s finest musical export have fans lining up for Zoloft prescriptions all over the world.

After the superb The Sullen Sulcus, Mourning Beloveth jump to tiny German label, Grau (a sub label of Prophecy Productions) with little discernable change to their lethargic, mournful sound. Fans of prior efforts may notice a slightly ‘cleaner’ tone and a somewhat more artful delivery that’s a tad less hateful and antagonistic than before with a more expanded use of acoustics, more clean singing and a more stringent focus on drawn out expansive songs, but otherwise the woeful, depressive nature of the music is intact, just more highbrow than before.

5 songs, 75 minutes and a decidedly bleaker offering that matches the grey/grau tones of the artwork A Murderous Circus is a contemplative yet somber effort that is not just about crushing waves of doom but a more diverse form of melancholy that fully realizes the bands intentioned early Anathema and My Dying Bride worship. Eschewing the usual lethargic builds of the genre, Mourning Beloveth surprisingly jump right into eloquently grave “The Apocalypse Machine” which has numerous pace changes and a large variety of moods within its fourteen minutes as well as some well thought out solos. The respectively short (eleven minutes) “Elemental Nausea” follows a more traditional ebb and flow with a draining acoustic and spoken word introduction that’s mournfully elegant that eventually shifts into a foreboding, lumbering, more familiar doom metal gait that’s delicately repetitive yet subtly oppressive. At the climax of the song (and at various other points in the album), Darren Moor gives a more varied vocal display that’s more than just rending grunts, but he utilizes an impressive scornful shout. Clean vocalist Frank Brennan also has an expanded role in a couple of the songs noticeably during the Paradise Lost-like “The Crashing Wave” and “Nothing (The March of Death)”.

Early on, the droningly heavy and aptly titled “The Crashing Wave” is pure funeral doom at its most barrenly rending, but its subtle shift three minutes in is a superbly executed tempo shift into a hauntingly harmonic, spoken word segment that displays just how proficiently varied Mourning Beloveth have become without forsaking their crushing lineage. When the song does return to more stout doom-isms, it’s a breath stealing exercise in weighty misery. The nineteen minute “Nothing (The March of Death)” has the expected lengthy build with Brennan providing the initial clean flow before the track eventually succumbs to a solemn expansive dirge of withering proportions. In a testament to Mourning Beloveth’s grasp of the genre (which might be the second to none right now with maybe Pantheist providing the best competition) even at their lengthiest, I’m never bored or find my attention wandering as each song contains just enough subtle changes in tempo and pace to keep you enraptured, awaiting the next wave of wilting oppression or morosely textured ambience. Even the vast windswept, virtually musicless mid section of “Nothing (The March of Death)” is hypnotically overwhelming in its atmospherics and shows a huge leap in Mourning Beloveth’s song writing development. Closer “…Yet Everything” possesses a melancholy chug that typifies the genre with succinct pacing and delivery, cementing Mourning Beloveth as the one of, if not the top doom act in the scene right now.

Though more intellectual and artistic than the two prior albums and a little less malevolent, the bands growth is perfectly implemented and A Murderous Circus’s sullen eloquence is often astounding in scope. Brilliant.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
April 7th, 2005

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