MOURNING-MISTSomething a bit different here from this Italian act helmed by bassist Kvasir of Abhor and Profezia infamy. Rather than doing everything himself he has on this project roped in a violinist going by the name of Ecnerual to temper up things stylistically and the result with all the strange time changes, black, avant, doom progressions and masterful flurries from said instrument given us a somewhat dense and difficult album to penetrate that comes across like the deranged love child of Mortuary Drape and Rimsky-Korsakov.

With what sounds like crushing waves a lone and dismal sounding violin takes up things as drums gradually thud slowly in. Opener ‘The Flowing’ does just that sounding more like a gothic concerto at first before heavy bass and then austere and eccentric vocals join in. It instantly sounds deranged and a bit off the wall as you listen and try and fathom out what is going on. The violin work is rather classicist in approach until it all weaves off with a sound that would not be out of place on some sort of rock opera. It’s already difficult not to think of some of the more out there work of a band like ELO here more than anything else of maybe even Nigel Kennedy on some sort of chemical substance. Vocals are not a constant, more incidental and it is left to the musicianship to flow centrally here although some spoken word parts that I annoyingly can’t really make out lyrically are there in the background. The tempo picks up and songs are left time to develop with some evil sounding rasps and some more urgency as the pace surges towards the end of this somewhat baffling opener. ‘Freefall’ does just as suggested with the violin classically picking at some very recognisable nuances and the drums flurrying away and vocals adding dark deranged overtures to it all. It’s all a bit of a giddy danse-macabre which along with the name of the band which hints at the poeticism of something quite Byronic definitely takes back to centuries past rather than the modern day. There’s some real mania injected with spoken words and skewed musical lurches which really quite unsettles and makes you wonder just where the hell this has all come from.

‘Rage’ has a bit of an Italian filmic touch to it sounding like it could be from a wild giallo, a madman barks away as it flurries off on a dashing weave, close your eyes and imagine a black gloved clad killer stalking their prey. There’s some equally eccentric guitar play on this one putting in a virtuoso solo performance and then a real slowed down sell your soul to the devil down Georgia way violin part. A spoken sample sounding like it could be from a Shining (Swe) slice of depressiveness breaks the flow on ‘Torment’ before the violin weeps in and guitars get jagged and this hits a frenzied peak with gibbering vocals. All rather a strange marriage of ideas to be honest and it’s rife with the madness that tinged many the great composers of old.

This is part of the problem I found here and to be honest I’m not convinced that I like the mix of styles utilised. Clever it is certainly but I guess the main problem for me is the combination of old and new. If I want to listen to something such as Tchaikovsky and his glorious violin concertos I would want to do so in a purely unadulterated fashion and whilst not saying that the violin has no place in modern and even extreme music (Dornenreich certainly get it right and closing instrumental Lament does too here) I just found this all a bit contrived. Also listening to it makes me think of that horrible South Bank Show theme song done originally by Paganini and bastardized by Julian Lloyd Webber and it’s this more than anything else the playing on the album kind of reminds me of. Still Mourning Mist may well tick all the right boxes for you so they are definitely worth a listen if you are looking for something a bit different.

(6/10 Pete Woods)