Last Easter Sunday involved a rare opportunity to see French band Mourning Dawn live at Doom Over London. This one and here I sit writing about their new EP. Pure coincidence that this is, I can’t help getting slightly spooked thinking something may have aligned to bring these synchronistic forces into being. It’s a great shame that Doom Over London isn’t on this year as it really was a highlight of 2016, the one problem with Mourning Dawn is that they didn’t get time to fit more than a few numbers in but such is the nature of the beast. They certainly don’t do things in half measures that’s for sure and just to prove that their latest release ‘Waste’ is a three track EP weighing in at a whopping running time of just short of 76 minutes. What we actually have are 3 numbers that are each exactly 24:11, well actually calling it 3 tracks is slightly questionable too but we shall get to that.
Having spun this several times and had a refresher course of the group’s 2007 self-titled debut, one that they apparently plan to re-release in a re-recorded version later in the year itself, I still don’t know quite how to describe the band to those who have never heard them. They are certainly not that easy to pigeonhole as they take in many different facets within the overall framework of their hefty sound. Blackened doom / death could be a starting point I guess but when 1st track here ‘The One I Never Was’ swings into life it’s with a very cold industrial sound that perfectly fits in with the grey artwork that enhances the release. It’s a bit like a slowly crushing Godflesh and you are well aware that it is set up to completely consume you over its epic running time. Laurent Chaulet’s enraged sounding vocals come in and bellow like a tornado adding to the destructive slow pounding beats. The music seethes and swallows, full of hatred and discontent, it’s not for everyone as the vocalist yells away adding to the embittered disharmony. The heft of the drumming sounding like its being battered out on sheet metal forms a solid backbone here as the guitar strums along with equally punishing vigour and things build with the vocals reaching full-force. Just when it feels like it is going to choke and throttle you the movement eases to bring in dark ambient tones, a weeping guitar-line and sombre melody. French spoken word parts add to the atmosphere which is cold beyond the point of chilling, it’s all very effective. With the tenacity of funeral doom and the maudlin touch of DSBM about it things very gradually build up from the roots again with a gorgeous sense of wretchedness about it all. What sounds almost like strings carry the melody off and the overall dark frame is enough to even have a band like My Dying Bride sobbing their hearts out. Naturally it’s near impossible not to love every soul-crushing second of it.
Having survived this it’s time for the second part of this conceptually challenging dense work ‘The One I’ll Never Be’ and yes the titles of the songs do have a kind of Trent Reznor NiN post angst about them to me. It’s time for the drum to slowly beat away all over again as this doom etched number forms with low backing chants and a clang that calls to worship. Perhaps I am writing this at the perfect time but this is a ghastly and unholy call to mass. As the drums literally thwack away and vocals scream out what sounds like ‘Witness The Terror’ this has got suddenly incredibly violent and having realised you have been totally swallowed in you are now being savagely and very unceremoniously spat out. Again a drop in violence comes as near huge relief and during the course of things we drift and flow with spoken sampled parts in mysterious French, weeping female cries sobs and wailing in true depressive suicidal blackened structure. Of course that is just in the background, the musicians and vocals are keeping things true to form and carrying on constructing like they are building the tallest tower ever seen and still the gongs strike clamouring for your very soul…
So what do you do with 2 fantastic pieces of music like this? Well you form a third track out of them by laying one on top of the other and call it ‘Waste (The deconstruction of a human being)’. Very clever and very effective and don’t even ask me how it works but be assured it does, taking on new life and like a Cronenbergian contagion. “Long live the new flesh!” This truly is the soundtrack to ruin, special music for special people and other such hyperbole but don’t take my word for it, listen yourself below, your world may never be the same again!
(8.5/10 Pete Woods)