So, I placed a bid with Thee Editor to review this album, as I had reviewed an earlier album of theirs some years ago. Or rather, as it turned out, I hadn’t – I’d in fact reviewed another crew entirely, albeit one with a broadly similar name. So, with a bit of a bemused and befuddled brain, I sat down to listen to what I’d bid for…
Turns out, even on a somewhat random selection criteria, this is actually an album that is right up my street (which is lucky!). In terms of all of the various influences which are usually claimed for bands ploughing the doom/deathier outreaches of doom metal, the one that is ordinarily plundered is My Dying Bride. Well, to my ears at least, this Chilean crew of moribund metallers have decided to take the road rather less travelled, and raid their influences more from the early works of Anathema, and the later (albeit brief) stylings of The Blood Divine. Many of our readers, I am sure, being young and thrusting readers may not know about early Anathema. Essentially, their first few albums were belting platters of miserablism writ large. Then, of course, someone must have played the Cavanagh brothers some Pink Floyd, and thus began their slow and inexorable slide into being some kind of terrible Coldplay tribute act.
That aside, Mourners Lament build rather nicely on the altogether more metal aspects of their sound. You will find here slow, atmospheric slabs of downcast and downbeat doom, with some tasteful touches of keyboards, all contained in epic tracks. It’s always a risk that music like this might accidentally slip from the deliberately melancholy into some kind of saccharine, laughable pastiche of what it should be. Mourners Lament have the good sense to craft their songs on the right side of the line, with a deft skill for crafting emotional yet not melodramatic doom death tracks that have real heft without resorting to lace-hanky gothic nonsense.
In terms of their sound, the vocals are absolutely perfect for this kind of music, combining a really very easily decipherable growl with a cleaner edge that’s perhaps better at conveying feeling than it otherwise might. The guitar work is also top-notch, and while it’s hard to truly stand out in this sub-genre (I don’t think that even Yngwie Malmsteen would find it easy to show off during a 9 minute 60bpm epic doom death song), it has plenty of subtlety as well as meatier, heavier riffage. Production is clear and modern, and really well balanced to give every instrument breathing space – even managing to make the synth sound an integral part of the songwriting, rather than a rather cheap wash pasted over the top of the music. Essentially, if you liked “Serenades” or “The Silent Enigma”, then this is the follow up album you never knew existed.
Probably because it didn’t, until now.
(8/10 Chris Davison)