In Mourning - Garden Of Storms review
|Album:||Garden Of Storms|
|Release date:||October 2019|
01. Black Storm
02. Yields Of Sand
04. Magenta Ritual
05. Huntress Moon
06. Tribunal Of Suns
07. The Lost Outpost
With Garden Of Storms, In Mourning continue to refine their progressive melodeath sound and further establish themselves as a model of consistency.
These Swedes have enjoyed a strong reputation since their acclaimed debut, The Shrouded Divine, dropped in 2008. Their previous record, 2016's Afterglow, didn't receive quite the same level of appreciation as their other albums, but Garden Of Storms should alleviate any doubts about the long-term reliability of In Mourning. The albums follows in the same musical vein that the band has broadly operated in since Monolith, with guitar work that fluctuates between chunky, sometimes complex yet hooky riffs and atmospheric strumming of chords, contrasting growled, screamed and clean vocals, and songwriting that displays progressive tendencies without shooting off on tangents. The general model has stayed relatively stable this decade, and whilst individual songs or segments offer up some novelty, Garden Of Storms arguably has less of these moments than its predecessor. However, In Mourning have previously shown themselves more than capable of exploring all the aspects of their sound to ensure that their albums are diverse and approach avoids becoming stale, and this remains the case on this latest effort.
"Black Storm" opens proceedings with a surprisingly up-tempo intro for the band, before moving into a meaty verse riff. I've regularly seen In Mourning compared with Opeth since I first discovered them, but I've always wondered how much of that arose from their shared nationality and similar genre tags, as I usually don't hear a noteworthy amount of Opeth in their sound. However, this verse riff is the kind of moment where I can see the validity of the comparisons, a twisted yet groovy riff that sent my mind instantly to the veteran progsters. This is followed by "Yields Of Sand", a shining example of the ways In Mourning have developed across their career. Clean vocals have been a minor but consistent feature of the band's sound since their debut (see "The Black Lodge"), but both the actual vocals and their application in songs have steadily improved across albums, and are arguably at their best on this latest effort. They also have a heavy presence on "Magenta Ritual" and during the ominous verse of "Hierophant", but their standout appearance is arguably on "Yields Of Sand", reappearing around the midway point to carry the song towards a sorrowful, powerful climax that may be the highlight of the album.
The album saves most of its heavier hitters for the latter stages of the record, with the driving energy and blastbeats of "Huntress Moon", and the pained shrieks in the chorus of "Tribunal Of Suns". Possibly the standout cut from the record is left for last; the introduction of "The Lost Outpost" soon bleeds into a colossal verse riff that would've been right at home on The Weight Of Oceans. From here, the song deftly transitions through meaty riffs and atmospheric bridges before closing with a slow, doomy, impassioned clean vocal climax and eerie female siren-esque vocals, one of the few moments on Garden Of Storms that feels truly new for the band, and a contender with the climax of "Yields Of Sand" for the best part of the album.
So overall, this is another very good album from In Mourning. In fact, it's in legitimate contention with Monolith and The Weight Of Oceans to be perhaps their strongest effort to date. However, whilst I generally feel positively about this output of this band, it's not usually something that inspires strong long-term passion in me. Despite a multitude of revisits of each album over the years, there's only a select few songs across their discography that have engrained themselves in my memory (hello, "Colossus"), and after dominating my listening for the past couple of weeks in preparation for this review, I suspect Garden Of Storms will not be an exception in terms of long-term impact. I've enjoyed each playthrough of the album, and the aforementioned highlights in "Yields Of Sand" and "The Lost Outpost" have consistently excited me whenever they popped up, but given the volume of listens it's had over the past couple of weeks, I'd hoped that Garden Of Storms might have made more of a lasting impression on me. Perhaps with more time it will leave a greater mark, but despite its many virtues, I fear that this album won't be the one to convert me from an appreciator of In Mourning into a full-blown fan, and I imagine that your feelings towards this album can probably be reliably predicted from your existing opinion of the band.
||Written on 19.10.2019 by|
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