Sound — 8
What do you get when you cross melodic death metal, doom metal, and progressive metal? This time around, it isn't Insomnium. You get In Mourning. After five demos, the band finally released this stunning debut album. I was surprised to learn that this was their first album due to the quality of it. The production and sound quality are top notch. There is an obvious Opeth influence in this band's sound, but these guys are not another Opeth clone. I thought they were at first from the sluggish melancholic intro of the opening track, but I was wrong. Once the title track passes, you get to really see how this band is able to keep in touch with their roots yet still sound original. This album is laden with despair and sorrow, but it isn't slow like traditional doom metal albums. It's faster, and a bit more aggressive. Heck, you'll even find the occasional blast beat. Drum and bass wise, this album is solid. Drums are pretty good, they carry the songs well. But the bass just follows along with the rhythm guitar for the most of the time. But that's ok, at least you can hear it. The guitar work, while nothing mind boggling, is very interesting. It's really more about atmosphere here. There's a lot of layering going on here with the guitars (check out Grand Denial, Amnesia, and others) and it really adds to the texture of the music. Another thing; the guitarwork (again, while nothing super complicated), is almost never boring. If you like riffs more than solos, that is. If you do, then this album might please you. If you like atmospheric metal, then this album WILL please you.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are done nicely, without seeming overly dramatic or corny. Well, I don't think they're corny. You might. But I'm a sucker for depressing lyrics so long as they aren't over the top or cliche lyrics (this album has neither). The vocalist also deserves some recognition. The growls are thick without being dirty, and the clean vocals are calm without being wimpy. Not only that, but the growls are also relatively versatile. There's low, medium, and high pitched growls, which are used at all the right times. Slow breaks = low growls, fast bridges = high growls, everything else = regular growls. But they don't just toss these vocals around just to break the monotony. Like I said, it's all about atmosphere.
Overall Impression — 9
In the metal world today, it is pretty hard to come out with a CD that doesn't sound like you're trying to emulate someone else. Unless, of course, you're the one being emulated. While this CD isn't perfect, it is a pretty good example of how to take influence from someone without sounding like a ripoff. If you're into melodic death metal, doom metal, progressive metal, or just really atmospheric metal in general, I recommend you get this CD. It's hard to believe that this is only the band's first album. But I guess they've had five demos to sharpen up their sound. My only personal gripes with it are when things slow down too much for my tastes. I like things to be fast, but I guess if everything was fast then it would just get repetitive. The real reason that this album is a hidden gem lies within the composition of the music. Sure, there are a lot of bands that write good music, and there are a lot of bands that write better music. But it takes much more than practice to produce atmosphere, and this album has it.