Mourning Beloveth - _A Murderous Circus_
(Grau, 2005)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8.5 out of 10)
Irish doomsters Mourning Beloveth created quite possibly the best doom metal album of 2003 with their last effort, _The Sullen Sulcus_; so it was with bated breath that I played its follow-up _A Murderous Circus_ for the first time. The band's doom/death is now somewhat less reliant on the sheer heaviness of their guitars -- which never made up any great majority of their arguments in the first place, but the band has explored slightly different ways of doing things this time. This change may also be due to the fact that they have opted for a German studio in place of the famous Academy studio in England.

Opening track "The Apocalypse Machine" starts in a truly remarkable way, the first few minutes consisting of such a superb slab of doom metal that you are forced to expect a masterpiece from then on. Then it goes away for a while into less remarkable territory, before returning midway through its duration with a different passage that is nearly as great as the first. Finally, it goes back to a relatively catchy, but inconsequential riff for what seems like a very long time.

Unfortunately, _A Murderous Circus_ occasionally buries some of its finest moments amidst a newfound tendency to indulge in slow, repetitive, but not exactly heavy or doomy riffs. The main problem is that these riffs are just too simple to have much effect without some crushing distortion to help them. Mourning Beloveth manage to go into semi-acoustic mode several times and get away with it very well indeed -- but this sort of riffing that they resort to on occasion is neither emotional nor crushing, and simply stands in the way of the songs getting to where it matters. Having said this, there aren't that many weak sections, and it is mostly the excellence of the passages they enclose that makes them stand out more. For the most part, this is a very solid album, with some great atmospheric moments (e.g. the nearly twenty minute long "Nothing (The March of Death)"), some great doom metal and only a few (unfortunately sometimes long) parts that are comparatively poor.

Despite its slight shortcomings, I still recommend _A Murderous Circus_ to every doom metal fan out there, simply because it contains some of the very best doom metal you will hear this year. Mourning Beloveth have refused to simply produce more of the exact same thing, and credit must be given for trying new things within the same general blueprint. If they can build upon the best bits of this album and chuck out the rest next time around, then _The Sullen Sulcus_ -- along with plenty of doom metal classics -- will be beaten. For now, they haven't really disappointed with _A Murderous Circus_, but I believe they can do even better than this in the future.


(article published 10/3/2005)

8/12/2001 P Azevedo Mourning Beloveth: Earth to Earth, Ashes to Ashes...
4/28/2013 P Azevedo 9 Mourning Beloveth - Formless
7/2/2008 P Azevedo 9 Mourning Beloveth - A Disease for the Ages
10/27/2003 P Azevedo 9 Mourning Beloveth - The Sullen Sulcus
9/1/2002 P Azevedo 8 Mourning Beloveth - Dust
5/13/2001 P Azevedo 8 Mourning Beloveth - Dust
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