In Mourning - _Monolith_
(Pulverised Records, 2010)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (9 out of 10)
Expectations are like a double edged weapon these days. The Internet provides us with a ridiculous amount of news and updates on a daily basis, so when the time comes for a band like Sweden's In Mourning to announce the upcoming release of its sophomore album _Monolith_, the two edges of the weapon start to shine. Online banners and news websites used the fame and impact of their outstanding debut _Shrouded Divine_ to advertise for its follow-up, which leaves you, my dear reader and fellow listener, expecting one of two scenarios. The first is the nice one, when the album actually lives up to the hype and administers that headlock that will have you tapping out at the end of it. The second is when you don't like the album and combining listening to it with all the hype causes you to completely lose interest in the band altogether. Luckily for us, In Mourning didn't give that second scenario a chance.

From start to finish, _Monolith_ absolutely lives up to its name. Its production quality and compositional talent are simply staggering. "Debris", for example, includes a crafty hardcore-ish breakdown and some melancholic guitar melodies of the heart-clenching kind. The album's RPM is drastically increased thanks to the colossal "The Poet and the Painter of Souls" and its racing tempo and blast beats. It is quite easily one of the most impressive death metal tracks I've heard in a while. The band's knack for complex time signature prevails through the album, especially on "Pale Eye Revelation" with that intelligent 7/8 version of its main riff.

Generally speaking, the bass guitar tends to get cluttered in many death metal bands, but that didn't really happen here. Worthy of mentioning is the cunning bass line in the chorus of "With You Came Silence"; an approach to the bass guitar that bears an elegant resemblance to the works of Martin Mendez on Opeth's landmark album _Blackwater Park_. We're back at the black lodge with "The Final Solution (Entering the Black Lodge)" and if you don't know what I mean, then you must do your homework and listen to _Shrouded Divine_. This crushing, soul-stirring thirteen minute track is the perfect choice to end this album. The second half of this track is the pinnacle of musical splendor In Mourning have ever mustered.

Some albums leave you wanting more when you're through listening to them, and _Monolith_ is a brilliant album that does just that -- and so did _Shrouded Divine_, which is a glaring proof of the band's evolution. It's a realization that comes without even thinking about comparing the two albums to each other. I also wouldn't waste your time in comparisons to Opeth and Katatonia; let's just say that they are two outstanding bands who will influence new bands for as long as humanity lives. In Mourning, however, do put those influences to their benefit and successfully hone their own sound with this impressive _Monolith_. Leave it to the Swedes to put out a good death metal record, huh?


(article published 2/5/2010)

6/17/2012 A El Naby 9 In Mourning - The Weight of Oceans
6/17/2008 Q Kalis 8 In Mourning - Shrouded Divine
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