In Mourning - _The Weight of Oceans_
(Spinefarm Records, 2012)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (9 out of 10)
In my review of In Mourning's second album _Monolith_, I pointed out a concern of mine regarding the effects of online hype. Of course the album itself spearheaded through all expectations and beyond, and I eventually ended up with it as the number one record on my best of 2010 list. Two years later, the Internet again caught wind of In Mourning as they entered the studio to put their third offering _The Weight of Oceans_ to disc. I followed the same doctrine of avoiding online hype with the superstitious hopes of having In Mourning deliver the goods once more. You see, when a band starts its discography with a couple of bangs, the third album is usually an uphill challenge; but not for these Swedes.

I'm glad to report that In Mourning have once again put together an album that decidedly dethrones everyone else in Swedish death metal and places them as the country's number one death metal ambassadors. Their earlier works had some listeners and reviewers (myself included) drawing parallels to Opeth -- the good Lopez and Lindgren Opeth, not the 2011 Opeth. They were indeed valid parallels, because In Mourning rely heavily on structuring their tracks with carefully selected chords. Mid-era Opeth built its ephemeral empire on this foundation with the addition of Lopez's ingenuity on the drums and Mike's throat skills, but, as Alan Nemtheanga told us before, every empire falls.

The major difference that goes in In Mourning's favor is the third guitar, and _The Weight of Oceans_ proves that even more. The three guitars pull together to create a gigantic wall of heaviness that surrounds Tobias Netzell's genuinely powerful voice and accentuates Christian Netzell's clever chops and pulsating beats on the drums. Melodies are well rounded and never sound cheesy or sterile. Chugging riffs come out dense and sturdy and leave lasting effects on the listener. The progressive influences never seem to fade, and you can definitely sense that in how each track evolves -- and indeed the whole album, as it continually moves forward without any interest in repeating ideas.

The opening track "Colossus" is indeed a colossal piece of work. It crosses the nine minute mark and does a great job of filtering out the type of attention deficient listener who couldn't really absorb this album in its entirety. There's an overwhelming sense of drama on "Celestial Tear" and the ninety second interlude "Sirens", but it's a kind of melancholic, reflective drama that doesn't do the album's mood enough justice. "A Vow to Conquer the Ocean", with its soaring guitar solo, and "The Drowning Sun" however, project a gigantic sense of drama that will have you coming back only to get sucked in every time.

"From a Tidal Sleep" is also an interesting highlight, where Tobias displays his commanding vocal skills as he shifts from deep guttural growls to high pitched screams then a clean singing section to finish off any doubts anyone could have about his capabilities as a vocalist. This is of course a death metal album that is loaded with some crushing heaviness of Swedish proportions. "Convergence" and the blistering "Isle of Solace" provide some of the much heavier moments on _The Weight of Oceans_. There are undeniable doom influences, but they are not the only inspirational sources for In Mourning. Their music pulls together death metal, doom and authentic progressive rock with unmatched musical capabilities. I can certainly say that this record will also make it to my best of 2012 list, and I wouldn't be surprised to see other fellow metal fans doing the same thing.


(article published 17/6/2012)

5/2/2010 A El Naby 9 In Mourning - Monolith
6/17/2008 Q Kalis 8 In Mourning - Shrouded Divine
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