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Mother of Graves – Where the Shadows Adorn

Mother of Graves
Where the Shadows Adorn
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 03 October 2022, 2:45 PM

From Bandcamp, “Named after a mythological Latvian protector of cemeteries (Kapu māte), MOTHER OF GRAVES’ music honors the memory of a fallen bandmate. "Where the Shadows Adorn" explores mortality and loss in every growl and crestfallen note. Founding guitarists Chris Morrison and Ben Sandman—who also recorded and mixed the record—fill the album with mournful melodies. As Morrison summarizes, “We wanted to write songs that were more melodic, heavier, darker, and memorable.” The album contains eight songs.

The title track is the first, and it sets a mournful mood. The harsh vocals are done with a weeping elegy, and the guitars build a steady atmosphere bereft of any cheer. Piano notes deepen the sadness, which is seeping into your bones with a chilling bite. “Rain” is one of the most unwelcomed of all weather events, because it usually brings a chill with it, and it means the sun is gone from the sky. Try to keep an upbeat mood while it is raining…it is difficult. The droning sound and doleful clean guitars in the song is matched through the song title…a hopeless outlook. The harmony in the lead guitars is deliciously depressing.

“Tears Like Wine” has a more powerful and gut-wrenching sound, fueled by massively large rhythm guitars and some leads that drop like meteors from the sky. “The Emptiness of Eyes” is an interesting song title, because your eyes can be one of the most dramatic things on your face. But when the person behind them is mourning, they can also be frigid and expressionless. This song has a good mixture of depressive elements with angry ones, and the two lock in battle for much of the song. “Of Solitude and Stone” moves through the garden of death like an icy breeze, making everything it touches shudder. Clean guitars carry much of these feelings, but you don’t notice how they affect you until they have passed, and you can’t get warm.

“The Crown” has a dreadful mixture of despondence with intense rage. A crown is supposed to be a symbol of power worn by a King or a Queen. But when the person wearing it is dead inside, the jewels cease to sparkle, and the gold becomes meaningless. He silently screams “take away my pain.” “Ghost in the Twilight” begins with drums in a marching cadence, either marking something important or something solemn, like death. I am going with the latter here. The beginning is weighted and heavy, both figuratively and literally, but it picks up with haste after the half-way mark, before returning to a slower charge at the end. “The Caliginous Voice” closes the album. It’s a longer song, the mark the end of the album, in more ways than one. Many of the more moving passages come from the clean vocals and ambient sound, although the harder elements are nearly as equal in their effects.

This album brought up a few questions in my mind as I listened to it…mainly, what is the purpose of life? What happens to us when we die? Why do our loved one have to die, and why does grief hurt so much? What about the innocent suffering here on earth? Wrestle with these and other questions at your own risk, because once you go down that rabbit hole, it is difficult to turn back, and the answers might leave you with more questions in the end…these questions have plagued both theists and atheists all their life.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Where the Shadows Adorn
2. Rain
3. Tears Like Wine
4. The Emptiness of Eyes
5. Of Solitude and Stone
6. The Crown
7. Ghost in the Twilight
8. The Caliginous Voice
Brandon Howe – Vocals, Keyboards
Chris Morrison – Guitar
Ben Sandman – Guitar
Corey Clark – Bass
Don Curtis – Drums 
Record Label: Wise Blood Records


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