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Mourner – Apogee of Nihility

Apogee of Nihility
by Cherie Wong at 10 September 2019, 5:54 AM

On June 30, 2019, the Russian band MOURNER released their debut album "Apogee of Nihility." MOURNER plays exactly the type of music you would expect a band with that name to play: melodic Death/Doom. The band members A.D. and Gor were (and Gor still is) in the Russian pagan black metal band RAGOR. Saw is an ex-member of the Russian pagan black metal band Анахоретъ. From those previous bands, the trio has kept melody but slowed the pace down.

On this album, you will find the death/doom stylistic conventions of melancholic slow riffs mixed with deep growling vocals and faster paced death metal. Though many of the songs are over five minutes, the varying pace change up the song structure and prevent long tracks from dragging. How this album stands out is the addition of, what sounds like, a violin and a keyboard. Though no such instruments are credited, I will call it violin and synth for the purposes of this review. Using a violin seems like the trendy thing to do nowadays, but MOURNER uses it well. It’s used as the main melody, to complement the other instruments, or to add dimension in the background of a song. The drumming is dynamic, with little flourishes added here and there for character. The vocalist is great, mainly sticking with low to mid range growls. Note that the lyrics are in Russian from what I can tell. The production on this record is very clean.

The Scorched Sun” is a great first track. It begins with a traditional slow and heavy death/doom riff. The mournful violin melody is a nice addition and repeats throughout the track. The violin solo on this track is short and pretty. Right after the violin solo, there is an interesting passage in which a spoken lamentation is interwoven with growling vocals. All of these components: the growling, violin, and guitar come to an emotional climax at the end. In “Do Not Get Through,” the violin takes a backseat and accents the guitar riff for some atmosphere. Again, the song doesn't stay at one tempo the entire song, but changes between a slow and quick pace.

Slaves of Fate” is a headbanger of a song with a low menacing riff. While the first half isn't as melodic as the other tracks, a synth used in the background of the slow riffs towards the middle adds a touch of melody. The fifth track “The Broken Life” is my favorite on this album. The synth notes played in the background create a dream-like atmosphere that contrasts well with the harsh vocals and the chugging riffs. The violin reappears to add melody and intensity. Like the first track, all of the components build up to an emotional finish. Overall, if you're a fan of the Death/Doom genre, listen to this record. This album is great when you’re happy and even better when you’re down.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The Scorched Sun
2. Do Not Get Through
3. Slaves of Fate
4. Apogee of Nihility
5. The Broken Life
6. Cobweb of Captivity
7. Epilogue
A.D. – Drums/Guitars/Samples
Saw – Guitars
Gor – Vocals/Bass
Record Label: Satanath Records


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