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The Sombre – Monuments of Grief

The Sombre
Monuments of Grief
by Ricardo Casagrande at 23 September 2022, 12:53 PM

THE SOMBRE is the work of your classic “flying-under-the-radar” musician. Just to give you an example, if I were to list the projects Maurice has been involved in and material he himself has put out, it would be double the size of this introduction. GNAW THEIR TONGUES, CLOAK OF ALTERING are not even the tip of the iceberg on his voyage through the seas of metal. One thing that is worth mentioning is the fact that on most of his projects, he is involved in every form by playing all instruments and sings. THE SOMBRE project released its debut album in 2019 titled Into the Beckoning Wilderness and followed it up in 2020 with Shapeless Misery. A split album was then released in 2021 called From Ancient Slumber/The Horrid Silence Thus Began and now we have his newest album, Monuments of Grief.

The album opens with a slow and melodic track called “From the Depths of Misery”. The deep vocals are centre stage until the drums and bass amp up and come in to support. The guitar in this song reminds me of a classic love song gone tainted and black, but in a beautiful way, as Maurice embodies misery into the music and the vocals. The album as a whole is a structure of darkness and sombre tones with works of light that find its way through it in an uplifting way. You can get a feeling with the next track “Alone in My Desolation” and the same for the rest of the songs, a personal release. The music weighs on you and with the melody that comes into play, you can feel the atmosphere lighten. “The Morning Gloom” follows this slow and hazy format to the album with what could easily be the making of a KATATONIA song. The tempo does increase within the tracks but not with a blast worthy effect, more of a slow and steady wins the race.

There is not much variation with the opening to the songs on the album as they usually come into existence with a low tone guitar chord accompanied with mellow drums. Mellow would be a key to describe this album if summed up with just one word. It might be this factor that blends the tracks together where it becomes hard to differentiate them individually. “When Death Comes I Will Be Beside You” and “Paraside Regained” are the most active instrumental tracks on the album. The guitar towards the end of the second last track and into the final one is crunchy and stands well with the pounding drums creating a restless heaviness. The last track is the banger of the album and a really well written song. The low tone of the guitars, backed by the double bass kick and a strong rumbling bass line layers the song and allows the deep vocals to come across with force. The album itself is strong but it seems like the heaviest was definitely saved for the last.

This is a well composed album, and I would like to hear Maurice backed in an orchestral setting. I think the depth to the music could really take it to another level. If there is something that I find holds the album back it is the similarity with the melody of the guitar, it might keep the listener from attaching themselves to each song. When you listen to this music, it seems like he poured himself into these songs and I would recommend metalheads give it a listen. A veteran musician that you can tell knows how to compose a song.

Songwriting:8
Musicianship:7
Memorability:6
Production:7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. From the Depths of Misery
2. Alone in My Desolation
3. The Mourning Gloom
4. Monuments of Grief
5. When Death Comes I Will Be Beside You
6. Paraside Regained
Lineup:
Maurice De Jong – All Instruments
Record Label: Chaos Records
     


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