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Mourning Mist – Amen

Mourning Mist
Amen
by Mark Machlay at 09 February 2021, 7:01 AM

 Italian avant-garde/doom metal band MOURNING MIST released their sophomore album “Amen” back in November of 2020, taking a more traditional doom metal route than their debut. The band was started in 2013 by drummer and vocalist Mid. and violinist Ecnerual. A year later Kvasir would join on bass, guitar and vocals as well, exploring different avenues of black metal between the three of them. They would release their self-titled debut album in 2015. It featured an eclectic mix of genres but could be described as simply as blackened doom metal, heavier on the black metal. Yet, they could never be pigeon-holed into a genre due to the distinct presence of the violin instrument present on all tracks. It helped to create an identity and signature for the band, despite the rather disjointed and uneven blending of genres on their debut. Five years would pass before the band would re-emerge for their sophomore record but they seemed to have found a clarity of vision and a better understanding of how their influences fit together.

MOURNING MIST’s 2nd full-length album releases during a time of a much economic and global uncertainty and “Amen” brings back a more traditional doom metal sound that is welcome and recognizable. Unlike their debut, the band took a very calculated approach to recording their follow-up. As Kvasir puts it, “we confined ourselves for some days in a country house in the heart of Italy, just woody desolate hills around, quite a sparsely inhabited area, and let the music run freely during our rehearsals without any imposed limit, and that’s what we’ve got. We felt like painting the landscape around us into tape.” The album continues the “no frills” approach that is characteristic of black metal. It is not meant to be badly recorded with intention but the band rejects the “ultra-modern plastic 2020 studio sound” as Kvasir puts it. They have no intentions to be the biggest doom metal band of the world nor have ambitious to sign to a major label. They simply want to create music without boundaries and enjoy doing it.

With their second time around, I have to agree with the band, MOURNING MIST have integrated their blackened metal roots, softened the edge a bit while still keeping the “garage” production, and gone further down the doom metal path much to my delight on “Amen”. Taking a playbook from MY DYING BRIDE, blackening the sound a bit,adding violins and amping up the creep and crawling factor to send tingles down your spine. It sets you on an uneasy, eerie feeling, quite gothic in nature. There are tons of BLACK SABBATH influences in the riffing starting right from opening track “Ancient Ruins” beginning with a riff sounding very similar to SABBATH’s own “Electric Funeral” but then using rather GHOST-like vocal effects on “Isle of Loss” to give depth and aid in the gothic oeuvre. But the blackened vocal effects are peppered in as well as near the end of “Blindness” the listener is treated to an ever intensifying darkness engulfing them. Closer “Amen” ends the album with blistering violin runs and a freight-train of thrashy guitar licks underneath but ends with a clean, yet ominous and somber guitar and bass postlude. For me, it was too much of a similar vibe throughout the tracks and not enough variety to keep me interested. I felt the production was actually pretty good considering the music style but adding more give and take between the violin – what honestly made the band so unique – and the guitar would have enhanced this to keep my interest piqued.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Ancient Ruins
2. Isle of Loss
3. Blindness
4. True Values
5. Betrayal
6. Amen (Instrumental)
Lineup:
Mid. – Drums & Vocals
Ecnerual – Violin
Kvasir – Guitar, Bass & Vocals
Record Label: Bloodrock Records
     


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