Before listening to In Mourning, I had heard really good things about them. Comparisons to Insomnium, Opeth, and Katatonia made me set up some high expectations. Progressive Melodic Death Metal should be something right up my alley. Well, sadly, In Mourning’s Monolith doesn’t stand as tall as it wants to.

I can see where the comparisons lie: There’s definitely a proggy feel throughout the album’s eight tracks, but nothing too terribly adventurous. They contain the melodic subtleties of Insomnium and Opeth’s heavier and older tracks. The same feeling of melancholy is definitely present, as if the band’s name wasn’t a foreshadowing of things to come. This is an album I’d save for a rainy day.

The average song on Monolith is 6 minutes or so and features some melodic death metal vocals with big power chords and some chugging riffs. Every now and then, there’s a overtly melodic guitar line that takes the forefront of the music. As I said before, a lot of the melody is simple and subtle, so there’s not much in the way of hooks. This is often broken up with more softer and more melodic passages that may or may not contain clean vocals. In Mourning can turn their song into a living atmosphere, and do succeed at times.

Sometimes guitarist/vocalist Tobias Netzell‘s  breaks up his deep Mikael Åkerfeldt sounding growls and screams, allowing some vocal tone bleeding through, as in “For You To Know” and “A Shade of Plague”. I point this out because that type of scream sounds very raw and emotional and just seems satisfying. It doesn’t seem to happen enough. His singing is a little lackluster, but that isn’t where most of the meat is in any given track of the album anyway.

If I had to pick the album’s highlights, it would be the opener “For You To Know”, which has a memorable chorus, and the 13 minute closer “The Final Solution (Entering The Black Lodge)“. The rest of the songs tend to run together a bit with the same sound to each and every song, which is something any self proclaimed progressive band should probably avoid.

Another thing that In Mourning has in common with the aforementioned bands, especially Opeth, is that they fall victim to being, well, kinda boring. At the end of the album, I found myself to be rather apathetic to anything, which could be a mixture of the melancholic sound and a certain level of boredom. There’s not much I could walk away with from Monolith, which is a shame because it’s not that the music is bad or anything. It just doesn’t stand out very much and it’s not entirely captivating.

However, if you can find that you care enough to give it another listen, it does get better on repeat. Maybe if I listen to it more, it’ll get even better, but I just can’t find the ability to care all that much. You need to be in the right mood for this listen.

In Mourning – Monolith gets…

3/5

– JR

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