Swedish melodic death metal act In Mourning has always had a progressive element to both their music and their attitude to writing – for example, debut album Shrouded Divine (2008) saw track “The Black Lodge” referenced on sophomore release Monolith (2010) in “Past October Skies (The Black Lodge Revisited).” The three albums following that are presented as a trilogy (The Weight Of Oceans, 2012, Afterglow, 2016), of which the soon-to-be-released Garden Of Storms forms the conclusion. The video and track for first single “Black Storm” was superb (read our review); can the remainder of the album stack up to that extremely promising start?
Garden Of Storms commences with the aforementioned “Black Storm,” leading into the next-released track, “Yields Of Sand,” where some of the riffing and chord progressions will feel very familiar to long-term fans of In Mourning. While “Black Storm” was excellent, there’s a transition from clean to harsh vocals halfway through “Yields Of Sand” which brings a genuine hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck-standing-up moment for the listener, making it even stronger still. With both tracks ere (and proven throughout the length of Garden Of Storms), this feels like an album which can win over fans of melodeath’s surrounding subgenres; fans of death metal find musicianship and heaviness aplenty, whilst the clean passages conjure images of Swallow the Sun-esque doom and The Man-Eating Tree’s more melodic metal. Truly, it could mark an expansion for the genre and act as a gateway album, much as Opeth’s early work did for many.
Check out the lyric video for “Yields Of Sand” yourself for one of the album’s standout moments:
Recorded in part at Black Lounge in Sweden (helping bring some of the Katatonia influences in their sound to life), and mixed and mastered by Jonas Kjellgren, a familiar face to the band having handled these duties on their earlier albums, the production on Garden of Storms is flawless to the point of being unnoticeable; the music comes through organically and in all its splendour without any distractions in this area. It’s also worth noting that new drummer Joakim Strandberg Nilsson hits all the standard metal drumming elements you’d expect, but also brings additional flourishes as his sticks dance across cymbals and toms, pushing the progressive agenda and elevating In Mourning further against some of their peers – it’s always pleasing to see a group take positive steps in these areas.
Progressing through Garden Of Storms, what’s striking about the music is how it feels both familiar as someone who knows the band’s previous work, but with fresh elements too – it’s certainly a step forward rather than merely treading water. There’s an underlying feeling whilst listening as a previous (insignificant) melodeath musician that this is the music I would have wanted to write; a further testament to the album’s quality. 2018 saw some superb melodeath releases; Omnium Gatherum’s The Burning Cold, Wolfheart’s Constellation Of The Black Light, and Mors Subita’s Into The Pitch Black, and with Garden Of Storms, In Mourning deservedly take a seat alongside these outstanding albums and back 2019 as a promising year for the genre (with a certain other melodeath big-hitter [Insomnium] releasing their new album on the same day).
“Black Storm” kicks Garden Of Storms off in a big way; check it out below:
As Garden Of Storms draws to a conclusion with “The Lost Outpost,” there’s both a sense of being seriously impressed with what has just been witnessed, as well as a yearning for more – the only gripe with the album is that I would sooner have had another 15 minutes of music of this standard despite the fact no track drops below 6 minutes in length – it’s an allowable greed when you’re presented with something as exceptional as this. Garden Of Storms (pre-order here) is In Mourning’s finest album to date, even with the strength of their back-catalogue, and is top-tier melodeath which should boost their profile to the level they deserve as one of the genre’s main players.
Garden Of Storms Track Listing:
01. Black Storm
02. Yields Of Sand
04. Magenta Ritual
05. Huntress Moon
06. Tribunal Of Suns
07. The Lost Outpost
Run Time: 52:16
Release Date: October 4, 2019
Record Label: Agonia Records