Progressive, melodic death metallers In Mourning have returned with yet another record to add to their already thunderous discography, but this time that comes with an extra coat of death metal. Garden Of Storms just feels more frantic and unhinged than the band’s past efforts, and obviously, there must be an awful lot of anger placed behind this record, which listeners will notice almost immediately.
Added to that, there’s an extra level of depression. In fact, I found this disc to be the most depressing effort they’ve released since Monolith. While the prog moments are still here, the record feels almost like an early Swallow The Sun effort, and I’m not complaining about that one bit. It’s also nice to see that memorable, rock-influenced guitar solos still have a place on the disc, though they aren’t quite as memorable or brackish as the vocal onslaughts readily apparent from the first listen.
That being said, there’s also the unexpected, dark rock flavor of “Yields Of Sand” which erupts into the punching ferocity of the death metal that Opeth left, in the process nearly replacing them with cuts like this and others. I personally considered In Mourning the natural successor to classic Opeth, albeit with an admittedly more morose edge. If for some odd reason you were disappointed with yet another progressive metal output from Opeth, then at least you’ll have Garden Of Storms to fall back on.
The punishing “Hierophant” coupled with the slightly more comforting “Magenta Ritual” show that there are plenty of sides to the band at this stage in the game, and they’re more than happy to show them all off. “Huntress Moon” comes off pummeling but doesn’t roll in one ear and out the other, as the record’s most proficient solo soon emerges from it. What’s more, the tempo is halved just enough to allow for such a tasty treat, which I would surmise is utilized in order to give yourself a break from thrashing about the place as you jam to this record while you’re doing some cleaning.
“Tribunal Of Suns” wedges an air of contemplation just before barraging the listener with a performance that will surely give your grandmother a heart attack. These gentlemen are exceptionally proficient at sounding like a horde of demons, and the vocal layering that is done here is enough to make me think that the entirety of hell in rebellion has been captured on this disc.
This heart-stopping finale nearly beats you to death with harsh vocal acrobatics, adding death metal elements in a way that causes the earth to tremble. Finally, we have “The Lost Outpost” which makes me think an awful lot of Doom for some reason, and if I’m not mistaken, there is a map called “The Lost Outpost.”
I do not believe the track is about Doom, however, as it seems to reference the creature that arose from the waves during “Colossus,” if you’re keeping up with the mythology. I will say that if there’s ever a giant creature that arises from the ocean and is looking for music to check out, I will certainly point it towards In Mourning’s discography. At least the recent couple of albums, as their early efforts weren’t quite so aquatic.
At the end of the day, In Mourning are doing what they do best, and that’s to deliver a record that not only captures the most forlorn atmospheres known to man, but couples them with an exceptional amount of class. The only thing that I feel is different this time around is the fact that there are death metal sections on the piece that will come across like a tentacle rising out of the ocean to strangle your worthless carcass in preparation to be devoured by the hideous, Lovecraftian entity that lies just below the waves.
Garden Of Storms certainly feels properly named, as I haven’t heard the band this furious in years. As a matter of fact, I don’t recall them ever being quite so terrifying. Again, if you’re still in desperate need for a replacement to fill Opeth’s departure from progressive death metal, then I would consider In Mourning worthy of that spot. If you’re not familiar with the band at all prior to this album, then that’s even better, as you’ll discover equally brilliant material on the quality of progressive death metal’s most accomplished releases. In Mourning have never delivered a sub-par album, and Garden Of Storms is a testament to that.