In Mourning - Afterglow
Agonia Records
Progressive Melodic Death Metal
7 songs (56' 1")
Release year: 2016
In Mourning, Agonia Records
Reviewed by Andy

Though The Weight of Oceans, released a few years ago, was a worthy entrant into the melodeath scene, I find myself even more impressed by In Mourning's new LP, Afterglow. The doomy atmosphere, mixed with similar progginess to Opeth's early work, isn't pioneering -- Opeth had it before they jettisoned most of the visible metal traits in their sound -- but it's terrific in its execution.

Afterglow is the logical successor to The Weight of Oceans, even keeping the marine themes going (and having just returned from a vacation on the Oregon coast this very day, I can assure readers in other climes that the Northern oceans can certainly be cold, dark, and hostile enough to inspire endless metal songs). Despite the downtuned melancholy visible here, there is still a sensation of pulsing energy under the guitar riffs, the rhythm leads chugging with a hard solidity that is topped by a lead guitar wailing lonely melodies on top. True to their Opeth influence, vocalist Tobias Netzell switches to breathy clean vocals partway through The Grinning Mist, right down to the depressive-prog guitar leads following the vocals. But it would be a mistake to dismiss this bunch as strict followers of any one band -- the NWOBHM-style solo that follows the mystical noodling easily reassures listeners that this is not going to turn pretentious anytime soon, even if songs like Ashen Crown get a substantial amount of progressive complexity to them.

Unlike some of my colleagues, I always found previous forays into reflective quiet on the previous album, such as Celestial Tear, to be somewhat of a poor fit with the majesty of the music elsewhere on the album. Not so here, though. Sure, there are still some clean-singing areas, it's not all melodeath, but the softer portions are short, sweet, and sandwiched in between chunky bites of melodic death. Below Rise to the Above's soloing, or the choruses on The Call to Orion, provide the listener not only some beautiful lead melodies, but also some sharp little pinch harmonics buried down in the mix during the offbeat rhythms used. And on the eponymous finale, where the doom element gets darker and even more abstract than earlier, with Netzell's drawn-out snarls matched up with eerie, high-pitched wails from what sounded like female vocals to me, but might be just a very human-sounding synth.

The ghostly vibe of the final track wraps up an album that contains everything that was good about In Mourning before, but with less of a direct rock influence. Afterglow nicely combines the introspection they were always capable of with some headbanging aggression that prog metal and melodeath fans alike are likely to love.

Killing Songs :
Below Rise to the Above, The Call to Orion, Afterglow
Andy quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by In Mourning that we have reviewed:
In Mourning - The Weight Of Oceans reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
In Mourning - Monolith reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
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