Mourning Beloveth - A Murderous Circus
Disc 1: 5 songs (75'02") Disc 2: 6 songs (56'12")
Release year: 2005
Mourning Beloveth, Grau
Reviewed by Alex

Some things should never change. The sun should always rise in the East and European doomdeath metal has to be slow, painful, depressing and look back in reverence on the early My Dying Bride and Anathema. Irish Mourning Beloveth have certainly attended that school of thought and have produced two albums Anathema and Paradise Lost should check out for long missing inspiration. I haven’t heard Dust, but A Sullen Sulcus left a mark and kept me on the lookout for the next set of long sorrowful dirges. Without a doubt, A Murderous Circus is one doom album the genre fans don’t want to miss in 2005.

As much as things have stayed the same for Mourning Beloveth they have changed as well, albeit subtly so. Nobody will confuse five long epic doom anthems on A Murderous Circus with commercially accessible music. These songs are exercise in self-purging, blowing one’s soul from within, using heavy guitar riffs and torturous vocals as the main instrument. Mourning Beloveth music has always been riff oriented, but it has achieved the art form on A Murderous Circus. It often feels that song are doom collages, the band not caring much about transitions from one part to another. At times it is seamless, when clean standoffish vocals are replaced with the growls on Nothing (The March of Death), but more often than not the part driven by one riff ends only for another part to start abruptly. Mourning Beloveth guitarists Brian and Frank have perfected the feel of their guitars slowly swirling in one mesmerizing gloomy waltz. Always heavy, the guitars are very clean, never fuzzy, and when the notes are dropped they cut like humongous knifes ripping raw chunks of flesh. Sometimes tuned to a perfect harmony (the end of The Crashing Wave), these riffs carry melodies, rarely reverting to an outright solo. But when they do, the result is jaw dropping, the solos at the end of The Apocalypse Machine and … Yet Everything make one close his/her eyes completely submitting to the flow.

Where Mourning Beloveth have progressed is the addition of acoustic elements, spoken words and even cleanly sung parts. A Murderous Circus isn’t as cut’n’dry as A Sullen Sulcus was. Even Darren’s growls seem to be a little higher and not so guttural, making them extremely legible. Given the length of Mourning Beloveth songs the breaks add to compositions, but while in Elemental Nausea and Nothing (The March of Death) they seem a little too long, … Yet Everything gets perfect grades. The whole song seems like a Gaussian curve turned upside down. It starts with almost tribal drumming, steady chugs and solo melody, goes through a quick acoustic nadir moment only to end with another chugging riff and a solo. I have to give Elemental Nausea a ton of credit for finding its groove and an awesome gypsy melody outro.

As Mourning Beloveth changed recording studios, the latest album seems a lot cleaner, yet it doesn’t lack in heaviness and deepest emotions. It did not quite work for me to listen to the album in chunks, where I would catch the end of one song and the beginning of another one while driving. The album is much better experienced as a whole. In fact, I own a limited edition double CD digipack with two more studio songs Disintegrate and Part 1 as well as a live performance from the DSR (Doom Shall Rise?) tour. Part 1 brings a whole new aspect to Mourning Beloveth where Tim “explodes” in a rare double bass driven ending. The live performance is actually very close to the studio, with songs slightly edited.

The artwork on the album fits the mood like a glove. Black and white photographs portraying decay in various shades of grey represent hopelessness and melancholy. Above it all, the photo of a young girl with angelic feathers behind her on the front is simply breathtaking.

In the year where my power metal friends complain about the genre going stale I can see that doom genre just puts out one great album after another. Slumber, Swallow the Sun and now Mourning Beloveth keep the flame of the European doomdeath burning high. And to those who will say this stuff is slow and boring, that you can have a beer between two snare hits, I say this: this is Death marching, do you want it to come fast?

Killing Songs :
The Apocalypse Machine, ... Yet Everything
Alex quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Mourning Beloveth that we have reviewed:
Mourning Beloveth - A Disease for the Ages reviewed by Alex and quoted 86 / 100
Mourning Beloveth - The Sullen Sulcus reviewed by Alex and quoted 78 / 100
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