In Mourning are a death metal band hailing from Sweden; their activity basically spans across the past two decades, with five demos and just as many full-length albums to show for. Their latest one, Garden of Storms, is a very well-executed blend of progressive rock/metal and melodic death metal. It is, in fact, so well put together that it blows some of their past releases out of the water.
Garden of Storms finds a nice balance between the crushing weight of death metal, the compositional intricacies of progressive-styled approaches, and the melodic, easily digestible edge of rock music. Within said balance we see that not only are the transitions they crafted seamless, but they also feel natural and have an organic flow. Moreover, there is an epic feeling embedded tactfully into the mix, lending some additional grandeur to the tunes.
Garden of Storms is an engaging record, so much so that only about half a dozen re-listens in was it that I didn’t immediately feel the need to play it again, because it felt too short. It isn’t even a particularly short album; it clocks in at roughly fifty minutes, so it is quite generous with the volume of aural displays it presents. Variety from a stylistic and compositional standpoint does play a big role in this aspect, but much more than that I feel like the emotive dynamic between the shifts in style and the way they play off each other really cements and amplifies the album’s replay value.
I couldn’t say I liked any particular song more than the others – they are all very consistent, and this trait seems to stay intact throughout. While each track has its own identity, they all take on a slightly different meaning when viewing the record as a whole after a couple of listens. However, I do think that there are some truly outstanding high points scattered across the album that would be worth noting. Take that oh so tasty guitar progression that binds the riffs of the first verse in “Black Storm”, for example; it really took me by surprise, as I mainly expected more of the same riffing.
After the second part of cleanly sung bits, as we near the end of “Yields of Sand”, there is a truly massive atmosphere that is simply shiver-inducing to say the least. The guitar solo in “Hierophant” may indeed be small, but it packs a similar punch in terms of atmosphere and size. “The Lost Outpost” holds easily one of the grandest moments I’ve heard in metal all year. Closing in on the the seven minute mark, there’s a bit that simply shatters any words that even so much as attempt to hold it. This extends with elegance to the song’s ending, closing the album adroitly.
The metal parts are properly heavy, groovy, and pounding; the rock parts are sweet, melodic, and soothing; the progressive webs cleverly interwoven everywhere spice things up with vivid colors and deep shades. All this suggests that Garden of Storms might just be In Mourning‘s best album to date – it is definitely one of the best metal albums to have come out this year. It boasts everything you could want from such a record: it is cohesive and consistent, and has a scintillating contrast carved into its every moment, not to mention the engaging songwriting and great overall performance. Don’t sleep on this!