In Mourning Afterglow 01Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu left its mark. Not only was it unusually powerful and captivating for a mere short story, but it also burned some remarkable images into my mind. likewise, coming across In Mourning‘s The Weight of Oceans was a great surprise. I knew nothing of the band, but the album art stole my breath away and for that reason alone, no matter what it sounded like, I needed to posses The Weight of Oceans. I grabbed the album and hit play, within seconds captivating waves washed over me, I was sold. Four years on, The Weight of Oceans still ranks as one of my most loved albums. In fact, you know those lists you keep in the back of your mind for those 5/5 albums that you’d want with you as you’re stranded on an island? Well, The Weight of Oceans certainly tops that list for me. Yes, it’s considered a little long by some, and yes, others claim In Mourning are doing nothing more than trying to live up to the Opeth of bygone days. It all comes together though if you’re the patient sort, and you let the melodic waves carry you away with their ebb and flow. The Weight of Oceans prompted me to delve into In Mourning‘s back catalog, but the magic just wasn’t there. Along comes Afterglow and I’m brimming with hope that it’ll be a solid continuation of its predecessor.

Afterglow quickly makes it clear that In Mourning still delivers melodeath with the progressive nature of Opeth, Insomnium‘s atmosphere, and Swallow the Sun‘s solemnity. In addition, In Mourning have added some nods to the death doom of Ghost Brigade and of course there’s the very obvious link Tobias Nezell has to October Tide (A Thin Shell). “Fire and Ocean” successfully transitions from The Weight of Oceans into Afterglow. Slightly combative on opening, the track feels jarring and for this I blame Nezell’s vocals. I’m struck by how metalcore they’ve become, compared with his delivery in the past. Thankfully as you move deeper into Afterglow, Nezell’s delivery becomes more familiar. “The Grinning Mist” and “Ashen Crown” follow suit, much as you’d expect influence-wise. Both tracks pass inoffensively and without much impact. If you’re not concentrating you’ll miss the contrasts Nezell achieves with his striking clean delivery versus his near-Åkerfeldt-like growls.

“Below Rise to the Above” and “The Lighthouse Keeper” are the pinnacle of Afterglow. Both songs brush the eight-minute mark, and this is the perfect length for an In Mourning track. “Below Rise to the Above” begins with a sparkling intro that makes use of subtle shifts and the melody stays with you at length. An interesting mistimed beat (supplied by new drummer Daniel Liljekvist (ex-Katatonia)), enchanting cleans and stop-start riffing (bringing to mind Meshuggah‘s Obzen) become soothed by a timeless melody that drifts into the melodic motif I’d compare to Omnium Gatherum. Nezell’s vocals hit a high point, sounding closer to A Thin Shell. There are so many moving parts, “Below Rise to the Above” becomes perfect spacey disjointedness as it flows straight into “The Lighthouse Keeper.” A weird Nightsatan soundtrack-like feel kicks “The Lighthouse Keeper” off before the track winds down stepping through the discography of every band that In Mourning idolize. Is this unoriginal or just good use of existing artistry? I wish there had been more of this sweeping vastness on the remainder of the album. The back end of Afterglow is largely similar to what you heard in “The Grinning Mist” and “Ashen Crown.” “The Call to Orion” and “Afterglow” do have brief moments of value, the biggest being the hint of Ghost Brigade‘s Until Fear No Longer Defines Us that crops up in both tracks.

In Mourning Afterglow 02

Afterglow was recorded in two different locations, Nordin Music Studios handling the drums and Libra Studios the guitar, bass and vocals. Mixing and mastering duties were handled by Jonas Martinsson in Necrosavant Studio. In Mourning went with an organic feel and my understanding of this was to make Afterglow sound more alive and less studio manipulated. This has paid off. From the subtle rumble of the bass in “Afterglow” to Nezell’s stand-out cleans, scattered throughout the release, each aspect comes together well.

Many commented that at over an hour and nine tracks, The Weight of Oceans was just too long. This never plagued me. Afterglow is a slightly more concise offering which shows In Mourning tried to reign themselves in. After spending a fair amount of time reveling in Afterglow, I’m left feeling that had I not heard The Weight of Oceans, I would be happier with this album. Comparing apples for apples though, Afterglow falls short of it’s predecessor. There’s nothing about Afterglow that isn’t beautiful, jarring, chaotic or charming, that said, if you’re not concentrating, many of the songs just pass by in a blur. In Mourning are capable of so much more than that!


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Agonia Records
Websites: www.inmourning.net | facebook.com/inmourningband
Releases Worldwide: May 20th, 2016

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  • Fazy

    I have only recently picked up Shrouded Divine and found it quite pleasant, so reading that their freshest isn’t too shabby either makes me happy. More of In Mourning for all of us!

  • AndySynn

    I also still love “The Weight of Oceans”. And In Mourning are still one of the few bands making interesting, characterful Melodic Death Metal… even if this one’s not their very best.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Interesting how you say that it doesn’t measure up to The Weight of Oceans yet the end score is the same as what AMG gave that album. Another artifact of subjectivity.

    I was already going to check this album simply because I saw this gorgeous artwork on another blog. Your writing got me very interested in checking out their previous as well. I have some listening to do.

    • Yeah, it’s definitely subjectivity. For me Weight of Oceans was a 5/5 album and using that as my base for the score I had to rate this one accordingly. I know Weight of Oceans didn’t hit AMG and many others as hard as it hit myself.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        High praise, considering your only 5/5 rating (to my knowledge) on this website was Otta, an album I keep coming back to over and over, to this day.

        AMG himself gave a 5/5 to In Mourning’s Monolith and then 3/5 on TWoO. This time around you say TWoO would be a 5/5 and give this latest effort a 3/5. I am detecting an emerging pattern here. These guys are professional disappointers! ;)

        • You have a great memory, Otta is correct. It’s too early for such mathematical calculations :)

  • Iiro

    Haven’t formed an opinion on the album yet, but it’s interesting to note how many Finnish bands got referenced. Has Finland become the promised land of melo-death/sad-boy?

    I also agree on the greatness of The Weight of Oceans, maybe not my desert island record but excellent nevertheless.

  • Matus Dust

    I share your opinion about The Weight of Oceans, even though most people seem to prefer their earlier stuff. That album was also a soundtrack to something really special that happened in my life, so I don’t expect Afterglow to top that. However, I expected a bit more. “Below Rise to the Above” is a really good track, there is few more that stand out.. we will see, maybe it will grow on me more.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    My opinion is basically the direct opposite. Personally thought The Weight of Oceans was the band’s weakest effort, only standing out due to “Colossus”. This however, while definitely reigned in, is working wonders for me. Great review nonetheless, Madam!

  • nothingharsh

    Have the exact the same impressions about the last album Madam, the sweeping Lovecraftian soundscape was something really special that alleviated it to much higher levels, than the menial ratings it received here from our angry overlords.

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  • Diego Molero

    Finally, the waiting has come to and end!
    In Mourning is my favorite band in the world, I too love The Weight of Oceans and is a 5/5 too me as well as Monolith, Shrouded Divine is a 4.5/5. With that on paper I have to say that I’m dissapointed with Afterglow, it’s not a bad album, but like you said Madam, they are capable of much more. I did too found the vocals a little odd at the beginning.
    Overall this is a good album but was expecting more, but I think it’s a great adition to In Mourning’s excellent catalogue.
    Also, how many time have you espend with the album, Madam? At first it was also a 3.0 for me, but it has grown a little, now is a 3.5

    • I actually spent a little more time on it than I normally spend on review albums. Usually my turnaround is around a week or a little over. With Afterglow, I spent about two weeks listening to it almost exclusively.

      • Diego Molero

        Fair enough, then a 3.0 it is.

  • Bart the Repairman

    Third listen, and I’m struggling really hard to focus on what I’m hearing… While their previous album is a vortex of whirling earworms, I can’t find anything memorable here. It’s just passing me by without demanding any attention.
    I’m also somewhat unsatisfied with the production. Guitar tone on „Weight of Oceans” is juicy like a perfect steak, it almost make me salivate. Compared to that, „Afterglow” sounds hollow and weak…
    Probably my disappointment of the year, so far.

    • Diego Molero

      You should give it a little more of time, it didn’t struck me at first either, and is nowhere near The Weight of Oceans, but is still a good album.

    • Black Phone

      Totally agreed.

      I’m struggling through my first attempt with this album and it’s a nightmare just trying to get through the production. It’s HORRIBLE. Their last three albums were incredibly good both in terms of churning out some great songs and sounding well-mixed too.

      Afterglow gives me neither. It’s a muffled sound that even high-end IEMs can’t bring justice to. Trying to focus on the music does not help as it feels like In Mourning went off into the progressive deep end with this album. Of course they’ve always been a prog metal band, but they still have (I’m keeping this in the present in hopes future releases won’t suffer) the ability to turn out some great music.

      What we have instead is an album that reminds me a lot of Omnium Gatherum’s sophomore attempt along with Kadavrik’s all-out weirdness released last year: shove as many elements into a song as possible, use unorthodox mixing, and hope for the best.

      Another factor is how each song is so very long. Granted, a song with a long running time by itself is not necessarily an issue, but ‘long song creep’ is a something I sometimes see maturing bands being afflicted by.

      With that said, not all of Afterglow is a bust. There are bits and pieces of pretty much every song that are good–and even a few great moments, but it’s marred by horrific production and a songs that seem to have a lot of difficulties finding their purpose.

      This is the band that wrote ‘The Black Lodge’. They CAN do better.

      2.5 out of 5.

      • Black Phone

        It’s growing on me. Bumping my own score up to 3.5, but can’t go any higher b/c of the mixing.

  • Wilhelm

    I have no previous experience with the band but to me this sounds close to early-mid 2000’s Katatonia, with more melo-death (Insomnium) thrown in, not bad. It’s also nice to hear Daniel’s drumming again.

  • Ben Harris

    Coming into this review, I’m surprised that “The Weight of Oceans” is the release that everybody holds as their best. I always just assumed everybody loved “Monolith” as much as I did. Great review, definitely made me look at it a bit differently.

    • For me, “Monolith” is still THE In Mourning record to beat. I’m not sure about this because honestly I’ve lost track (and more importantly I don’t want Madam X to crucify me), but wasn’t “The Weight of Oceans” where the band went all hardcore for a few fleeting moments?

      • Diego Molero

        I get kinda confused sometimes when trying to indentify the sub-genres and influences in a song, but I don’t feel that The Weight of Oceans is “hardcore”, and if it is, then what the hell, is great.

        • Sorry, I just meant in the vocals.

      • It’s a cruel, cruel world when you can’t even get in a little crucifixion before lunch! :)

        Might have been pretty small, it escaped me completely. I noticed that more on Afterglow – maybe because the instrumentation held my attention less than on Weight of Oceans.

  • Omsie

    Yeah to me, this sentence sums it up: “I’m left feeling that had I not heard The Weight of Oceans, I would be happier with this album.”

    sadface :(

  • DrumPunisher

    I think it’s a bit unfair to give the final score based on a comparison with one’s own personal favorite from the same band, since it might give people the wrong impression. This album definitely requires a few spins for the songs to materialize, just as hinted in the review. I too hold Weight of Oceans in high regard and would give that album 4,5/5 and this one 4/5 (so far). In Mourning is not the most original of bands, and comparing them to Opeth is a bit silly since Opeth is (was) much more progressive, while In Mourning doesn’t aim to be. But what they do, they do well, and there’s something about them that make them stand out in the genre (melodic death).

    As a counter weight, I recommend reading a few other Afterglow reviews, see Heavy blog is heavy, Metal storm and Man of much metal for example.

    • tomasjacobi

      Most of the other metal blogs out there tend to hand out way too many high ratings. I like that on this blog a 3.0 is a good rating.
      And I definitely think that an album should be judged in relation to the other albums by the same band.

      • DrumPunisher

        What I meant was “I’ll knock a point off for being disappointed”. I get that feeling reading the review, and there are several comments like “wish I’ve never heard TWoO, then I’d liked this more”. I’m all for a scoreless review system, like parts of AMG uses (perhaps only The AMG, can’t remember). When handing out scores I think many readers (at least those not exclusive to AMG) will interpret 3/5 as a “meh”, wrong as that may be.

        • tomasjacobi

          Then those people should interpret better :-)
          What you’re basically saying is that AMG should inflate their scores like everyone else. I say no.
          No, I say!

          • DrumPunisher

            Not at all. Re-reading the review, I think what bothered me was 3/5 compared to 5/5 to TWoO. I too didn’t find Afterglow as memorable at first, but it has really grown on me, and I encourage everyone TWoO fan to give it some time and crank it up. But that’s just like, my opinion man.

  • robpal

    Kind of funny because I find “The Weight Of Oceans” is their weakest effort (still a very good album). I like the new one more, “The Call To Orion” is my favorite song, somehow reminding me of the great last In Vain record.

    This one is at least 3,5 to me, maybe will climb to 4 even.

  • Arjan Zwamborn

    Excellent review Madam! I can totally recognize most of the points you’re making, and if I agree that if you hold the Weight of the Oceans as the golden standard, this album falls a little short.

    However, for me on a personal level, this albums delivers. That’s because I fell in love with In Mourning with The Shrouded Divine and have been loving every iteration of their sound thus far with every new album. So I agree with Afterglow being a lesser record than the Weight of Oceans; however, I don’t necessarily compare it actively with the Weight.., which is why I don’t care that much and I’m just super stoked I have a little less than an hour of new In Mourning material to immerse myself in :)

  • I’m not liking this much at all. I would probably have gone lower with the score. I find the production difficult and I think the songwriting has dropped off. But I really disliked The Weight of Oceans as well. For me The Shrouded Divine and Monolith are the albums that made these guys something to love and I don’t really hear the passion or the writing in the last two records. :(

    Glad you liked it, though! I think it’s funny how the two of us can like the same bands but like such different things from them.

    But let’s all take a moment to appreciate this cover art. Nom nom nom. It’s so good.

    • Phantom667

      Weird huh? Same for me aswell. I love The Shrouded Divine and still listen to that album every once in a while. I really dislike every single one of the other releases of this band and I cant really express why. Shrouded Divine had some fine catchy riffs…this album on the other hand is one of those I listened to once and probably will never again.

  • Gaia

    First place to see similar complaints about the production sound as I have. It isn’t as loud as Monolith, but lacks the clarity of Weight of Oceans. It’s like listening to Deliverance. Still, the new elements push forward and this feels like a transitional record.

  • Grumpyrocker

    I am very disappointed in this record – mostly because of the production. To me it sounds like I have a blanket over the speakers. The mix is horrible. Compared to the pristine production of Weight of Oceans it’s noticeable.

  • De2013

    Sounds cool. Definitely has an Omnium Gatherum vibe to it.

  • Javier Truyol

    I really liked “The Weight of Oceans” but this just doesn’t do it for me

  • David Nelson

    While it is an ok album, it’s my least favorite of theirs. Disappointing after waiting patiently for 4 years. Nothing catchy or memorable so far. Hopefully a few more listens might change my opinion.

  • M. Melikh

    First, I want to compliment Madam X’s description of the album. It’s not always that I come with reviews as good. And I agree with most of it.
    As many here (review and comment section), the album that struck me most was Weight of the Ocean, because of all the emotions driven. No need to detail that. Also, Shrouded Devine had my most favorite song: The Black Lodge. The chorus has such an epic and heroic melody that drives the adrenaline like steroids!
    Although, while WotO was instantly pleasing, Afterglow did indeed take time. I was first disappointed, but that feeling quickly was replaced by adoration. In the sake of comparison, as Enslaved’s AEO is to RIITIIR, while WotO is a swift, dynamic and a powerful album, it instantly manifests what it is capable of. Afterglow is rather harder to get, it’s mysterious, composed. And that mystery drives awe. Yes, the album reveals daunting and indomitable power. This is explained by the experience built by the members. Everything is spot on! The instruments’ complexity needs focus but then reveals strong teamwork. Both guitars riffs are so good and diverse! Also, got to congratulate the clean (which I never was fond of in previous releases) and harsh vocals too (different but also composed).
    In Mourning is indeed capable of much more, but Afterglow is perfect in it’s own way. I usually always of 2 or 3 favorite songs in each album that I always get to (Convergence or Vow to Conquer the Ocean in WotO). Here, there isn’t any, because I can never choose which one to listen to. So I end up listening to the whole album. Everytime.