In Mourning // The Weight of Oceans
Rating: 3.0/5.0 — A Tale of Two Bands
Label: Spinefarm
Release Dates: EU: 2012.04.18 | US: 05.01.2012 [Import]

In Mourning - The Weight of OceansIn Mourning has been hailed by many as the heir to Opeth‘s throne in the wake of the latter band’s moving away from metal. 2008’s Shrouded Divine re-opened the melodeath genre for a lot of people—this Angry Metal Guy included—who felt like it had really just stagnated. That record, and the band’s previous demos, had a bit of a doomy feel and a thickness to it. But there were also some almost blasty, black metal vibes that came through and while the drums are a bit flat at times and the production isn’t perfect, the album has an undeniable charm. Monolith, the band’s follow up, definitely was a big disappointment for me. After lauding it on a release high, it just fell of the map as 2010 wore on. There are fans of the blog who are still mad at me that Monolith wasn’t 2010’s Record o’ the Year—but for some reason the record left me cold after the initial release. So here I am, reviewing the newest record… this can only end in tears.

From its slow build on opening track “Colossus,” The Weight of Oceans starts into a lilting, mid-paced forward lurch that spans an hour. Varying between chunky  metal with a bit of a core-y feel to it and Swallow the Sun doomy melodic parts, there is almost a rhythmic nature to this album like the tide coming in. This softer and more swaying or lilting kind of material still speaks to me on some level. Tracks like “From a Tidal Sleep” and closing track “Voyage of a Wavering Mind” surge forward slowly, and subtly and creep in under your skin.

In Mourning 2012The other side of In Mourning is the heavier, more aggressive side that shows up on tracks like “Convergence” which, while melodic, makes good use of drummer Christian Netzell’s feet. While the track regresses back to the sludgy mean eventually, it still shows off some of the more aggressive aspects of the band. The same is true “Isle of Solace,” which actually features a blast beat—something that was much more present on Shrouded Divine and made me keep coming back to that album. However, this kind of intensity tends to be offset by the “regressing to the sludgy mean,” I mentioned earlier.

As a record, The Weight of Oceans suffers from two major weaknesses. The first is that it is too long and the second is that the really good material is on the back end of the album. “Convergence” is intense, while “Isle of Solace” ups that intensity after “Sirens,” the piano interlude. “The Drowning Sun,” has an Opeth vibe to it that rules, with an amazing 6/8 lilt that waltzes up and gets your head nodding—just like it would if you were listening to Blackwater Park—and “Voyage of a Wavering Mind” ties the doomy, chunky bow onto the last 30 minutes of the album. The problem, is that as the listener you have to wade through 30 minutes of less than inspiring material to get there.

So now I stand on the precipice of “panning” (as 3/5 will have their fans whining for justice) The Weight of Oceans and I find myself in a bit of a conundrum. In Mourning is a band that I want to like. Shrouded Divine is a classic record, but their post-Shrouded Divine material just leaves me uninspired. Why? Why does the band landing in Insomnium or Omnium Gatherum or Swallow the Sun territory leave me so cold? What I come back to is that this material lacks intensity and extremity. While The Weight of Oceans has some great melodic structures, beautiful textures and a nice prog-rocky kind of lilt to it, the raw intensity that was coupled with Swedish melancholy seems to have been stripped away with better production and time. And while it shows up on the back end of the album, it’s not on display from the beginning and that means that I feel kinda underwhelmed.

Props where they’re due, though: this album cover is amazing and if you’re a fan of any of the bands I mentioned earlier, you should definitely give them a listen. Maybe this’ll click for me: it took me about 10 tries before Ghost Reveries did, and well.

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  • Alexander Bryson

    Well, I liked it – how dare your opinions not match my own.

  • I agree the cover is amazing but to be honest the album never hit me like do the old one  ‘ Monolith’
    Still better to hear …

  • Beau Kemp

    I’m really liking it.  While I agree with the review, the more I listen the higher I rate the album. I’d say it will be a solid 4/5 for me, and encroach on my top 10 territory. 

  • groverXIII

    I’m in agreement with you. These guys aren’t bad, really… they just lack that staying power that I’m looking for.

  • If you’re a fan of the bands mentioned in this review you will love this album. Actually, In Mourning are better than all of those bands. And this album is AMAZING.  If you find this type of Metal boring and tedious then don’t even bother with In Mourning. But if you enjoy Metal that evokes emotion and is soulful then you will love In Mourning and this great record they’ve produced.

    • No way these guys are better than Insomnium or Swallow the Sun. That’s silly talk.

      • Maybe if In Mourning puts out more albums of the level of the 3 albums they recorded so far (yeah, I’m quite a fan of this album, though I agree that The Shrouded Divine was better), but at this moment both Swallow the Sun and Insomnium are a lot further in their musical career and proved they can remain relevant in their genre after releasing quite some albums in a relatively short period of time.

        Very interesting though that AMG likes the second part of this album better than the first, in my experience the first 5 songs stand out above the last 4 (especially the last one, which they might as well left out). Especially “From a Tidal Sleep” is awesome.

  • Well you gave it a better score than I was expecting you to, so that’s good. The main point I want to make is this……If you are not a fan of a particular style or genre it’s going to be difficult to write an honest unbiased review.  It also feels like you were making comparisons with other bands that play a similar style. a style of metal you don’t seem to be a fan of. So people reading this review should pay attention to that fact so they don’t let this particular reviewers opinion stop them from experiencing one of the best Metal albums to come out in years. 

    • randomtime

       Just like every review on this site, it’s “biased” to the reviewer’s tastes in metal. This is AMG’s review, so it’s his opinion of the album. I fail to see how a “honest unbiased review” could ever be constructed.

      If you just buy on the numbers, then you might miss out on some stuff, and you might buy some stuff you’re not into. I really liked this album, but that doesn’t make AMG’s opinion any less valid.

      • Never said AMG’s opinion isn’t valid. 

        • You did, however, said he was not a fan of the sub-genre, which everyone with some time visiting this site knows it’s just false. If you personally think this album is better than he makes it to be, then by all means just say it, just don’t throw the “he’s not a fan” card when trying to make your opinion more of a “true melodic death metal fan” than his.

          • huh? I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

          • So you’re saying on one hand that you have to be a fan of the particular style or sub-genre (which in itself its a bias) to form yourself your educated opinion. And THEN disconnect yourself of your own taste to make unbiased observations?. Yeah really making sense there. Sorry, I’m done here.

          • I do really think you should read this:

    • This “unbiased review” thing is dumb. AMG loved Omnium Gatherum and said a lot of good things about Swallow the Sun. He clearly likes the genre. This just isn’t that great. I love the genre too and this left me pretty underwhelmed.

    • I am a fan of the genre. Melodic death metal is my first metal love and I like Insomnium, have loved Swallow the Sun’s previous material, worshipped Opeth and am a huge fan of Barren Earth and Amorphis and gushed over the last Omnium Gatherum which got my #2 spot on my top 10ish list from 2011. I also like In Mourning’s first album a ton. To say that I am not a fan of the genre is simply incorrect. I am a huge fan of the genre and have just been disappointed by output recently.

      The second half of this album is fantastic, but the first half is uninspired and monotonous. I’m sorry you don’t agree with my opinion, but that’s how it goes.

      Also go up to the little search bar on the right side and search for the post “On Objectivity”.

      • Ok AMG and Steel Druhm…I looked back at some of your other reviews of bands in the genre and I stand corrected. Angry Metal Guy For The Win! lol

  • Hehehe, “this can only end in tears” indeed. I was suspecting this and making an effort to not to hype myself, since Monolith they were going for a more streamlined sound without the raw power of Shrouded Divine. On the other hand I suspect from your review that there is also a lack of progression in the album that makes the differences between the first and second half more evident. I will listen with optimistic cautiousness, for that positive score after all. On this particular sub-genre I’m a bit more hyped for the new Be’lakor myself, I hope they send you a review copy.

  • I sort of agree. The album is way too long and there are some uninspiring moments. However, I gave this a 4/5. I don’t believe this album is backloaded. “Celestial Tear” is cheesy as hell and “Voyage of a Wavering Mind” is just boring. All the other tracks are pretty awesome. Better than Monolith, but they can definitely do better (as you said, seeing as how awesome Shrouded Divine is).  Great review as always :).  

  • Kyle McDonald

    It’s my opinion that all of the adversity involved in metal (artists making little money, tons of competition, little mass media attention, etc.) helps to build the genre.  If metal bands weren’t always trying to compete with the others just to scrape a buck, then I really don’t think they would be as awesome as they are.  I say this because I see it here (below) as well.  I probably would not have checked out this album, except that there is a lot of controversy and argumentation going on, which has definitely spiked my interest.  I don’t think that people should be dicks, but I appreciate people being willing to state an opposite opinion from what this great site has to say.  

  • This is my AOTY so far.

  • “Monolith…was a big disappointment for me. After lauding it on a release high, it just fell of the map”
    “Maybe this’ll click for me: it took me about 10 tries before Ghost Reveries did”

    You’re a bit fickle at times.

  • If you don’t like AMG’s review, go google the album name + “review” and find someone who does like it.  Hint: there are  plenty of gushingly positive reviews of this album out there.  You can read all of them and get your nice happy feeling back, but do yourself a favor and come back here to read this one again after you do so.

    I personally love the album and I disagree with the 3/5 rating, but I understand AMG (and any reviewer, anywhere) has a different ear than I do and different preferences.  I actually enjoy reading reviews like this — he doesn’t rip into it, but he offers intelligent criticisms that force me to listen more discerningly to see if I can pick up on what he did.  It’s a good exercise to find something to criticize in something you like.

    Would I call it my AOTY so far?  Nah, but it’s pretty high on the list, as of right now.  Still more great stuff to come this year, yet.

  • Really loving this album now I’ve finally gotten around to buying it. Surprised to say I like it even more than Insomnium and Amorphis’ latest offerings.

  • devillock

    Reality is, you will either like it or not. I like this album and disagree with your review. I will take In Mourning any day over Opeth, especially the recent stuff. There is no right or wrong. This is my main issues with reviews as only the listener can truly review music. Perhaps some of us think this album is not long enough, or that the best songs are on the first half of it…