Mourning Beloveth - Rust and BoneBack in my early days of Internet metal education, when forums were still trendy, the name Mourning Beloveth kept cropping up as essential listening for doom/death fans based solely on the strength of their two demos. Formed in 1992—just a couple of years after genre pioneers My Dying Bride and Anathema—Mourning Beloveth waited nine years to release their debut album Dust, and it wasn’t until 2002 that they were picked up by small Irish label Sentinel Records. Given the early buzz around the band (maybe I just had clued-in metal buddies) and their obvious talent this seems pretty strange, especially as several of their less consistent peers enjoyed much greater industry support. But while their output has been of high quality, it has also lacked personality: their early records were a little too indebted to My Dying Bride, and it was only on 2005’s A Murderous Circus that they developed their sound into something less derivative by incorporating hints of the driving Celtic metal style pioneered by Primordial. So is 2016 going to be the year that Mourning Beloveth finally live up to their early potential and take their place among doom metal royalty?

Probably not, but they’ll certainly be awarded something better than Lord of the Privy. Rust and Bone moves further away from their early My Dying Bride worship and fully embraces the Celtic folk influences hinted at on their past few records, giving them a sound that is somehow simultaneously mournful and rousing. Epic opener “Godether” is the best implementation of this: the clean, folky intro gives way to a beautiful, tragic doom section that makes Swallow the Sun sound positively uplifting. Just as you’re about to give up all hope, the song changes gear to offer a glimmer of light; still miserable, but with a driving triplet feel that carries you to the song’s black metal climax. Going full-on blastbeats-and-trem-picking is a new string to Mourning Beloveth‘s baleful bow, and makes for a great and unexpected climax to the song.

Rust and Bone also sees Mourning Beloveth experimenting with album structure. Though ostensibly a full-length, with a run-time of 39 minutes the record is remarkably short for a doom album, while two of its five tracks—the gentle “Rust” and Alternative 4 leftover “Bone”—are brief, quiet interludes that break-up the three longer songs. Closer “A Terrible Beauty Is Born” is another departure for the band: an entirely acoustic folk piece, with Frank Brennan’s powerful clean vocals underpinned by a simple acoustic guitar riff. This makes for a stark contrast against the dense weight of their usual doom, and works surprisingly well as an album closer.

Mourning Beloveth 2016

Such experimentation is to be commended, but it exposes the flaws in Mourning Beloveth‘s songwriting. While they pen wonderful riffs and melodies, they don’t write nearly enough of them. “Godether” is over sixteen minutes long but only features three main riffs, “The Mantle Tomb” is eleven minutes and almost as repetitive (and almost too derivative of Primordial), while closer “A Terrible Beauty Is Born” simply cycles over the same riff for seven minutes. The repetitiveness of this final track is exacerbated by its sparse arrangement and the lack of subtlety in Brennan’s vocals. Though he has a fantastic, strong voice that sounds like a cross between Primordial‘s Alan Averill and DoomSword‘s Vali, a little nuance would have gone a long way on this track. Finally, the contrast in styles between songs, though adding some needed diversity, reduces the coherence of the record as a whole.

The overall result is that this feels much more like an EP than a full album, and—with some trimming from “Godether” and “The Mantle Tomb”—would have fared much better if released as such. I am a fan of the Primordial-influenced death/doom style Mourning Beloveth now write, but they have yet to release the record that truly makes it their own.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Van Records
Websites: mourningbelovethvanrecords.bandcamp.com | mourningbeloveth.com | facebook.com/MourningBelovethBand
Release Dates: Digital: 2016.01.04 | EU: 2016.01.22 | NA: 02.05.2016

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  • Kronos

    A 27-minute agoraphobic nosebleed EP followed by a sub-40 doom release? What is this, opposite day?
    Has the whole world gone crazy?
    Am I the only one here who gives a shit about the rules?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Oh shit. There are rules?

      • Francesco Bordoni

        I’d say there are more unwritten rules in metal than fishes in a very fishy sea – we’re a bunch of picky assholes

        • [not a Dr]

          And writing is tedious.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Thus far, it seems AMG is timing the release of reviews a little differently in 2016. I didn’t go back and count, but it seems I’ve seen a number of days where there were two album reviews, and then a final one late in the day (at least late in the day MST). I never used to see reviews coming out late in the day. Nice change it it’s true.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          It depends on the day and how many albums are coming out around that time. Also, remember our review releases are governed by our Overlord in Sweden and our other leaders on the east coast. So us MSTers get to see quite a bit more in our days.

          • Monsterth Goatom

            I should have said, “… it seems He Who Must Be Obeyed is timing…” to avoid confusion : )

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Oh yes. Yes, that’s it.

        • With some changes to how we’re producing, we’ve suddenly become even more fecund which requires later timing. Note, this is the second day of three reviews in a day.

          That and posting things too close together seems to make Facebook throttle us nice and good. So we’re trying some different tactics for posting.

  • Alexandre Barata

    I can define this as, paraphrasing the Workaholics, “Tight Butthole”. Enjoying it a lot.

  • Reese Burns

    January is fast becoming the month of the 3.0. Looks like it’ll be slim pickings for the AotM.

  • You wot m8?

    Has their vocalist been in anything else significant? I’ve neither heard nor heard of this band before, yet his voice is really familiar…

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Unless you know Morphosis…

    • doom-erik

      If you mean the clean vocalist (who also plays guitar) – it seems the guy used to do the vocals in Old Season.

    • RagE

      Has a voice and singing style quite similar to Alan Averill of Primordial. That might be it.

  • Wilhelm

    I’ve known about this band for a while and know for a fact I used to listen to their debut, but for the life of me, I cannot remember what it sounds like. Musically, this sounds pretty damn good, the DR8 isn’t too shabby either.

    • I didn’t comment on the production as the mp3s we got from the label sounded pretty poor :

  • doom-erik

    I bought the first two albums when they came out, but then lost interest in the band for a while, then came back for the last one (“Formless”), which was surprisingly good, one of the best five albums of 2013 imo. Surprised it wasn’t reviewed at AMG. Nice mix of classic British doom/death (although slower than the Peaceville three) and the hypnotic atmosphere (and clean vocals) of Primordial. Hope the new one is as good!

    • Name’s Dalton

      I am enjoying the guitar tone and his voice very much.

      • doom-erik

        Agreed! Great guitar sound. The clean vocals are good but I especially like the growls. Not sure if they do it on this album, but there were some parts on the last one where both vocalists sing/growl together with very powerful effect.

    • One or two extra tracks would be good if they cut down the repetition a bit on the other tracks…

      • doom-erik

        I don’t mind the repetitive nature of their music, I think they pull it off better than most in the funeral doom genre, plus they actually build up the music quite efficiently – and they maintain the “true” doom/death style while still being more catchy than all those boring Finnish bands that are so hyped on this site ;)

  • Kalsten

    I am not the biggest Doom metal fan,but this sounds to me as what Doom metal should be. It is slow, heavy, moody and dark. It is great :)

  • William Hebblewhite

    Love me some doom, quite enjoyed their last release. Looking forward to this one! Also any band which invokes My Dying Bride, Anathema and Primordial is pretty much my opium.