I was really prepared to like this album a lot more than the 5/9 may indicate. In Mourning was brought to my attention by a friend and frequent co-host of the radio show a few months ago. We played a track from their previous album, Monolith, on episode 105. That song and album were good and I had high hopes for this new one, The Weight of Oceans.
The artwork and name of this album are a 9/9 collectively. Upon seeing it for the first time I thought this was going to be an album of the year contender. Sometimes artwork just gives you that sense, but, you still have to do your research. Unfortunately, it is not. Before I go any further I want to say that although this review might seem disparaging, I’m still a supporter and this album is worth checking out. It’s not uncommon for me to dislike stuff a vast majority like, and visa versa. I’ve read a number of glowing reviews about this album and they prompted me to reconsider and listen through it several more times. Alas, I just cannot give it more than 5 hammers.
So where did it go wrong? Well its hard to say exactly, and that’s kind of the theme for this one. For instance it’s hard to say what type of metal this is. I guess I have to go with the extremely broad “progressive” label that you can use whenever you’re not sure. Not that there’s anything wrong with progressive or experimental sounds or styles in metal if that’s what your going for, but with The Weight of Oceans, In Mourning is getting that genre classification from me because it seems like they opted to just put a little bit of every metal style in this album at the expense of the sound or style they could truly call their own. Previous albums gave heavy indication that this band might be one that you’d begin to recognize instantly, however, I found this album heavily diluted by a soiree of vocals styles and ranges, guitar tones, song tempos and moods. On the opposite side of that spectrum, are homogeneous albums that feature songs that may as well be cut from one long track with no variation and quickly bore the listener after the first 2-3 tracks.
Somewhere in the middle, is the perfect mix of track/style diversity while keeping true to a specific theme or mood of the album as a whole. As I mentioned above The Weight of Oceans is too volatile and undefined in that regard. One track will be a decent melodic death offering and the next will be a mediocre doom/sludge number. That will then be followed by a prog piece that sounds like a completely different, and non-metal band–and that will tee up a gargantuan length track that shuffles a new style in with each passing minute of the song. Chaos.
Now again, these could just be my own pet peeves so please judge for youselves, but I gravitate towards albums that outline a clear sound style, and then explore different, but not TOO different, applications of that sound with each track. Some good examples would be the first couple Ensiferum albums where the songs sound like they belong together on the album, yet each one is distinguishable from the next. Bodom used to do this well, as did Elvenking and Lord Belial. Immortal, Falconer, and Vesperian Sorrow are still doing it well–just to name a few off the top of my head.
Looking to the future, if In Mourning makes up it’s mind as to what type of style they want to “own”, they have the rare ability to do just that… own it. Their future is in their hands.
Album: The Weight Of Oceans
Released: April 18th 2012
Label: Spinfarm Records
Score: 5/9 Hammers