Mourning Beloveth
The Sullen Sulcus


4.0
excellent

Review

by freudianslipknot USER (2 Reviews)
December 12th, 2007 | 67 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Irish doom metal exponents, Mourning Beloveth, express atmospheres of gloom and melancholy via a wall of dense and melodic guitar riffs.

The Sullen Sulcus, by Irish doom metal outfit, Mourning Beloveth, is one of those rare albums that seem to sound better and better with each spin. The replayable nature of this album cannot be reduced to any single factor, but is an outgrowth of several key elements that are either done well or very well.

Firstly, this album does not stray from its description as doom metal. At no point is it anything other than doom metal. It neither slows down to earn the tag of funeral doom, nor does it accelerate towards the realms of melo-death. Despite the length of the six songs, all of which hover around the ten minute mark, there are no ambient post rock interludes, no folk acoustic moments. There are no pianos, violins or synths, so often employed by their doom partners in crime, My Dying Bride. Mourning Beloveth have identified the brand of doom metal they are going to play and they never stray from it. If the songs were poor, of course, this could result in a monotonous dirge of repetition. Instead, Mourning Beloveth have established a dark tone that acts as an ideal framework for some superb song writing.

Secondly, the vocals are excellent. Darren Moore provides the growled vocals, which are the staple here, as well as the spoken lines. In these, the Irish lilt to his voice is quite marked and is part of what gives Mourning Beloveth their distinctive sound. It is, however, guitarist Frank Brennan that provides the clean vocals. Brennan’s midrange voice has a rare melodic timbre that really offsets and contrasts Moore’s deep, resonant growls, creating moments of real beauty. This is uniquely accomplished on “It Almost Looked Human” where Brennan and Moore alternate sung and growled vocals every two or three words: “Down here you may hear a sharpened scream, forming featureless, enfettered states that have me tearing the walls of danger, down here all is dark and dazzling.” Just over seven minute long, this is the shortest song, but is the ideal track to get hold of if you are looking to get a feel for this album. It truly is dark and dazzling.

But it is the dual guitar attack of Frank Brennan and Brian Delaney that really define the tone of The Sullen Sulcus. Down-tuned (obviously) with more than adequate levels of overdriven, distorted heaviness, both guitarists meander around the fret-board with wonderfully melodic riffs, working together to produce a glorious melancholic density. This is exemplified in the centre piece “Narcissistic Funeral.” At thirteen and a half minutes, it is the longest track, but for me it ends too soon. Multiple riffs are developed and layered. It is as though a crushing and stifling sadness is searching for catharsis, ultimately finding it amidst the dark pain and rising triumphant.

Neither the drums nor the bass are dominant, but they are nevertheless an ever present backbone keeping each track rolling remorselessly forward. And this is one of the reasons that I find this album appealing. Sure, doom metal is never going to be violently headbanging in nature, but Mourning Beloveth will keep your head nodding and your feet tapping throughout – albeit quite slowly.

The depth of The Sullen Sulcus is enhanced by the lyrics, which are not exactly simplistic. My dictionary tells me that a “sulcus” is one of the valleys that you find in the contours of the brain. Whether these lyrics are brilliant or pretentious is of course open to debate, but let me just say that the lyrics are about as convoluted and depressed as a sullen sulcus, and leave it at that.

Mourning Beloveth quite effectively shake all the My Dying Bride comparisons. In fact, here they have the clarity of production and tone that puts them closer to Finnish doom/death metal exponents Swallow the Sun on The Morning Never Came. It should, however, be maintained that Mourning Beloveth with The Sullen Sulcus have placed their own unique stamp on the doom metal genre. Highly recommended.


user ratings (36)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
rasputin
December 12th 2007


14546 Comments


Great review, but maybe try to seperate it into a couple of paragraphs. This looks really good, I might be able to pick it up as I'm going to be in Ireland next week.

rasputin
December 12th 2007


14546 Comments


Oh ok, you either just did seperate it into paragraphs or my computer was just shite. Voted.

freudianslipknot
December 12th 2007


803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah thanks you caught me. I submitted it - immediately viewed and edited. Thanks.

BallsToTheWall
December 12th 2007


44482 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review, sounds like my alley of metal.

Digging: Tove Lo - Queen of the Clouds

freudianslipknot
December 12th 2007


803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the votes . I've got to admit I'm really into this sort of stuff at the moment. I find it quite addictive.

Shattered_Future
December 12th 2007


1540 Comments


Good review for a great band. I should listen to them more often...

jrowa001
December 12th 2007


8750 Comments


great review. ill check this out

Putrefaction
December 13th 2007


59 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of my favourite 'home-grown' metal bands. You should check out Altar of Plagues too for more of this kinda stuff. Reznor, you should head to Sentinel records and Tower records in Dublin for Irish stuff, they always have a good selection


freudianslipknot
December 13th 2007


803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks - never heard of them, but I'll check out Altar of Plagues. Meantime I'm looking forward to the release of Mourning Beloveth's new album - A Disease for the Ages which is due out in February.

Putrefaction
December 14th 2007


59 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sorry, I meant Mael Mórdha not Altar Of Plagues. AOP are more black metal than doom. You should check out Gealtacht Mael Mórdha for some great Irish doom though. Can't go wrong with that

freudianslipknot
December 14th 2007


803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks - Yeah, I did a search and came up with black metal for Altar of Plagues (could only find an EP by them). I'll check out Gealtacht Mael Mórdha.

rasputin
December 14th 2007


14546 Comments


Thanks for the advice Putrefaction, I'll be in Dublin for 3 or 4 days, but I'll be in Cork for about 2 weeks. Can you tell me some good places in Cork? I really want to get this.

Putrefaction
December 15th 2007


59 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The only good ones I know are Plugd records and Roxy Records. Roxy are a bit hit and miss but from the few times I've been in Plugd, the metal is generally goodThis Message Edited On 12.15.07

rasputin
December 15th 2007


14546 Comments


cheers for that, I'll definitely check them out

Putrefaction
December 15th 2007


59 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

No bother

rasputin
December 31st 2007


14546 Comments


I got a chance to go to Sentinel records, I got this album, and a copy of Dust, as well as Primordials Gathering WIlderness and Sirocco's Nemed. I bought the other Sirocco album from Plugd, as well as a Vimanas EP. I might review Dust once I've begun listening to it, but I just have heaps of cds to listen too, I've bought 15 cds since December 13.

freudianslipknot
December 31st 2007


803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well the only one I have of that - other than this - is The Gathering Wilderness. I really want Dust, but I haven't managed to find it. I just have the track "The Mountains are Mine" which I downloaded and is pretty cool - so, yeah, do a review of Dust - I think Mourning Beloveth deserve the support. Not too many doom fans around here.

rasputin
December 31st 2007


14546 Comments


I was lucky, I got a copy of Dust that is different from the normal version, has a different cover etc. The guy said it was rarer. Anyway, I definitely want to review it. I've been listening to Sullen Sulcus, and this could turn out to be some of the best doom I've ever listened too. There is even some thought about giving this a 5. I'll need to listen to it a whole lot more though, before I make a decision like that.

freudianslipknot
January 1st 2008


803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I must admit that I was hovering between a 4 and 4.5 on this when I reviewed it and decided to be conservative. It is probably one of the most consistently good albums I have heard.


rasputin
January 11th 2008


14546 Comments


Yeah, I know what you mean. 4.5 is the go now, but it could possibly go up. I doubt it will go down.



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