Review Summary: It doesn’t top The Sullen Sulcus, but Mourning Beloveth have definitely found their niche with this impressive foray into doom.A Disease for the Ages
, doom outfit Mourning Beloveth’s fourth venture, is a culmination of the band’s previous three albums, and a finely crafted piece of work. It seems the band knew exactly what they had so far achieved, and blended their experiences into what we have here, A Disease for the Ages
Remembering that this is doom metal, A Disease for the Ages
is a grandiose, almost uplifting album, and shows how the band has mastered the art of making a lengthy track seem all the more shorter. I won’t lie by saying previous Mourning Beloveth albums haven’t dragged; in many instances certain songs would be so much better if they were cut down and not long simply for the sake of being long. A Disease for the Ages
overcomes this hurdle at which Mourning Beloveth have previously stumbled, and not by reducing the song lengths. Clocking in at a few minutes under an hour, and spread across a mere 5 songs, it may seem like the usual doom-fare; a small collection of long and uninviting songs. This, however, is not the case with A Disease for the Ages
. The success of the album is mainly due to the fact that Mourning Beloveth have seemingly accelerated their songs to the point in which they’re no longer wallowing in slow tempos. Obviously in relative terms, it’s doom metal so it’s going to be slow, but in respect to what Mourning Beloveth have done before, it definitely has a more outspoken feel to it.
The vocal section, albeit arranged differently, is just as good as ever. Vocalist Darren Moore is his usual monstrous self, but his Irish tinged spoken word is hardly used at all. I think I heard it only once, on the track ‘Primeval Rush’. Although his growls aren’t incredibly varied, A Disease for the Ages
shows that he is able to adapt quite well to the semi-different musical environment, and he truly shines on the album. There is, however, a big change in Frank Brennan’s clean vocals. His previous solemn vocals have been transformed dramatically, and he seems to have gotten a greater grasp of melody on A Disease for the Ages
, which coincides perfectly with Moore’s gutturals (not that they didn’t before). Moments in which they perform together, as can be heard on the track ‘Trace Decay’, are momentous. The only negative thing I have to say about Brennan is that on the odd occasion, he aimed for a high note which was unattainable, resulting in what could be perceived as a strain in his voice. It makes no difference to me though, and overall his vocals are sublime.
A Disease for the Ages
brings forth a new bassist, Brendan Roche, and his input, although being generally overshadowed by the guitars, is very good; he seems to perfectly complement the music. The band also gives him the opportunity to take the lead, such as in the beginning of ‘The Burning Man’, and elsewhere. In order to add to that extra crunch, the band uses two extra layers of the rhythm guitar, to create a ‘wall of sound’ effect. Don’t be mistaken in thinking this creates an indistinguishable rabble of sound, a la black metal, it merely just makes the riffs sound heavier and crunchier. The accelerated tempos have created another positive, allowing drummer Tim Johnson to give what is an incredible performance.
What I loved most about the album however, was the fact that it so seamlessly blends in a progressive edge to the music, which is enhanced to a great effect by the gushing melody the album has. On previous albums, the band would go through a variety of riffs, generally playing them after one another, and repeating them 4 or 8 times. This worked well to an extent, but if any given riff was not that great, it would drag the rest of the song down with it. What Mourning Beloveth have done on A Disease for the Ages
is hidden this systematic line of riffing; they’ve disguised any attempts to define the songs as structured. Now I’m not making any wild suggestion that the music is progressive doom, all I’m saying is that the way in which the songs have been written most definitely contributes to the albums accessibility, making it in general a much easier album to get through. This song writing ingenuity, coupled with the melody, really makes it an enjoyable listen.
The final point I’ll make is concerning how melodic this album is. Mourning Beloveth is known to have a greater sense of melody when it comes to doom, and A Disease for the Ages
is a prime example of this. You’d be hard pressed to find moments on the album that aren’t gracefully exuding melodious music. I found it interesting that A Disease for the Ages
really differs from earlier albums in terms of the overall sound of the album. The similarities are still there, but there is an epic-like quality on A Disease for the Ages
which wasn’t apparent on earlier albums, and although still being quite dark, it doesn’t have the previous sullen undertones as on the aptly titled Sullen Sulcus
. This might be due in part to the seemingly faster speed at which the album goes, but the band has definitely found a comfortable position in regards to their song writing.
This is easily one of the better albums I’ve heard this year. Whether or not it’s because it’s doom is beside the point; this album is incredibly consistent, reflecting the band’s own work ethic, and there’s just a delicate uniqueness that comes with Mourning Beloveth which cannot be replicated. Highly recommended.