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Mourning Dawn : For The Fallen

Mourning Dawn are back with their classic mix of Black and Doom...

The release of 'For The Fallen', the second full-length of the French Black Doom band Mourning Dawn, has been long delayed as if the victim of a devious curse. Talking about Doom, it should be the sign of good things to come. Fate is no more concerned when speaking of music: the artists alone are responsible for the quality of their work. In the case of Mourning Dawn, letís talk straight, the work is great and certainly was worth the wait.

Mourning Dawn takes its inspiration from the tragedy of the First World War that destroyed millions of lives and totally disfigured a place like Verdun in the northern part of France that borders Belgium, where the soil still bears the impressive traces of the relentless bombings. Without a doubt, a very dramatic subject; dare I also say itís totally suitable when talking about Black Doom?

The artwork immediately gives a hint of what lurks behind the project. Bleak and devastated landscape; human simulacrum stuck in the slimy mud moves in the cold wind. Itís the aftermath of a battle, others will follow.

Mourning Dawn conveys this dark theme by mixing some typical element of Black Metal such as a high-pitched voice that is quite interesting in its hoarse accents, some tremolo pickings and some blast beats with magnificent DOOM POWER. I capitalize it because it really surprised me: Mourning Dawn display an enthusiastically crushing Doom. The voice takes its part in the balance, as Laurent, the singer, is amazingly capable of growling as well as screaming. In the first song, he also mumbles some depressive speech, his voice is obviously processed and that gives an extra dehumanised dimension to the song. In the fifth track, Marquis from Ataraxie and Funeralium makes an appearance; quite frankly, I donít think it is very useful. His perfomance is top notch but, well, he delivers nothing that Laurent would not have been able to offer, so...

The overall mood is depressed but not to the point that you feel yourself depressed, Mourning Dawn is not Forgotten Tomb or Elysian Blaze. It walks on the fringe of the darkest Deinonychus, it touches upon the sick despair of Bethlehem, but it never completely falls in that icy pit that maybe, only maybe, the band wish to lead us to. Maybe thatís a complaint. I must say, Iím not sure. The sound the band develops is convincing, but more than once, I feel like Iím in a no manís land (writing this quite spontaneously, Iím coming to think that it might be a good thing considering the bandís aesthetic themes), a musical field that lacks focus. Not enough desperate, but it is angry; not enough oppressive, but it is bitter; not enough compelling, however 'For The Fallen' is pitch black.

I think three tracks stand out, and quite curiously, that is the three last ones. The sixth and eighth in particular are excellent, soul draining, funerary and abrasive as I wished the whole album to be. The clever rhythmic alternations and the use of solemn choirs in the seventh track make it quite sinister in a very good way. The rest is good, sure, and often very good, but while listening to the album, I can only think: 'this could have been a masterpiece!' A break, a momentum, a slowing down... details of songwriting that sometimes I would have liked to hear. The production is bleak, it can also sound weak: more power would have been a good idea.

As it stands, I advise you to be your own judge and give 'For The Fallen' the chance it deserves. It is great, and was near to be greater. But we know that this applies to thousands of other albums...

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. In Flanders Fields
2. God Damn the Sun
3. Stick
4. Epitaph
5. For the Fallen
6. Death Youth
7. The Rivers Flow
8. Ashes

Duration : Approx. 70 minutes.

Visit the Mourning Dawn bandpage.

Reviewed on 07-07-2009 by Bertrand marchal
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