Friday, February 18, 2005

Mournful - Monochrome CD Review

It seems like lately the trendy thing to do if you’re a metal band is to just load up each song with a huge amount of breakdowns and scream along choruses, probably in order to show that you’re heavier than everyone else. Metal bands would rather be known for being intense, insane, and heavy as all hell instead of being known for being able to craft beautiful melodies and tender musical passages to complement their metal nature. Admittedly, it is harder to make an emotional metal release without it sounding contrived than it is to make a blistering metalcore cd that sounds crunchy and loud. It’s much more difficult to craft just the right amount of melody to go with the aggression than it is to simply crank up the amps and scream like you’re getting disemboweled. Mournful are one of the few bands that have managed to match their more tender emotions with the type of metal they play, crafting a very potent melodic metal release.

Mournful have two distinct styles metal that can be found to be at play on this cd. The first style has very intense and throttling guitars, driving drums, and aggressive bass lines playing with melodic vocals flowing over the top, offsetting the aggressive nature of the music. The other style consists of having melodic vocals work in tandem with a very contemplative, slow to mid tempo style of progressive metal. One example of the first style can be found in the song, “Granada,” the lead off track, in which Mournful grab you by the ears and make you listen. Truthfully, though, the real aggressive moments on this cd are outnumbered by the predominantly tender, emotional metal style that is so expertly on display through most of this release.

One way to visualize… well, audiblize maybe… anyways, to get a sense of what the basic musical formula Mournful uses sounds like, you could combine the progressive musical style of Tool with a healthy does of A Types era Hopesfall tempos and add to it a haunting tenor vocalist who’s not afraid to reach into his falsetto range, as well as throw in some doom metal tendencies and an occasional scream. This only gives you a general overview of Mournful’s different parts, of course, but as is often the case, these guys are a lot more than just a sum of their parts.

Many of the songs on this disc, such as “LHC” and “Head Down,” will draw you in with their initial mellow build up, hook you with their crooning choruses, and sink their claws into you completely with their culminating emotional climaxes of raw emotional release. If you let this cd sink in, I mean really give it all of your focus, you’ll find one of the best emotional metal releases to hit in quite some time. Monochrome manages to merge together all of the pieces that are needed to create a perfect emotional metal release.

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