In Mourning – Oceans Rise

Wednesday, 1st June 2016

For Sweden’s In Mourning, the needle didn’t really start to move until their 2012 effort, The Weight of Oceans. Prior, the Swedes were sort of wading through the rigmarole of being an underground band in between styles and status’, with their Shrouded Divine (2008) and Monolith (2010) albums emerging as stout, but somewhat tepid affairs. The Weight of Oceans changed all of that, whether because of its increased exposure due to the band’s then-deal with Spinefarm, or for the simple fact it harnesses a collection of voluminous, melody-driven, prog-death creations fitting of an outfit who found their songwriting niche. Lavish critical praise followed, yet In Mourning were never quite able to capitalize upon it, with the demands of family life taking priority. It would take another four years for the band to release a follow-up…

That follow-up comes by way of Afterglow, the band’s first for Agonia Records. Easily their finest offering to date, Afterglow takes the baton from The Weight of Oceans and reels off a rather impressive gamut of heady, bristling concoctions, replete with the unsavory roar of Tobias Netzell (who also chips in some clean vocals), and an endless cascade of savory melodies. It’s a rather thorough and exacting listen, all seven songs of it.

“I think flow and cohesion are things we try to think about all the time while writing, but it’s also some of the harder things to manage,” begins guitarist Bjorn Pettersson. “I suppose we might have grown better at it since last time; it’s the things that we always aim to improve. The people in the band keep growing in various ways and directions, too, through the years, which I guess plays part in it and affects the writing. Four years has gone by since the last album.”

Another aspect of growth, if you will, is the addition of former Katatonia Daniel Liljekvist. Liljekvist, who left the morose Swedes in late 2014 due to the inability to make a proper living from music, puts on a performance unlike what we’re used to hearing from him while in Katatonia. There, he often played with restraint; here, he’s active as ever. “Christian [Netzell], our former drummer, decided to quit the band after The Weight of Oceans,” says Pettersson. “It was unfortunate of course, but it kind of was in the air then, there was some tension growing and we wanted to move different ways. We knew Daniel a bit from before so Pierre [Stam, bass] met up with him asked if he wanted to try out a rehearsal with us, which he did and it felt amazing. He’s such a talented drummer and a really good guy. We had a small tour in Poland coming and we decided that he’d join for that as a start. On the trip we got to connect further both on and off stage and he joined us permanently.

“Most of the material for this album was already written before Daniel joined, still he’s got his own ‘moustache’ when it comes to drumming and he’s added a lot of flavor to this album. I think he is very musical in his way of playing and really tends to add just the right things for the songs to grow. Really looking forward to a next album and to have him aboard from the start on that one.”

Even though In Mourning has been a functioning band since 2000, only recently have they started to receive recognition for their work. The band amassed five demos before the release of their 2008 debut Shrouded Divine, which led to a deal with Singapore-based Pulverised Records for the release of Monolith in 2010. Then The Weight of Oceans hit, which is when In Mourning became more than just another underground Swedish metal band. It’s been a long time coming, but according to Pettersson, he doesn’t sweat the fact it has taken quite some time for In Mourning to land on the map.

“I’m kind of satisfied with how things have fallen into place,” he says. “Sure, there’s been times when we wanted to do more stuff and when we were thinking we’d be really stepping things up with an album release. However, after releasing The Weight of Oceans, sometime around where Christian left the band and when babies started coming, we actually sat down and talked a bit about our ambitions and what we wanted this to be.

“We all have full-time jobs and families that we care a lot for, we’re not willing to drop everything to go touring heavily. We’ll be doing this, we’ll be writing music and we’ll try our best to do cool shows in whatever extent we can handle. This is our fun project, it’s what we love doing and we want to try keeping it that way. Going abroad to see some new places, meet new people and play some new stages is one of the things I really love about this. To be able to do so every now and then is an amazing thing.”

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