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Album Of The Month May 2008
Mourning Beloveth | ‘A Disease For The Ages’

If the anticipation that has surrounded the release of Mourning Beloveth’s fourth opus for many months now is anything to go by, the Doom Metal combo is gradually, and deservedly, following in the footsteps of Primordial, building a bigger and bigger fan base with each release, both here at home and abroad. And certainly there can be little doubt that upon its unravelling in the coming days, ‘A Disease For The Ages’ will see the band take another tangible step forward. In terms of drive, creativity, feel and relevance, they’ve unquestionably overtaken the bands that once inspired them.

Whereas the last album, ‘A Murderous Circus,’ was simultaneously the moment the band stepped out of the shadow of My Dying Bride once and for all, and not to mention their most artistically challenging and complete effort up to that point (and possibly still is), it was also a bit of a stumbling block for some of Mourning Beloveth’s fans for the very reason that it was so consistently bleak, unrefined and so raw.

This latest monument – without the band having repeated themselves in anyway or reverted to the more derivative sound of its early days – in some respects occupies the middle ground between ‘The Sullen Sulcus’ and ‘A Murderous Circus.’ It’s certainly got some more of the ‘warmth’ (relatively speaking, of course) of the former and it doesn’t challenge the listener quite as much as its predecessor, making it that bit more accessible.

At the same time the greater ambition of ‘A Murderous Circus’ is set forth so that it again lacks the immediacy of either ‘Dust’ or ‘The Sullen Sulcus.’ Although ‘A Disease…’ is not quite as experimental as the last one, it once again demands that the listener submerge him- or herself in the music, to really take it in before it can enfold.

And when it does…crushingly heavy riffs, enchanting and entrancing melodies, occasional and – in the context of the whole – sometimes almost cheeky leads combine to create five rich and varied epics that never seem to be as long as they are. Picking out one highlight would be redundant, as there’s nothing to choose between them. If only every hour plagued by such misery and sorrow could be as short as ‘A Disease For The Ages.’

Darren Moore’s throaty growls again serve to infuse the pervasive melancholy with aggression and malevolence (the spoken parts by contrast are much less prevalent this time around). Once more Mourning Beloveth have resisted the urge to avail more of Frank Brennan’s soaring voice (which is nevertheless clearly improving with age), using it almost as sparingly as on ‘A Murderous Circus.’ Although the general consensus seems to be that Frank’s clean vocals should feature more, their impact is that much more telling this way.

To conclude, ‘A Disease For The Ages’ merits all 5 points bar the last 0.1, and that’s only to allow for an even better album next time around. Call it Doom/Death, call it Funeral Doom, call it simply Doom, Mourning Beloveth master it, and are now setting the standard for others to aspire to.

4.9 / 5 – DBM ::: 14/05/08

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