(older release, yet always worth being promoted and supported)
Hailing from an area close to the border with Ukraine, at the Sea of Azov, Mourner is quite a young Russian trio which was formed somewhere in 2018. The band consists of Gor (bass guitars, lyrics [which are in the band’s mother tongue] and main vocals), A.D. (guitars, drums and programming, + engineering & mix) and Saw (guitars, song-writing). Their sole official release until now is the seven-tracker Apogee Of Nihility, released in a fabulous unity of three truly magnificent labels, i.e. Satanath Records, More Hate Productions and The End Of Time Records. The compact disc is a jewel-case edition that comes with an eight-page booklet, which includes the lyrics [since these are in the Russian language, I almost do not understand anything of it, but the song-titles have been translated in English on the back-cover], as well as stunning cover artwork by, of course, Mary Kankava aka Hellcatfairyart.
This seven-tracker lasts for three quarters of an hour (indeed, the tracks last in between five and nine minutes) and brings timeless Doom-Death Metal with a prominent Old School attitude. Instead of crossing the border with funereal dimensions, this band rather injects its compositions with elements from the ‘purest’ Death Metal roots, evidently deeply inspired by the earlier years of the scene. It does deal with the concept of Death being a continuation of earthly life rather than the end of existence. Since the cosmos seems to be infinite, so is life for being part of the universe. It’s just another shell, another corpse, another physical presence after the era in between birth and decease comes to an end.
When going deeper into the Death Metal thing, well, it is not impossible to get confronted with quite some string and drum-parts that refer to some of the better bands from the past (and present). I am then thinking about the likes of Morgoth, Asphyx or Runemagick, you know. Quite some parts maintain the original structures of old styled performance skills, going for the basses and electric guitars, while several drum patterns rumble and thunder in the vein of the darkest and meanest skin-hitters of Old. That use of Death Metal elements is a thing that make Mourner a distinct act within the international Doom-Death scene.
And Doom-Death Metal is, as mentioned, the core of this album’s contribution. Here too the basics are rooted in the earlier years, with that well-balanced mixture of melancholy and melody, of tragedy and gloominess. The melodious tremolo leads, sometimes even mind-blowing then again mesmerizing or ominous, are nicely supported by comprehensive rhythm guitars and bass-lines, as well as very varying drum-work. I do personally appreciate the sometimes blackened riffs too, even-though it’s just a handful of smaller fragments that have that specific grim tone. Also the vocal timbre represents the timelessness yet, at the same time, the traditional persuasion of past, as well as present and future, I guess. Gor’s throat is enormously deep and down-earthed, adding something cross and livid.
The whole gets interspersed from time to time by other instrumental assistance. Of course you might find some acoustic or semi-acoustic fragments. These ones are not of the pathetic kind (way too often, acoustics are falsely used as some fingerspitzen craftsmanship without content), yet smoothly, and at the right time, injected into the whole story. Another subtly yet perfectly used instrument is the synth, even-though it is not listed as being used. However, it does appear once in a while. And albeit being used at the background, it does add a specific atmosphere when performed. Not being credited either is the violin. This one too is just sporadically employed, yet it does work intriguingly well when partaken. For some not-that-incomprehensible reason, it might remind of My Dying Bride (several riffs, melodies and structures too bring these UK-based masters to mind).
Despite the average lengthy duration of each track, you might find out that there is quite some variety, in between the different songs at the one hand, as well as within each single composition at the other hand. This goes for the tempo in the first place. okay, we’re talking about a Doom-oriented release, so do not expect many fast parts nor blasting outbursts. Yet still the whole permanently interchanges in between slow and mid-tempo, with continuously decelerating or accelerating moments, a handful of up-tempo fragments, and a couple of ultimately slow excerpts. From structural point of view too, there is a diverse execution. As said, quite a bit of the game is inspired by old-styled practices, but you can’t pin things up to the Great Old Three, for example, or the Scandinavian or Dutch scene. No, Mourner are able to combine all those sources of inspiration, yet they translate it into a self-developed, and therefor more rich, totality. Do not expect progressive hooks or frenzy breaks, but consider it like an adventurous travel with many things to happen. Besides, each listen sort of reveals new elements, time after time.
As I read in an interview with Gor, this material ‘mentally moves you away from Earth to the near-Earth orbit. The music Mourner create and perform is ‘a complex process of perception by a person who lives through his departure to another world, his emotional experiences and fear’. Well, that’s exactly what Apogee Of Nihility defines… Strengthened by the rude and powerful yet well-balanced and mixed sound quality, the outcome is evident: recommended!