It’s been four years since the last album by In Mourning, “The Weight Of Oceans.” One major change for them since then has been the addition of ex-Katatonia drummer Daniel Liljekvist. “Afterglow” is the result of years of hard work and it all pays off for the band.
I’ve put off publishing this review for a couple of reasons. One, I didn’t want to write something that didn’t truly capture how I felt about “Afterglow.” Secondly, when I publish a review, I tend to “move on” from the album I am reviewing to other albums I need to review. I really cannot and don’t want to stop listening to “Afterglow.” It’s THAT GOOD!
So what makes “Afterglow” so damn good? First off, Liljekvist is one of the best drummers in all of metal and he sounds amazing throughout”Afterglow.” This is not a knock at all on original drummer Christian Netzell. Christian is a great drummer to be sure. But Daniel Liljekvist is a legend in my book. There are more twists and turns on this album than any of the previous In Mourning albums and he is really able to “stretch out” more than he was able to do in Katatonia.
As with any album, it’s all about the songs. These songs are even stronger than on “The Weight of Oceans” and that was a great album! “Afterglow” is a culmination of everything that In Mourning has done to this point. This is a band that has been fucking awesome right out of the gate. This album is the sum of all three previous albums. To start, the artwork and production on “Afterglow” are amazing. Both are crucial in their own way to the success of the album.
Stylewise, the songs all do different things and show the dynamics of this great band. The opener “Fire and Ocean” shows the dichotomy of the band in its style and in its title. It’s heavy as fuck, yet still very catchy and melodic at the same time. “The Grinning Mist” is In Mourning at their most epic. The song goes through a few different phases from heavy riffing to pounding the fuck out of everything to an anthemic ending. It’s a very Opethian track without ever stealing anything from that band.
“Ashen Crown” has two amazing riffs that start it. That’s the thing with “Afterglow,” it’s riff after riff after riff. Bassist Pierre Stam, and guitarists Tim Nedergård and Björn Pettersson are all riff masters. In addition, the band use keys to give some of the songs a distant backdrop. “Below Rise To The Above” has a classic intro with what sounds like an ebow giving the riff atmosphere. It also is a showcase for the vocals of Tobias Netzell, who is incredible.
Bands need to take note of just how great Tobias is. He has a commanding death growl, a killer scream and a beautiful clean voice. He uses each as he needs to and what’s great about this album is he uses his clean vocals a little more but never overdoes it. “The Lighthouse Keeper” is yet another great track that shows why having a weapon like Tobias is so key.
“The Call to Orion” has more riffs that you will wish your favorite band wrote. It’s really unbelievable. The verses, the pre-chorus, the choruses, bridge. Each section of each song on here is so immaculately crafted. The title track closes things out and it makes for a slower, doomy finish to this album. I LOVE the end of the track. It’s got this spacey keyboard part (I think) that is eerie and beautiful at the same time.
I really hope that people take note of “Afterglow” because it is In Mourning’s masterpiece. This is their “Blackwater Park,” “Dark Side of the Moon,” insert whatever career defining album you want right here. This album exceeded all of the lofty expectations that I had for it. “Afterglow” is everything that I love about progressive death metal all rolled up into one perfect 56 minute package.
1. Fire And Ocean
2. The Grinning Mist
3. Ashen Crown
4. Below Rise To The Above
5. The Lighthouse Keeper
6. The Call To Orion