The Weight of Oceans (2012)
Sweden, Spinefarm Records, Progressive Melodic Death Metal
With the 2008 release Shrouded Divine In Mourning was set to conquer the throne of Opeth. 2010’s Monolith had a metalcore-tinged aggressive side, which inspired mixed reactions from critics (this particular metalhead thought it was the second best album of the year).
Where does a top tier metal band go from there? Not where anyone expected, apparently. The Weight of Oceans has the switch from crunchy riffs/death metal growls to melodic strumming/clean sung passages that makes In Mourning so dynamic. But something else too. The Weight adds washy, wavery post-metal passages that wouldn’t seem out of place on a later Isis album, carried on guitar production that emerges from beneath the waves. See opener “Colossus” for an example of how In Mourning’s new speed drags unassuming listeners beneath the tides.
Most post-metal puts me to sleep (literally). In contrast, these songs actually go someplace, and pair nicely with the band’s aggressive, chunky riffing. And although a lot of the album is played at the speed of STOP, crunchier moments are still present. “Convergence” kick-starts with the fury of a pummeling hurricane, tearing and tossing large ships into a slow post-metal sink into the ocean.
The Weight of Oceans is a doomed battle against the sea itself, filled with sorrowful, soul-ripping lows, and triumphant, conquesting highs. Sometimes the album surges up, but its a long, and very satisfying, fight against the ocean. However, Weight could use a bit more of the headbanging riffs found in prior releases. And a bit less of songs like closer “Voyage of a Wavering Mind,” which may have been better left at the ocean floor.
Author: Witness to the Void