A violent suspense above, Garden of Storms closes out an oceanic trilogy; the final chapter of In Mourning’s seven year long vow to conquer the ocean. Started in 2012 with The Weight of Oceans and expanded with Afterglow in 2016, the concept has made colossi of the Falun quintet; if not in terms of fame or recognition, then definitely in soundscape and magnitude of vision. Perhaps the most notable change since the last album is the “loss” of bassist and lyricist Pierre Stam who left the band along with drummer Daniel Liljekvist to form Mercury Rust; giving the album a distinct change in its vivid poetic lyrics in comparison to its predecessors. It is by no means worse - Garden of Storms feature some of the band's most poetic pieces yet - but it is different, and definitely a successor worth the name.
The melodic guitars have always been, and continue to be one of the strongest features of In Mourning’s repertoire. Tim Nedergård and Björn Petterson always painting vivid in sound the image projected by the scope of the vision. Be it the epic melodic doom aspects found in Yields of Sand and The Lost Outpost, or the faster soloing found in Hierophant, everything feels tight, cohesive and added with purpose rather than just gloating. It’s all connected to the whole and it’s deep, melodic, touching and brutally unfeeling all at the same time. Newly recruited bassist Sebastian Svalland, filling in for Stam, adds the much needed depth and emotive punch to the lower end of the spectrum, with highlights in the bellowing Magenta Ritual and the closing The Lost Outpost. Tobias Netzell continues in full to deliver monstrous growls from the depth of a monolithic earth and blending them perfectly with heartfelt and atmospheric cleans. Magenta Ritual and Yields of Sand both see him shifting flawlessly between the styles as the music turns from chilling balladry and behemoth like death grooves, ever with the melodic guitars burning like a guiding star.
Right out, Garden of Storms doesn’t quite reach the individual peaks that made The Weight of Oceans stand out. The sound also doesn’t carry the bleak, fiery sound storm that permeated Afterglow, but it is perhaps the most complete album of the three, and a definite tour de force in progressive setting with a heavier atmosphere than ever looming over darkened oceans. Musically it follow the same pattern of melodic atmosphere over heavy death metal groove, but taking new twists here and there to make the album feel similar to its predecessors while still taking new directions in the stylistics. Less dark, ominous and brooding, its sound is more open and approachable, while the musicianship feels tighter than ever, and there’s a clear direction to be heard throughout while also flawlessly weaving in subtle musical references to the earlier works, like how The Lost Outpost closes in the same dark vein that Colossus opened. A work of passion, Garden of Storms is in time likely to stand as the crowning piece that In Mourning brings to monstrous, passionate life, adrift with the tide.
Standout tracks: Yields of Sand, Huntress Moon, The Lost Outpost