The Bleeding Veil, the latest opus from Swedish progressive melodeath institution In Mourning, is steeped in mystery and thick atmospheric darkness. It reigns over the entire production and looms in every bit of the musicianship. It seeps through in the darkened melodic might and epic vocal lines. After a trilogy of sorts - and a vow to conquer the ocean - In Mourning make a departure from the sound of their last three albums. A departure which takes them through mist drenched forests at night and along winding paths all leading nearer to the looming abyss. Released in the dark of winter, it is an album where light is rare, but not banished. The guys made some pretty hard to top stuff on their last three albums - and were an institution already before that - but The Bleeding Veil shows no signs of regression or falling back on comfortable ground. Main songwriter Pierre Stam left the fold in 2018 and while Garden of Storms (2019) may have suffered a little for it, in retrospect, the remaining fellas have taken the mantle and brought the songwriting to a new height this time around. The essence is much the same, but there are new twists and turns to the songwriting; it is more concise and less prone to mood swings.
Never idle, the album is a mere seven tracks long, stretching a comfortable 45 minutes. The Bleeding Veil starts out strong enough with a titan opener in Sovereign. And then it continues to grow. The three following songs increase in atmospheric depth and pathos. Solitude and Silence stands out as a masterclass in enticing guitarmanship; sweet, forbidding yet enchanting melodic leads twist and turn around Tobias Netzell’s vocal delivery. That damn breakdown then crushes all sorts of resistance, only to give way to further winding leads. But it is the closing triptych that makes itself the center of the album; the last three songs all clock in over seven minutes, and they deliver epic in three different emotive breaths. Blood in the Furrows is the first, as massive as anything they’ve ever made; long, progressive passages built on melodic riffs and blast beats build a structure not far from the guy’s classic Colossus. Beyond Thunder closes, and it’s perhaps the most introspective one on the track list. The rhythm section take a back seat to Netzell’s soulful vocals, but the epic, melodic chorus is still there and it’s a hell of a way to close an epic.
The musicianship is, as stated, near flawless. The five piece delivering some of their best stuff yet, and a monument as far as progressive melodeath goes. The guitarists are threefold, including vocalist Tobias Netzell. Tim Nedergård and Björn Pettersson deal venomous riffs all throughout, notably in the giant opener, which will stick with you. The melodic leads and solos too are some of the band’s finest. Netzell’s spine chilling delivery continues to shine. His massive harsh vocals are probably more prevalent than ever before, making those moments and where he delves deep down and delivers haunting clean verses all the more powerful, like a dual personality that entices with beauty and monstrosity in both halves. While it may not house a Colossus, Celestial Tear or Ashen Crown, this is without doubt In Mourning's best album to date, and their heaviest. The towering epics in the second half are built up by technical progressive numbers, and it's all steeped that same mystery and thick atmospheric darkness. The Bleeding Veil drapes itself over you, and with enchanting conviction leads you further in, like lights on the mire, until you find yourself lost in it, embraced by its warmth. A shiver along the spine is all, as the sounds beyond thunder fall silent.
Standout tracks: Solitude and Silence, Thornwalker, Blood in the Furrows, Lights on the Mire