In Mourning is a Swedish progressive death metal outfit that has been around since 2000. I was not familiar, but this seemed reason enough to get caught up to speed in some way. My initial email described them as "heirs to Opeth's throne." That's a tall order. I am one of those who has started to trickle away from Opeth's new sound. I respect what they are doing, but I yearn for the days where death and progressive could truly form Voltron. Could Afterglow be the answer to my prayers?
While I don't think any "Opethian" group will ever truly live up to the name, I still say the answer to this question is a yes. the intense opener "Fire and Ocean" and equally powerful "The Grinning Mist" certainly share a lot of qualities with the guitar work, while also throwing in a few tricks from Enslaved on the former. When you get to that interlude, you'll hear it too. More importantly, it is done well. Every instrument carries its weight to make some monumental-sounding tracks.
There are some truly puzzling drum patterns throughout the course of Afterglow that show confidence more in their knowledge than just speed. Same go for the choices in guitar riffs, which flow through a wide dynamic range quite seemlessly. While the ever-present acoustic additions of their peer group have been largely left out, there is still plenty room to take things down a bit...you know...for the ladies.
During these times there is still plenty for the average music-lover to enjoy. Again, the drums delight, and the clean vocals are pretty strong. They're not quite on par with Åkerfeldt's angelic tenor, but they hold their own. The music can indeed reach some notable levels of tranquility through this and much more. And when they pick back up like with the ripping solo on "The Grinning Mist," you will feel it all the more. The harsh growls echo through the mix, commanding you to enjoy it.
So heirs to the throne? I dunno. There are a lot of bands these days walking in the shadows of this particular forest. But I will say this, In Mourning are certainly contenders and Afterglow hits a lot of the strong points that make me love Blackwater Park. Finally, they do all of this while creating a signature sound for themselves. The influences are there, but they carve enough of a niche to differentiate from other imitators. Summing up: awesome riffs, epic drums, lip-syncable growls. The album drops Friday, but you can hear the whole thing in advance via the Youtube stream below.