Review: “The Foam Of Despair” by Mourning Dawn

Having been mixed and mastered by Olmo “Déhà” Lipani (Abduction, Wolvennest, Black Autumn) at Opus Magnum studios back in September 2022, “The Foam Of Despair” has been a long time coming from French Blackened Doom Metal torchbearers Mourning Dawn. A sixth studio album in a career that goes back more than two decades, it is one which has been described as being a journey through which they undergo their own metamorphosis, emerging to reach a heightened level of perception, doomed spirituality and self-reflection. While that sounds dramatic, what it actually means is open to interpretation however we do know that Mourning Dawn have taken their blackened, depressive doom sound to a new level by embracing industrial overtones…

…Claustrophobic, dark and brutally crushing, opening cut “Tombe du Temps” (or “Tomb of Time“) feels like vocalist Laurent Chaulet has been buried alive and screams in anguished pain to escape his torture chamber hell. Spoken word samples play around his desperate cries, the chunky bass and pounding drums giving the mid tempo affair a real depth and gravity as they wrap around the throat like a boa constrictor. A nine and a half minute magnum opus of a cut might seem like a brave way to open an album but this cut is so gripping that you simply cannot turn away. Just when you think the terror might be over, Adrien Harmois adds a Saxophone lament that brings that avant-garde flavour as the guitars churn underneath. The harrowing cries continue into “Blue Pain” which find Déhà himself providing a guest vocal appearance, the grit of the introspective lyrical narrative almost unbearable as Chaulet wears his heart on his sleeve and bares his soul. This isn’t anything Nu however, there is no woe is me about it at all, there is far more integrity in this punishment. Bringing back the samples to their crushing Noise Metal sound “Borrowed Skin” is one which surpasses the eleven minute mark with consummate ease while sounding absolutely huge. The introduction is nearly two and a half minutes before the vocals connect like a baseball bat to an empty beer keg before the industrial element creeps in, enhancing the bleak narrative of what is the lyrical title track. A cut to send a shiver down your spine, it feels like Gojira and Will Haven did a deal with the devil to create something entirely new although in truth comparisons with bands like Shining or Katatonia might be more appropriate.

Another cathartic and abrasive crawl through broken glass, “Apex” feels like a brick to the skull, its atmospheric tinges ensuring it isn’t as cold as it at times promises to be. Between the Blackened Doom pacing and the anguished vocals it’s hard to tell if Chaulet is a man escaping the pit of despair or running towards it and that light at the end of the tunnel? It’s a freight train. Former guitarist Fabien Longeot adds a solo to “Suzerain“, a cut with haunting programming that feels like a remix from the score of a low budget horror film from the 90’s. If you’re not a French speaker then the samples feel like a foreign film playing out around the powerful rhythms, the band having a certain groove to their performance that makes them a cut above some of the others in the genre, their dedication to their craft something to be admired. Earth shatteringly heavy before becoming almost ambient in its melancholy, the anguished cry for release that is “The Color of Waves” is as raw and emotive as anything Mourning Dawn have created. A tour de force of what the band have been about for the past two decades, it soars on the four plague winds like a phoenix from the ashes as a monument to the searing pain within. While the band embraced Industrial overtones earlier in the album, they didn’t go as far there as they do with “Midnight Sun“. A savagely burnt offering that cleaves flesh from bone in the first half before disappearing down the rabbit hole for in the white hot centre as the guitars drop out and they embrace ambience. Rather than playing out like that however, the insanity levels increase as the guitars come back around and by the end the straight jackets are waiting at Arkham Asylum for the creators of this abomination [8/10]

1. Tomber du temps
2. Blue Pain
3. Borrowed Skin
4. Apex
5. Suzerain
6. The Color of Waves
7. Midnight Sun

The Foam Of Despair” by Mourning Dawn will be released on 12th January 2024 via Aesthetic Death and Tragedy Productions with pre-orders available over at bandcamp

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