This along with OPETH's "Deliverance" and DARKTHRONE's "Hate Them" was quite possibly the album that had me biting my nails just knowing it would arrive soon. Any of you who have read my review for MOURNING BELOVETH's debut self-released masterpiece "Dust" should know how highly I rate this band. I think that "Dust" is quite possibly the best Doom Metal album side from MY DYING BRIDE's classic "Turn Loose The Swans" and guess what... "The Sullen Sulcus" is even better!
The artwork featured here also deserves attention as it was created by Paul McCarroll (www.unhinged-art.co.uk) and it fully captivates the Doomish nature of the content. He is an extremely talented artist who I would recommend to any band looking work done. Go visit his site... OK enough with the art, on with the review...
MOURNING BELOVETH have kept that same winning form heard on "Dust" and developed it over time to produce what is an amazing professional album form Ireland's undisputed Doom Metal kings. "The Sullen Sulcus" is full of what can only be described as perfect Doom Metal tracks executed and immortalised on disc for all eternity to capture the spirit of melancholy.
Unlike many Doom Metal bands and albums MOURNING BELOVETH manage not to sound pretentious, their pain and torment seem completely genuine and each section manages to convince. The melodic nature of this band, their quality of song writing and their ability to completely change the atmosphere into one of pure dejection will capture your attention for the duration of this album and manage to leave you stunned when the album finishes, and when it does you feel empty, alone, nothing. This is a Doom Metal masterpiece.
Overall the song writing has improved and even if no track on "The Sullen Sulcus" is able to surpass the mighty "Autumnal Fires" from their previous effort (which might I add is the best Doom Metal song in history) many come close ("The Insolent Caul", "My Sullen Sulcus") and all are on a level par slightly above the other tracks offered on "Dust" making this overall a better, more mature, more powerful release.
Excellent musicianship, the ability to progress, experiment and find their own niche within the Doom Metal genre is what has led this album to be already one of the best that will come out in 2003 (yes I am that confident!). Darren's grunts are as impressive as ever and I must highlight Frank's clean vocals as they simply destroy any other in the Doom genre. His powerful melancholic screams are simply breathtaking when they are used here (and maybe they could have been used a little more!).
The dual guitars work very impressively here allowing MOURNING BELOVETH to create their own style despite their obvious influences as they create the melody and atmosphere by utilising the lead guitar and not having to resort to other instruments like keyboards (or violins or flutes...). This in itself is an amazing achievement as they can do with just guitars, drums and bass what it takes most bands 5 or more instruments to accomplish.
One of the best albums to come from the country, one of the best albums in a genre and one of the best albums I have ever heard. Simply breathtaking. I urge everyone who likes Doom Metal please get this release, you won't regret it. (Online March 13, 2003)