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Not exactly what it says on the box - 65%

lord_ghengis, August 13th, 2010

With a band name such as Mournful Gust and an album title such as She's My Grief coupled with the genre tag Death/Doom, it's very easy to create an image of what the band sounds like in your mind; something like My Dying Bride or Draconian I'm sure. While there many similarities to the former here, to call this worship in any way would be demeaning. The music is structured around lead melodies and yes, heavy violin work. Despite the gothic imagery this is really quite upbeat and energetic instead of the melodramatic and angsty initial ideas one leaps to.

The band play some of the most melodic and light death/doom I've heard, none of the riffs here are particularly heavy or menacing, even during the slowest and dirtiest moments, the lead guitar is exclusively soaring and majestic. Despite the fairly percussive delivery of the growls, the frequent juxtaposition between harsh and clean vocals neuters any sort of violent imagery. Along with the band's fairly light core the extra use of keys and violins to fill up the sound is bombastic and lively, rather than solemn or mournful. The band simply isn't as sad as it thinks it is, but that's probably a good thing since the few sections soft passages (and the introduction track) are pretty poor. Mostly the band steers clear of any lame melodramatic faggotry and sticks to the lively melodies. Most of the songs have genuine soloing in them which again removes the music from any state of despair and adds a lot of colour, I wouldn't call it virtuosity, but again it brings more attention to the epic side of the band. The whole album is generally pretty pleasant on the ears, but severely lacking in heaviness, emotion and really, substance; this is the melodeath of doom. There are a few moments where quality shines through, such the riff and violin combination a couple of minutes into "As A Wingless Bird", but for the main part this just sort of wanders from nice melody to nice melody, merely being a pleasant background track.

The production is pretty meagre for the main part, clear and roomy, but really devoid of low end. The guitar buzz is largely thin and weak, and the keys are very sharp and thin which makes She's My Grief a fairly neutered release. Nothing sounds obnoxious, but there's not a whole lot of thickness or power to any element of the sound. While the band is obviously not going for a heavy production, everything goes down a little bit too easily with the choice of tones here.

While most of the music is pretty bearable, there are a couple of elements which hold back the whole album; most notably the flute and the female vocals. With the already heavy use of various orchestrations, the flute seems kind of needless, and is the only element of the band which really brings on the emasculating feelings the rest of the sound thankfully avoids. The female vocals are shrill and irritating, and slightly out of key, the best comparison I could give would be the chick from Alas trying to sing the vocals of the woman from Funeral. Luckily they are used pretty sparingly only appearing once or twice per song.

Mournful gust are a decent band, and this is a decent album, sure there's not much in the way of memorable riffs or genuinely haunting music, but it's certainly not a chore to listen to, and it's not as uncomfortable as what the imagery would imply. Fans of melodic, lead driven doom should give this a listen.