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Great Progressive Doom Death! - 100%

Akerthorpe, February 27th, 2019

Sweden’s Mourning Sign return with their latest offering entitled “Contra Mundum”. This is a band that transcends genres while maintaining the foundation of standards that true metal is based upon. Melodic in theory, and technical in precision and delivery, this album hits true and it hits hard. While labeled as progressive metal, this album sound more along the lines of doom/death with progressive overtones. The riffage ix a mixture of power and doom with the ever apparent death metal attitude. Fans of Candlemass, My Dying Bride, Novembers Doom, and Swallow the Sun will eat this up. It’s that type of style just a tad rawer in form. Solos are used sparingly yet proficiently, and this method works flawlessly.

The drum work is a little more traditional in its presentation, but more death metal in style. The doom element is still there pounding your brain into submission. Flawless in temp change, the drummer is most proficient and his playing can be compared to the agonizing lashes of a razor blade whip! The bass is mixed well and prominent where it needs to be. Excellent incorporation of the instrument done for maximum effect and it works perfectly The level or prominence of an instrument such as the bass would indicate to me, a high level of emotive indications, but obviously that is open to interpretation. You can tell, from the level of talent here, that these guys are humble musicians with a high reverence for musical art. When you take that proficiency and talent, combine it with that reverence, what you have is an absolute reflection of the passion which is clearly evident from the first note to the last.

Low and mid-level growls are the chosen vocal patterns here, fitting like a glove with the other aspects of the album. This style has been done a million times before, but few have the authentic emotion that Mourning Sign has. That’s what sets this vocalist above the rest. Strategic in construction, dominant in deliverance, the band really come through with this offering. The passion in this album solidifies the fact that they an hold their own with any band playing the same type of metal. If you are into the bands mentioned above, then I would not hesitate and get in touch with the band or Orchestrated Misery Recordings to get a copy of this great album. When you get it, put it in your stereo, turn up the volume, and immerse yourself in its raw passion!

Not prog, but, holy shit is this solid - 96%

Mailman__, January 22nd, 2019

Mourning Sign has come back to the scene 17 years after they split in 1996, and in 2018 they released their long overdue third full-length.

The first thing I noticed about “Contra Mundum” is that it is not like what they put out in the 1990s. Where their first two albums were obvious progressive death metal records with some experimentation, their 2018 release was definitely more melodic death metal with slightly blackened elements. While there were progressive moments, these moments were not often. I’m not usually one for melodic death metal, but this was different.

For whatever reason, this doesn’t sound like most melodic death metal. It’s definitely got an epic feeling to it, and the melodies and rhythms, while predictable, are strong and are exactly what I want to hear. It also has this very streamlined sound very similar to black metal, but there isn’t a ton of black metal influence. It’s just really epic, diverse melodic death metal written and played like black metal.

“Contra Mundum” starts off very strong with “Dualism”, “Homage to a Dying World” and “Nest of Vipers”. This theme is carried throughout the entire album, each track sounding just as melodic and epic as the last. In fact, it almost becomes formulaic. The guitar style becomes pretty predictable and the vocal melodies do too.

The formulaic songwriting makes the music predictable, however, it never gets old. It’s a formula that really shines in its own way. It’s one of those formulas that everyone enjoys. The songwriting technique shines the most on the first tracks as well as “Who Will Crown the King” and “Sleep”. The latter of the two has an interesting section featuring clean vocals.

Overall, this album really hits home for me. The melodies are all great and the songwriting has perfect flow, not one riff sounding out of place. The production is nice and gives everything a soft, rounded-out tone that is a nice break from the bleak abrasiveness of most metal production. Mourning Sign may not have made a full comeback to progressive death metal, but they definitely released something worth everyone’s time.

Overall Rating: 96%

Originally written for metal-temple.com