Reviewed: February 2021
Released: 2021, Personal Records
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
Act I: Tragedies is the debut album of Romanian doomsters and appropriately-named Mourners, which itself is a band continuing the legacy of previous group Eyes of Solitude, so despite being a first full-length, these guys have some experience with the style.
And that definitely shows, as Tragedies ticks all the boxes you’d expect for funeral doom. It’s lethargic, ponderous and monotonous in the extreme, all deliberately so to help craft an atmosphere of pure doom and gloom. The tempo never accelerates above a depressive dirge, and the vocals are as thick and churning as the mournful mire of sound the instrumentation creates.
Yet this classically funereal sound is also the problem with the album: it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. Anyone with a passing familiarity with funeral doom has probably heard it all before. There’s the occasional decent dark melody in there, but it just doesn’t do anything to stand out from the pack, each track itself just blending into this general mass of doom.
The vocals in particular don’t help with this repetitive feeling (though in fairness this could be framed more as a problem with the genre itself than Mourners exclusively). The indecipherable gurgling nature is part of the overall sound, I get that, but it also makes it very difficult to find any kind of emotional connection to the music beyond the general depressive vibe. Not everything needs that of course, but this style is about as far from “catchy” as you can get, and it feels like it’s left leaning heavily on an emotional resonance that just isn’t there because it’s never clear what the songs are really about.
In the end, Act I: Tragedies may be fine for existing fans of funeral doom, I can’t say there’s anything especially wrong with it in comparison to anyone else. But there’s not really anything that stands out either. It’s crushingly heavy, but that’s all it is.