Eric Wagner – In the Lonely Light of Mourning
Reviewed: February 2022
Released: 2022, Cruz Del Sur Music
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
It’s a cruel world knowing that Eric Wagner didn’t live long enough to see the release of his first proper solo album, IN THE LONELY LIGHT OF MOURNING. Known to doom acolytes across the globe as the one true voice of Trouble (along with The Skull, Blackfinger, Lid, etc.), Wagner succumbed to COVID-related pneumonia last summer, snuffing the flame of a legend that still had many creative miles left to travel. And the fact that IN THE LONELY LIGHT OF MOURNING was four years in the making and completed just mere weeks before his passing makes the whole thing a sort of bittersweet epitaph to the man’s career.
IN THE LONELY LIGHT OF MOURNING touches on much of the musical geography that Eric Wagner traveled in his 62 years on this Earth; devotional hymns reaffirming faith in his maker, Beatles-esque hippy revelries, reliably heavy classic doom, and everything in between. Structurally the tunes aren’t that different from his last outings with Blackfinger or The Skull, but it’s a darker, more personal and introspective album for sure. Mortality and self-reflection are persistent themes across the album, creating an extra weight to the material that’s even more prescient now given his passing. On “Maybe Tomorrow” he asks “where will I be this time tomorrow, if I die today/will you remember that I was even here, by the end of the day”…It’s a sentiment I’ve pondered myself as the decades have passed, but saying it out loud and recording it for posterity requires a totally different level of Zen with the universe. The same can be said for the cello driven “If You Lost It All” and the surprisingly upbeat closer “Wish You Well.”
IN THE LONELY LIGHT OF MOURNING is a beautiful album that’s equally sad as it is hopeful that there’s more for us beyond this mortal coil. It’s easy to project that Eric Wagner knew that his time was near, but really the guy had been trying to tell us all of this since “The Tempter,” we just weren’t paying attention.
And here, the endless road has indeed run dark.