Updated: Sep 2, 2020
What a time for Mourn to grace my inbox. In a time where a lot in my life is in a state of upheaval, flux, and mourning for the year we didn't get, for a relationship now held by a thread, and for those we have lost. Mourn is certainly an album I have struggled to face reviewing for fear of it's effects upon my own emotions and when you hear it, you will know exactly what I mean.
In their own words.. Seattle based Tom Shear founded Assemblage 23 in 1988 as a solo project, eventually signing his first record deal a full decade later and thus beginning the process of establishing himself as one of the most successful American electro-industrial artists of the modern era. Combining genre-expanding electronics with intensely personal subject matter, ‘Mourn’ is his glorious ninth album and a standout release in A23’s storied catalogue. Beyond the trappings of modern EBM and industrial styles, ‘Mourn’ seamlessly blends danceable electronics with intimate and soul-searching lyrics and is a breathtaking record from one of the best acts in the genre.
In that description we have even more to connect meaning to 'mourn. This album wishes to escape the modern trappings of EBM and yet in so doing creates a melancholic nostalgia for the golden era of the genre even as it struggles to distance itself from said modern trappings. 'Mourn' combines the best of both worlds in the sense of classic genre touches that are now inevitably bound with the modern dance signatures to appeal to the market we find ourselves in.
I suppose the release date of the 11th of September certainly holds a lot of meaning to people as well..
The album opens up with 'Epiphany' where the satisfaction and expectation of Gothic talent is immediate. There are clearer layers and less harsh samples than in previous offerings and it is indeed, pleasant listening. It has clear and concise elements and brings memories of all the times you've had a great night at a goth club or festival and makes you long for them again in quite a beautifully devastating fashion.
'Factory' has some good beats but the vocals are a little muffled and the rhyming stings a little too obviously which is then balanced out by the relaxed and almost synthwave like 'Bloom'.
With 'Anxiety' we are presented with the perfect music for a haunted house in space or an episode of Twilight Zone. It has some wonderful hints of God Module and really brings out the Assemblage 23 feel.
There is an old school Depeche mode sound which is very recognisable in 'Confession' that would make anyone have to do a double take to make sure they are indeed listening to Assemblage 23. It is very clever with its clear influences whilst standing out from the norm.
'Welcome, Apocalypse' has to be my favourite on the album. It is very much a commentary on the state of the world now and how surprising this slow apocalypse has been, especially with the way people have behaved as opposed to something more immediate and recognisable as an apocalypse per say.
'Tragedy' brings those previously metioned danceable electronics with a real pick up in energy that is then wonderfully complimented by 'This house is empty' further increasing on that dance factor and ending the album on a hopeful high and I love it.
This house is empty:
Bloom Anxiety Confession
This House Is Empty
Overall it is a highly relatable album in terms of lyrics and energy, almost to an uncomfortable degree being that we have all suffered this year. For some this may be the soul soothing and vindicating sorrow filled electronica their heart desires; For others it could be a further pull on strained emotions that is just too difficult to listen to right now. Either way this is a very compelling album and a very different and interesting offering than what has so far been released in 2020.
Tom has done a fine job with this album but it seems to be missing the energy and fire that 'Endure' had. That's not a bad thing, if anything this is an ideal second side to the coin of 'Endure'.
I look forward to hearing the extra songs on the special edition to see if any further energy is injected in to the final edition.
Dance factor: 6/10
Overall score: 6.2 / 10
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