Mourn the Light – Stare Into the Face of Death
Mourn The Light is a Connecticut-based heavy metal band. They have shifted slightly in their sound since the last offering, going into a more Melodic Heavy Metal direction. They’ve brought in a keyboard player full-time to make them a six-piece band and give them more of an 80s feel since much of the keyboard is built around an ethereal, atmospheric tone, similar to Don Airey during his Ozzy days. This four-song EP is heavy, technically precise, features great backing/choir-style vocals, and brings many different influences into one badass sound.
- Dwayne Eldredge – Vocals/Guitars
- Kieran Beaty – Guitars
- Bill Herrick – Bass
- Kyle Hebner – Drums
- Andrew Stachelek – Vocals
- Alex Newton – Keyboards
November 25, 2022, Argonauta Records
- The Hunt
- Heavy Metal Destiny
- It All Comes Down
- Face Of Death
This is a four-song EP with three tracks at six and a half minutes and one at over seven minutes. Here is where you get the true depth of their power metal leanings. They love longer songs with lots of layers, complex, overlapping guitar/keyboard work, and epic lyrics.
We start on “The Hunt.” The guitars start with a nice chugging riff, and the keys are light, ethereal, and Don Airey. There are some serious 80s influences on this track. The galloping drum beat and bass line are pretty stunning. Andrew delivers clean vocals, and Dwayne backs him up with the same. Then, the voices get a bit of layering to beef up the sound. The guitars work primarily in tandem, playing the same tune with slightly different tones, hammering out a melodic solo, often together. The layers of keyboard tones under the riff add a lot of Ozzy Osbourne feeling to the track. This is a killer, complex song that has a lot to offer.
“Heavy Metal Destiny” is another 80s-themed song with a nostalgic 80s metal anthem thrown into the mix. That’s how the song opens, but it gets a more modern treatment for the verses, going back to anthemic tones for the chorus. There is a lot of melodic in the chorus and heavy in the verses. Progressive elements are also added all over the place, which is pretty standard for this style of Power Metal. The guitars are a tandem attack for much of this; however, they go their separate ways more on this one, using the more traditional trade-off method for the solos.
For “It All Comes Down,” the rhythm is really solid, with the bass taking on more prominence for the driving force. Bill and Kyle really take ownership of this track. Alex goes for a piano tone for much of this, rather than the atmospheric keyboard tones from the last two songs. This song feels like an incredibly heavy power ballad. It’s almost like this person needs to save the day. The collective fate rests on their shoulders. For the solo section, the keys go back to the 80s tones we’re used to from this band. One of the best parts of the song is the fade-out that takes us to the end. One guitar, one voice, eerie humming tones, and a reminder that no one can do this for you; the power comes from within.
The album wraps with the longest song, “Face Of Death.” The guitars open the track with a rip-roaring riff. This is another anthemic track with epic backing vocals and a lyrical command to tell Death, “Not Today.” The sludgy bridge with the return of the Don Airey-inspired keys is excellent. The chugging guitar riff with the melodic overtones coming out of the bridge is beautifully done, and the harsh vocals thrown into this section add a cool twist, acting as the voice of Death in a call-and-response piece that leads to the leys introducing the guitar solos. This is the most complex composition on the record, going even more Prog Metal than any of the other tracks.
Mourn The Light has stepped up its game. Suffer, Then We’re Gone was good; this is better. That is a personal point of view, and I’m sure the band is equally proud of both EPs, as they should be. I’m not the parent, so I don’t have to worry about whether I’m playing favorites or not. This EP has catchier hooks and better songwriting, in my opinion. Part of this is the addition of more keys, but the most significant improvement is in the overall compositional skill the band has demonstrated. Expanding to six members added more than just one more instrument; it added new elements and a new presence to the project. I like my metal to sound like this, so well done, MTL!!
- Guitars – 10
- Rhythms – 9
- Vocals – 9
- Songwriting – 10
- Production – 9
- Overall – 9.40