RETRO TUESDAYS: Mourning – Greetings From Hell (1993)

The first and only release from South Holland based death/doom band Mourning is a surprisingly overlooked classic sub-genre defining release that exemplifies an equal ratio of death metal and traditional doom metal influences. Formed in 1989 with the drummer from Sempiternal Deathreign (and later Eternal Solstice) these guys are one of the earlier examples of successful application of death metal aesthetics and production within and album made up entirely of decidedly gloomy doom metal songs. Though it isn’t all plodding riffs and nihilistic sourness, most of it is pure filth and depravity cut from doom metals most depressed sonic cloth.

‘Greetings From Hell’ combines the gritty, buzzing death metal thud of Winter‘s ‘Into Darkness’ and the raving thrashing-mad doom of Dream Death‘s ‘Journey Into Mystery’ with a touch of ‘The Road Less Travelled’ bleakness. You won’t find a big Swedish guitar tone but rather a fuzzed-out crunch that isn’t too far from Revelation‘s stoned ambitions on ‘Salvation’s Answer’. There are touches of Celtic Frost inspired riffing here and there but most of it seems in service to early Penance style doom metal grooves and shouted bitter vocals. Most of the guitar work beyond ‘Greetings From Hell’ centers around rhythmic churn-and-chugging riffs while the lead guitar work is subtle and generally more evocative of doom metal’s simpler blues-free moments of the earl 90’s.

While the album starts off with a strong doom metal lean and some huge riffs on the opener and “Sweet Dreams”, a lot of the best songs start closer to the end of the tracklist. “What?” has an ancient Saint Vitus vibe to it and “Deranged or Dead” resembles Rouwen‘s hurried Hellhammer-ish death metal before they’d formed the idea. And of course how could I review this album and not mention their death/doom opus “Get AIDS and Die” which offers angst and bitterness alongside bursts of ‘Leprosy’ and Obituary style kicks of death metal. While it isn’t the most varied set of songs in the long storied history of death/doom but it does offer a great mix of old school death metal orthodoxy as well as absolutely banging doom metal riffs, often mixing both styles within their longer songs.

The band wouldn’t do much after this release. After splitting up in 1997 some members formed Rouwen and released a decent primitive death metal EP ‘Rouwkots’ that seemed to have nu metal/groove metal ambitions. The CD isn’t impossible to find and the vinyl reissue sounds great, but it is a shame this never got a decent CD reissue with Rouwen‘s EP and the demos tacked on. An essential release for fans of old school death/doom and collectors of obscure doom metal releases.

Artist Mourning
Type Album
Released 1993
Listen on YouTube Mourning on Metal-Archives | Buy the Vinyl Reissue (2014)
Genres Death Doom Metal

Vows of damnation. 4.0/5.0

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