This Mournful Dawn
Review by TheOneNeverSeen on August 16, 2023.
My attitude towards Nordicwinter’s music has always been uncertain. I do enjoy the sound of most albums, Evillair’s desperate vocals as well as the band’s overall unusual style of DSBM close to atmospheric black metal. However, there haven’t been many individual songs that I would deem particularly remarkable on their own. For instance, Le Dernier Adieu was consistent, for the riffs were written in a similar fashion and quite atmospheric, but, aside from 'La nuit', possessed no memorable melodies. Beneath The Fleeting Light was a pleasant surprise with the masterpieces 'Hallowed Darkness' and 'Into Nothingness', but the real turning point was This Mournful Dawn, as most of its tracks are flawless DSBM pieces.
The most easily observed difference between this album and the rest of Nordicwinter’s discography is the song length and the way the tracks are arranged. While Le Dernier Adieu had medium-length songs (5-7 minutes) and Beneath The Fleeting Light consisted of songs of various lengths mingled with each other, This Mournful Dawn is a sequence of three 10-minute songs and a 7-minute one, finally concluded by a traditional for the band 3-minute piano outro. This impacts significantly the album’s flow, making the majority of it a relentless interlude-free brook of suffering.
The album’s sound has changed significantly since Beneath The Fleeting Light, which one can tell from the new, much cleaner sound of the acoustic guitar instantly introduced at the beginning of 'Enshrouded By Winter'. The guitars have become more melodic and less heavy, yet retained the "grittiness" of Nordicwinter’s earlier records. The only downside of the new sound is the downplayed sound of drums, but, since the latter never played an important part in the band’s music, the change is not drastic. The vocals are excellent as always, but the quality of the album content, as mentioned above, is higher than ever. The structure of the first track is similar to that of the band’s best song, 'Hallowed Darkness', since it also involves brief acoustic interludes. The song is quite depressive and keeps the listener immersed in its somber atmosphere until the end. The album’s best song, 'Death's Pale Touch' possesses a late Nocturnal Depression-like spirit and a brilliant riff, epic in its sadness just like that of 'We're All Better Off Dead' or 'L’isolement'. 'As Twilight Fades' and 'Autumn's Last Mournful Whisper' are as bleak as their titles, with the former possessing unusual energetic drumming and the latter – a slow-paced atmospheric passage around the middle. The piano outro titled 'My Lament' with its hopeless mood serves as a perfect conclusion for the release.
So, This Mournful Dawn is a great DSBM album and, alongside Beyond Melancholy’s "My Last Moments Of Life..." EP with its unusual scary feeling, the best 2023 release in the genre so far. A must-listen for any DSBM fan or for anyone not yet acquainted with Nordicwinter.
Rating: 9 out of 10712