Album Review: A Mourning Star – ‘A Reminder of the Wound Unhealed’

Posted: by The Editor

A Reminder of the Wound Unhealed is being pitched as A Mourning Star’s debut LP, but it’s really more like a compilation. The first half comprises unreleased material, while tracks seven through twelve collects the band’s standalone “A World Beyond” single from last year, contribution to their split with Serration (“Avatar of Hate”), and debut EP from spring 2022. It’s arranged in reverse chronological order; for many bands, this might act to their detriment, frontloading the most fully-formed material and devolving in quality as it goes on. Fortunately for A Mourning Star, this isn’t the case. 

In fact, perhaps the best thing about A Reminder of the Wound Unhealed is that To See Your Beauty Fade was remastered for the album. It was a strong first outing, to be sure, and the songwriting is there, but the production is so muddled and impenetrable that listening through the EP feels like a chore, even with its brisk thirteen-minute runtime. The clean hook of the title track – one of only a couple in the band’s catalog – was never given the punch it should’ve had, and the breakdown that ends “Discretely Shadowed Beneath a Mighty Wing” doesn’t pop any more than the rest of the track, denying what should be clear catharsis. These versions are beefed up, the riffs more menacing and the drums less tinny; it’s the way these songs deserve to sound, brawny and towering.

A Mourning Star’s brand of metalcore is fierce, for sure, informed by black metal and death metal. Although A Mourning Star’s sound has clear precedents, the band isn’t just rehashing the styles from decades ago. Album highlight “Burnt Offering” mixes some technical, thrashy riffs in with the band’s usual serrated chugs, and the black metal influence shines through on the compact “A World Beyond” and To See Your Beauty Fade’s five-minute finale “Original Mind.” The band’s more melodic side peeks through on “Corruption” and “Would It Be Easier If My Flesh Tangled Through This Blade,” the former of which employs more clean vocals than any other song in the band’s catalog. On the other, the cleans are used more to accentuate the brutality of the growls and the pyrotechnic riffs underneath them. It’s probably the track that best shows off all A Mourning Star has to offer. And there is a lot to offer. That was clear from the strength of the EP alone, but A Reminder of the Wound Unhelealed only solidifies the Vancouver band as one of the most exciting acts in heavy music. The two instrumental interludes on the record – “Vilomah” and the aptly-named “Interlude” – even demonstrate that, when the band holds back, they’re capable of crafting moving, dynamic music even without relying on screams or breakdowns. It’s not just a passing of the flask, it’s a passing of the torch.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

A Reminder of the Wound Unhealed is out now on Daze.

Zac Djamoos | @gr8whitebison

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