Mother Of Graves - Where The Shadows Adorn

“Where The Shadows Adorn” is the debut full length from Indianapolis U.S.A. based Mother Of Graves. A melodic death doom outfit, this five piece creates a sound that is well balanced and crafted in the vein of Rapture or the likes of Katatonia’s “Brave Murder Day.” The sound is dark and depressing but surprisingly clean and melodic at the same time. The tracks are not too long but not too short, giving the right amount of doses of doom for those not used to the genre in Novembers Doom fashion. The only downside is that Mother Of Graves really make heavy use of the harsh growls which are discernable, but little use of clean vocals save for the last track. A lot of death doom veterans are used to the more well known groups like My Dying Bride and As Daylight Dies to have a harsh/ clean vocal marriage, so this is really on the heavier side. Fans of the likes of artists on Solitude Productions’ label will really feel at home with the music.

Tracks like ‘Where The Shadows Adorn’ set the tone for the band. Opening slow and melodic before delving into the heavier riffs that are still melodic with that depressive Katatonia tone to them. The use of somber piano is always a welcome addition and for once the bass isn’t buried by the riffs as it rumbles along with the darker riffs. Other tracks like ‘Rain’ use mostly guitar with some backing violin and some of Mother Of Graves’ more foreboding moments as the tension builds and then the drums help things explode near the end of the track with the vocals. ‘Tears Like Wine’ has some very heavy sections with the dual guitars playing off each other but with no quiet parts the track seems a little lacking without the violins, piano, or somber guitar notes. At least the band does their best to try and not make any track sound too alike; each seems to start out differently. ‘The Emptiness Of Eyes’ can crawl along at first and then explode into some very fast death metal, pretty much shedding almost all the doom elements, so those looking for a fast and heavy pit driven song will surely enjoy this. A little more Bloodbath inspired, a little more crushing, but the track also has its slower moments too.

‘Of Solitude And Stone’ brings back the Rapture inspired riffs that were heard on the second track. True to the Mother Of Graves’ style, it starts out fast and melodic, slows down it the middle, than builds again, only with a surprising death and roll section that has not been heard before from these guys. It almost sounds out of place with the rest of the music because it lacks the morose tones. ‘Ghost in the Twilight’ is the highlight of the album simply because it gives the drums a focus more than the other tracks and for its fantastic intro. Very different from what Mother Of Graves have done before and also the guitars carry that heavy emotional depressive weight similar to Draconian without the ‘upbeat’ gothic rock bits that the other tracks are soaked with. Half instrumental, half vocal driven, doom fans of all sorts will find this track very exciting. Finally the album closes on ‘The Caliginous Voice’ which brings back the “Brave Murder Day” elements but adds more of the somber My Dying Bride “Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light” quiet moments with the guitar. While it may not be as sonically engaging as a track like ‘Where The Shadows Adorn,’ it has its moments with the sweeping guitar riffs and quiet, depressive mid section. The clean vocals are a welcome surprise and should be used more in the future, but not overdoing it. The outro does drag for a bit, but overall fans should be pleased. Mother Of Graves has a bright future ahead of them and while their sound may not be that of the more popular groups with the lack of clean vocals, they are sure to become a staple sound in the doom genre as long as they keep fleshing out variations like the orchestral and piano elements so they can continue to be heavy and melodic at the same time.

4 / 5 STARS

1. Where The Shadows Adorn
2. Rain
3. Tears Like Wine
4. The Emptiness Of Eyes
5. Of Solitude And Stone
6. The Crown
7. Ghost In The Twilight
8. The Caliginous Voice

Self released
Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Jan 18, 2023

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