REVIEW: Midmourner - Adorned in Fear and Error EP

Midmourner is a Alabama band that decided sludge was the way to go, and I can get behind that. If I had to guess, the group has a bit of experience with the genre. The band is just too direct with it's subgenre focus for it to be coincidental. With other bands, you usually get a more doomy sound somewhere in the midst of their music, but not with Midmourner – at least not on their EP, Adorned in Fear and Error. This is, probably, the most definitive example of sludge metal you can get – for better or worse.

The best way to describe what Midmourner has done here is: a crap-load of bass. Holy hell, there is a astonishingly large amount of bass here. If I was to guess, I'd say the whole EP is based around the bottom line more then anything else – almost like a less blackened version of Bell Witch (I had to do some digging to see if Midmourner was an only bass band, but nope). I'm more used to a bassy guitar that has a crunch to it, a effective and common technique used so that the more sustained notes sound drawn out and gloomy – or, you know, sludgy. But, Midmourner has got it's own way of doing things - albeit providing a much more simple and direct sound. What's really great is that, if you were to listen to their live recordings, it all translates to actual performances really well. I wouldn't be hard-pressed to say that their music works somewhat better live then it does in a studio setting. Which, to me, is a great sign of a capable band.

Themes on Adorned in Fear and Error are along the lines of issues with religion and power, it isn't too original but I liked the effort the band takes to accentuate this with occasional audio clips. They really let me understand what was even going on in times where I didn't quite understand what the band was trying to do. A good deal of the atmosphere comes from the vocals, some of the shriekiest vocals I've heard in a good while, but they do convey a clear sense of fear and unease – which fits right in with the subgenre. It's actually surprising just how atmospheric this band can be sometimes, Midmourner really finds a way stand out on it's own two when it comes to this. I couldn't help but feel like what was being conveyed was a genuine viewpoint, rather then just there for shock or awe.

Problems are, more or less, to do with the realities of being a sludge band. Some tracks seem to meld into one another, becoming pretty much indistinguishable from the last. For the most part Adorned in Fear and Error really does sound like one big song, aside from a couple tracks that have a intro or intentional endings rather then droning on until another song begins. Bass being a huge focus here also somewhat stifles the experience at times. Sometimes songs are just too drone-like, they meander whilst the vocals squelch on for what feels like unbelievable lengths of time. Midmourner isn't terrible by any means, but I can't help but feel like their consistency somehow hinders the band a little (strange to say).

I can't say that Midmourner, or Adorned in Fear and Error is the end-all piece everyone is looking for when it comes to sludge. I wouldn't even see why it would need to be. But, this is a good EP for those looking for their sludge/drone fix. Do I think Midmourner has the ability to be something massive? Yeah, I personally do. But, I haven't a clue how they'd get there. It'll be interesting to see what comes in the future. Until then, I'd say if this band is playing in the area to check them out. Live performances seem to be a strong-point for the band. Oh, and did I mention this EP is on cassette?


Keep up with Midmourner on Facebook, or check out their label, Old Lion Records, here.