MOURNING NOISE – Screams / Dreams

Cleopatra 2024

Screams / Dreams

A gloriously glittery return of veteran sculptors of aural horror and arresting tunes.

It took the positive feedback to the reissue of this ensemble’s entire oeuvre for Steve Zing to get inspired and restore the enterprise that preceded his stints with SAMHAIN and DANZIG. There could hardly be a better way to celebrate the four-decade anniversary of MOURNING NOISE’s arrival in style – the style which changed from erstwhile no-nonsense hardcore to more glamorous approach now – than to come back and no better way to mark the anniversary of the collective’s demise with a new album. “Screams / Dreams” isn’t missing the edge of what was before but the grit of yore has been somewhat smoothed out to give the platter’s pieces a contemporary feel through the almost immaculate punching of their mirror-ball surface with familiar punky spikes to form equally perfect songs.

From the streamlined, organ-oiled anthem “Black Cadillac” onwards, barrages of rapturous riffs and bottom-end rumble rock and roll with envious elan. As Robby Bloodshed’s vocals ride Tommy Koprowski’s blistering licks and Chris Morance’s four-string groove – all directed by Zing’s frenetic, if finely detailed, drums and, first and foremost, cymbals – the likes of the gloomy title track and the effervescent “We Want You Dead” lead the listener to a disco for a bout of weirdly life-affirming danse macabre before “Kiss Of Death” adds a shiny synth-pop layer to the floor, and the galloping “Frozen Fever” reveals its piano foundation. Still, the acoustically crawling “Sin” creeps up on the audience quite unexpectedly, violated by violin and ivories yet elevating the melody’s heavy swirl via the players’ harmonies on refrains, and multileveled guitar passages elsewhere, until “Island Of Unknown” gets stripped of the glimmer in favor of pure vigor and aggro, and “Empty Streets” revives nihilistic twists and shouts.

The rest of the cuts simply follow this template, as though to show not a lot has changed during the last forty years and to let “The Changeling” ram this message home – only the deceptive balladry of “Stranger Hearts” brings forth a flamenco-esque sensuality, “At The Seville” decadent grandeur, and “Angel Lounge” a folk-informed canter – but whether the shoegazing histrionics of “Book Of The Dead” are worth exposing the theme explored in the beginning of the album again should remain a moot point. However, “Embalmed With Love” pogoes with gusto, “Misery Loves Me” engages power metal engine to propel the foursome into the future, and “Green” delivers a bile-blowing finale to reconnect them to the past.

A thoroughly enjoyable comeback.


June 17, 2024

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