It seems a long while since UK hardcore bands have made a name for themselves. Back in the peaks of metalcore glory they seemed a phenomenon that, not so much lurked in the shadows, but were confined to opening sets for the largest of the scene’s overseas progenitors. Your Demise and Last Witness spring to mind. Duly, they are well worthy of attention.
Luckily then, we have an updated form of visceral metallic hardcore hailing from bonny Glasgow. Mourning—an outfit formed in late 2017 in tribute to a late family member—are fully-charged proponents for hardcore backed up with syncopated riffage, impassioned lyricism, blastbeats and the icy chill of black-metal tremolo to shackle your spines. After a collection of heartfelt rioting in the aptly named Four Years Of Grief compilation, Mourning have finally unleashed their first LP-packaged force of nature.
Disenlightment, released via hardcore trendsetters Streets Of Hate, is a debut that hits as hard as the rest of ‘em, while sprinkling in metal influences at opportune times. That’s profoundly crunched into your eardrums with the opening title track, a flurry of notes straight out of Oslo’s Helvete record shop. Even the artwork—a ransacked medieval city calling on help from seraphim while ravaged by demons—is sick as fuck and carries that flair of European tradition. Mourning’s love for ‘90s Parisian hardcore, and further Francophile sensibilities, shine through French lyrics scattered in the discography too.
The opening tracks are small rippers to leave you breathless. Cancer Incarnate glides through chord changes fluidly, then stutters, then goes on more neck wringing riffage to match drummer Seb’s snare assault. Moshers will ring-a-rosie in the circle pit to chunky cut Non Future Decree, which culminates in an isolated guitar-cum-‘05 Parkway style breakdown. A certain palate refreshment for fans of the genre’s more brutal and bombastic heaviness. It doesn’t let up from there, as if tracks titled Unhonoured Prophecy, Tyranny Of Guilt, or Desert Of The Spirit would be anything but raging downbeat. The latter churns through a china-cymbal heavy intro that’s almost… dancey?… before some clever double kicks translate its maelstrom of notes into a chilling lead section and strained vocal chords from vocalist Connor.
A form of respite comes courtesy of Foreboding which is a real left-turn. Duelling acoustic guitars and haunting synths that act like lutes maintain that courtly Middle Ages storyline that runs alongside this thing’s aesthetic, and for any suckers of history and hardcore alike, it’s a dream. While Myrkur dabbled with pure Nordic folk among her black-metal roots, this is still never something I’d have expected to hear on a metallic hardcore debut, but it shows the band’s artistic gall and it’s satisfying payoff. Speaking of which, satisfaction comes in droves on closer Grievance Ascends. It’s an unrelenting driver of speedy punk music whose chords rise and rise and dip to keep the mosh-engine running. Whether that’s on the bus’s back seat or a live show, that’s your prerogative.
Currently making waves at several festivals, including the terrific company of the US’s Mindforce, Drain and End It at FYA Fest in Florida, Mourning are flying the flag for Scottish hardcore using this as a blueprint. A debut that takes great examples of crunching metalcore refined over many guises these past few decades, and weaves in plenty of idiosyncratic elements to complement its course. If I were on a chivalric quest, this would be the ‘lais’ I’d listen to, so I hope that’s what they were going for.
For fans of: Kickback, Gulch, Your Demise
‘Disenlightenment’ by Mourning is released on 15th November on Streets Of Hate.
Words by Elliot Burr