MOURNING SUN – Último Exhalario
"Último Exhalario" is not easy translated but the Chilean atmospheric doomsters provide the closest meaning on the back cover of this three year old release: "Último last, end. Exhalario – a word that does not exist in our language, is a song book of exaltations". Similarly to the sadly now defunct Agalloch, Mourning Sun seem to draw their inspiration from nature. "There was an ulterior need summoned by our geography" – explains Mourning Sun under the title’s translation – "We travelled to icy mountains and rivers. To Cape Horn in the land of fire. To see the darkest blue from the last ocean. And from those sceneries a sincere form of art was born".
The album opens with the title track in a very cinematic manner, mostly acoustic guitar with Ana’s delicate beatiful vocalizations, piano, deep bass and keyboards creating a very somber ominous atmosphere recalling Depeche Mode and Daylight Dies, lead guitar understated until finally a very simple, very powerful chord breaks the spell while a My Dying Bride-ian "The Angel And The Dark River" melody feeds through the folkish background until the climax.
It could be said, indeed, that "Último Exhalario" is, essentially, an expansion of "Vaho" EP since the title track is followed by "Vena Cava", already featured on the EP. The composition strongly recalls Trees Of Eternity as even Ana sounds a lot like Althea Starbridge, while those My Dying Bride-ian "Angel" riffs are still present and supplemented with like melodies, atmospheric keys and piano for background, as Ana morphs into Aneke Van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering), with the excellent guitarwork recalling early Daylight Dies again.
The track is followed by an instrumental "Hoowin (Mythic Ancestors)", with Depeche Mode-ian and Fear Factory-ish keyboard atmosphere and effects in a drone-like interlude that leads to "Spirals Unseen", the opener from the EP.
"Spirals Unseen" is a favorite, again bringing strong comparisons to Trees Of Eternity both vocally and musically, melodic lead giving way to beautiful transition where Ana turns Anneke again, as the delicate piano and bass understatement ushers in a trumpet and a jazzy, excellent drum/guitar transition followed by breathtaking melodic leads.
Another track from the EP, "Cabo De Hornos (Cape Horn)" begins with a wind that ushers in a Type O’Negative "October Rust" guitar lick with piano/acoustic calm and dreamy Ana who suddenly turns scary with a weird echoing vocal effect bacgrounded by a delicate progressive interlude, followed by great melodic riffs and leads.
The closer and the final newest addition, "Anguish (Prelusion)", much like "Hoowin", recalls Depeche Mode and Fear Factory in keyboard atmosphere and effects but here with a very dreamy and passionate Ana singing "into light" only to fade away much the same way as Fear Factory’s "Timelessness" or "A Therapy For Pain", Mourning Sun taking great material on the EP and making it even greater on the LP in the act of last exaltation.
"Último Exhalario" deserves high accolades, though some of the songwriting could have been more focused, plus, I would have loved another track the quality of "Spirals Unseen". That and the derivative nature of the material (sounding like Trees Of Eternity a lot) won’t let me give a higher score than 5/6. At the same time, fantastic production job that truly allows for an immersive experience won’t let me give it any less.
Mourning Sun may not be the most original act on the planet but what they do on "Último Exhalario" they do very well and any fan of melodic doom should eat this up like a hungry young pelican. Lastly, the band has a new EP called "Latitud:56’S" available for listening on the below bandcamp page, so check that out as well.