The Mourning Star project began in July 2014 in a small home studio in Saint Paul, when Andrew Marcoullier (Guitar) and Luke Ryan (Vocals) began to collaborate on an album that would successfully fuse modern progressive metal with hard rock. Less than one year later the “Dead Yet Alive” album has been released. Michael Windingstad (Guitar) and Nathan Mann (Drums) have since joined the project to bring the ultimate audio experience to your ears and your favorite concert venues.
From the first jolting chord of “The Best Approaches” to the final whisper of “This is the Beginning”, it is quite obvious that you aren’t dealing with a mere rock band, but a musical force to be reckoned with. As a whole work, “Dead Yet Alive” succeeds on just about every level, the music is raw and hits you like a blast of adrenaline. The best thing about the 9-track album is that it plays as a ‘whole’ album, something that is extremely rare in todays watered down rock and metal climate. Every track in this collection is strong, unrelenting, at times brutal and at times gently intoxicating.
Ninety-nine percent of today’s hard rock acts sucks because lyrically and musically they are clichéd and contrived. The whole metal genre, including its sub-genres reminds me of when hair metal ruled the airwaves back in the early to late ’80s. Then out of the sea of contrived and clichéd rock bands that one rare band will stand apart from its peers with an album that shakes the foundations of hard rock. That band is Mourning Star with its album “Dead Yet Alive”.
Mourning Star makes some of the bounciest yet best sounding modern rock. They time signature changes lighting fast, and Luke Ryan’s vocals can range from a death metal roar to a casual choir tone. The songs each display these characteristics in good and diverse ways, resulting in a great recording for rock and metal fans. The first 3 songs – “The Best Approaches”, “Dead Yet Alive” and “Consequent” – by themselves already display the diversity of the band’s deliveries, both vocally and musically. In fact, I would go as far to say that they are not , death metal, nu-metal, heavy metal, hard rock, or whatever anyone else says. They mix so many textures and tempos; they are almost their own genre. I know of few, if any, bands that are out there doing what Mourning Star is doing.
Amidst fast and numerous tempo changes, thunderous heavy riffing, layered and complex intros, solos and bridges, and machine-gun-like drumming, weaknesses simply do not exist. Tracks such as “The Tower”, “Rapture” and “Retribution” will hit you like scud missiles, quickly and deadly, and the remains will be with you for a lifetime. Mourning Star is aggressive and powerful, yet that does not keep the band away from producing remarkably melodic tunes. Their rhythm can change many times within a song ranging from roaring speed, and then suddenly turning into a marvelous slow melody, or vice-versa – “Light above the Damned” and “So Shall You Die” being fine examples of the band’s craft in this direction.
The album is knitted together extremely well and has a certain amount of flow with it. The guitar work is magic, with amazing chord progressions throughout the whole album. From his high pitched croon to his death vocals, Ryan contrasts everything perfectly, while the drumming is intense and pin point in every song too. Without a doubt, Mourning Star seems to go way beyond what I expected.