I suspect that many reviews of Eric Wagner’s last album will primarily be a kind of obituary. This is perfectly understandable, given the singer’s importance for the doom metal scene. In this text, however, I only want to deal with In the Lonely Light of Mourning. The record deserves to be the centre of attention.
Nevertheless, I would like to start with a small flashback: At the Hammer of Doom 2019, I last had the honour of seeing Eric Wagner live with The Skull. The setlist included, with one exception, exclusively Trouble songs like “The Tempter“, “All Is Forgiven“ and “Bastards Will Pay“. It was a breathtakingly strong performance that put all the other bands in the shade on this Friday.
Wagner had proven once again that he was still one of the best doom singers on the planet. On In the Lonely Light of Mourning he impressively proves this one last time. The multi-faceted vocals are undoubtedly the highlight of the record: the ex-Trouble frontman succeeds like few others in conveying madness, despair and melancholy. His performance alone on the quiet “If You Lost It All“, which is accompanied by a violin, goes straight to the heart. How I would have loved to experience this number live… In short: If you don’t get goosebumps regularly when listening to this record, you probably don’t know much about doom.
But it is not only Eric Wagner who shines on In the Lonely Light of Mourning. First and foremost, we have to point to the outstanding songwriting – not a single second on the almost 37 minutes can be described as filler. The classic doom numbers, which would also have cut a fine figure on the best releases by Trouble or The Skull, bring the genre to life. Numbers like the aforementioned “If You Lost It All“, but also the haunting, beautiful title track provide variety and raise the level of the record all in all. The same is generally true for some beautiful guitar solos, for example on “Isolation“ and “Strain Theory“ – only professionals are playing here.
If you want a listening tip from me: Devote yourself first to the addictive riff monster “Walk with me to the Sun“, which Wagner spoils with excellent vocal lines. If the dull fadeout wasn’t there, it would be a future genre classic…
Conclusion: This album is a must for every fan of traditional doom sounds. Eric Wagner says farewell with an amazing work – and leaves, so much obituary is allowed, an extremely big gap. In the Lonely Light of Mourning has already secured a place on my best of the year list.