SILENT PATH – Mourner Portraits

SILENT PATH - Mourner Portraits
  • 3/10
    SILENT PATH - Mourner Portraits - 3/10


Release date: October 13, 2009

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Atmosphere is an important ingredient in Black Metal. A good album of this particular subgenre is usually one that brings up entire scenes within your imagination while listening to it. When listening to Emperor’s In The Nightside Eclipse, one could imagine satanic rituals of demon summoning by a demented warlock, while putting a good old Satyricon CD in the tray brings images of snowy mountains and dark forests, and Burzum’s Det Som En Gang Var brings up a crazy dude burning churches.

To its credit, Silent Path’s Mourner Portraits achieves a very dark and melancholic atmosphere. The intro track sets the initial eerie tone that persists through the rest of the album. Singing is almost non-existent, and most tracks clock around 7 minutes, totaling at a little over 54 minutes.

The production of this release is a huge downside. While the guitars only partly achieve the distinct Black Metal cold sound so many bands of the subgenre aspire to get, the drums sound rather bad, even for ones that have been computer generated. Many ambient sounds and other clips come and go, some fitting and some just plain weird, such as a radio announcement of Hitler’s death in “Epic Suicide” and the witch haunting sound clip taken from the zombie survival horror computer game Left 4 Dead, at the end of “Filth Of Mankind”.

Musically, most riffs consist of 2 repeating chords that go for a dissonant, sad feeling with the occasional lead guitar adding to the mix. Simplicity, though, isn’t necessarily Black Metal’s curse, but rather a blessing, as long as the aforementioned atmosphere exists convincingly. Still, a veteran BM listener might be bothered by the overall similarity of tracks. One can find it hard to distinguish between some of them, as the same chord progressions (if you can call them that) and sometimes even the same chords are used over and over again without much variation in tempo or hooks of any kind.

Overall this release is an ambitious one but also very lazy. The ability to create an atmosphere seems to have become so overrated, that ambient sounds and overwhelming lengths of tracks have come to replace musical ingenuity in some cases, this album being one of them. With tracks that don’t offer much in the way of innovation or variety, one might be saddened not by the atmosphere but by being bored.


  • Daniel Sherman

    Daniel was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Rishon Le-Zion, in Central Israel. He listens to almost all types of metal but his absolute favorite ones are Old School Thrash, Old School Floridian Death, Blackened Death and Heavy Metal. Bands that influenced him a lot musically are Metallica, Dissection, Slayer and Iced Earth. At 16, he picked up the electric guitar, after playing the classical one for a while. By that time, he was listening to bands like Kreator, Death, Bolt Thrower and In Flames, and soon moving on to bands like Dissection, Necrophobic and Sacramentum. In 2009, he joined Switchblade, founded by another ex-member of Metal Express Radio, Lior Stein, as a rhythm guitarist.

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