ERIC WAGNER – In The Lonely Light Of Mourning

I knew Eric Wagner‘s In The Lonely Light Of Mourning was going to be a melancholy album from the start. After all, Eric Wagner only passed away a few months ago, on August 22, 2021. The former Trouble singer’s first and last solo album reflects on Eric Wagner‘s life through collaboration with friends he made over a 40-year career. In The Lonely Light Of Mourning is a triumphant tribute to the doom legend. A hugely optimistic album, it’s a gift to anybody who has ever listened to his music. If you’re a liner note reader, check out our release announcement for some interesting details.

Family Reunion

On the album opener, “Rest in PlaceWagner collaborated with his main partner in crime, Trouble and Blackfinger bandmate Dave Snyder on drums. Snyder and Wagner worked on the album for four years. On this track, as with many others, they brought in Chuck Robinson on guitar, also formerly of Badfinger. And for the bass, they worked with Ron Holzner from Trouble. As Wagner sings “we’ve come full circle, my friend.” It’s a great song that really sets the somber tone.

It’s followed by the single “Maybe Tomorrow” with the same lineup, but with Lothar Keller handling the guitar solo. The doom train keeps rolling with “Isolation,” this time with Sean McAllister, the original bass player for Trouble.

My favorite song on the disc is “If You Lost It All,” which strips it way down. It’s just Wagner accompanied by Tim Reed on drums from their band Lid and cellist Brian Gaona. The sparse composition is perfect for the soul-bearing lyrics. Beautiful is not an adjective I get to use often in metal reviews, but that’s exactly what this song is.

A Final Toast

Trouble‘s 1990 self-titled album is one of my favorites. But that’s about as far into the doom scene that I ever delved. Why would I want to listen to depressing music? I didn’t really get it. But after many listens to both In The Lonely Light Of Mourning and the 1990 Trouble album, I think I get it now. It’s honest music because life can indeed suck. Christians understand it as we’re all sinners, Buddhists know it as life is suffering, and that’s about the limit of my world religion knowledge. It’s the way life is and doom, at its core where Eric Wagner resides, is about confronting that pain head-on.

An album like In The Lonely Light Of Mourning only gets made among friends with shared passions and experiences. It transforms sadness into optimism. Wagner foreshadows what’s to come over and over again. But when the album closes with “Wish You Well”, it feels like the last toast to a lost friend. “If you are in Heaven, or in Hell — either way — I wish you well.” I wish you well, Eric Wagner.

Tracks

1. Rest in Place
Dave Snyder: Drums and rhythm guitar
Chuck Robinson: Rhythm guitar
Bass: Ron Holzner

2. Maybe Tomorrow
Dave Snyder: Drums and rhythm guitar
Chuck Robinson: Rhythm guitar
Bass: Ron Holzner
Lothar Keller: Guitar solo

3. Isolation
Dave Snyder: Drums
Chuck Robinson: Guitar
Sean McAllister: Bass

4. If You Lost it All
Dave Snyder: Drums
Tim Reeves: Bass
Brian Gaona: Cello

5. Strain Theory
Dave Snyder: Drums and rhythm guitar
Chuck Robinson: Rhythm guitar
Tim Reeves: Bass
Doug Hakes: Guitar solos

6. Walk with Me to the Sun
Dave Snyder: Drums and rhythm guitar
Chuck Robinson: Rhythm guitar
Matt Cross: Bass
Doug Hakes: Guitar solos

7. In the Lonely Light of Mourning
Dave Snyder: Drums and rhythm guitar
Chuck Robinson: Rhythm guitar
Ron Holzner: Bass
Victor Griffin: Guitar solo

8. Wish You Well
Dave Snyder: Drums
Chuck Robinson: Rhythm guitar and bass
Doug Hakes: Guitar solos

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Also, find more of my CGCM reviews here: Dave Wilks

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