Over the course of nine studio albums, Tom Shear’s Assemblage 23 has become a staple of electronic music. A delicate blend of industrial and EBM, Assemblage 23’s sounds is unmistakable with its complex synth arrangements, and Shear’s warm, somber voice playing atop dance floor friendly rhythms. Mourn doesn’t deviate unnecessarily from the sound or style that Assemblage 23 has built its name upon, but in subject matter and lyrics, Shear seems to have channeled his inner goth for the appropriately titled record. From start to finish, Mourn is awash in morose poetic prose that expresses discontent, discomfort, and frustration with the state of the internal and external world that would be at home in the work of the grimmest of post-punk outfits. Starting off with one of two tracks that could easily be the theme song of 2020, “Epiphany” sets the stage of grief with a chorus that cuts especially deep with Shear’s gut wrenching delivery of “I just can’t take it anymore / This is killing me / This isn’t what I signed up for / This is misery.” Even when the BPMs are kicked up a bit, tracks like “Factory” and “Dissonance” still tackle some heavy subject matter with the former addressing how poorly we teach children to deal with emotions and the latter struggling with the difficulty of finding identity and grappling with who you are versus who you wish you were. While “Epiphany” brilliantly expresses the internal turmoil of our current times, “Welcome, Apocalypse” is equally superb in its ability to paint the picture of societal collapse we see playing out before us on a daily basis. If it isn’t obvious by now, Mourn is by no means a cheery dance album, but it is a showcase of superb lyrical work by Assemblage 23, but dancing along with it can make you feel a bit like Nero playing his fiddle as Rome burns.