Mournful Congregation
The Incubus of Karma

 

It seems like every year there is a handful of massive funeral doom albums that are so meticulous that they take numerous listens to analyze.  Funeral doom in and of itself can vary depending on artist and approach to instrumentation.  This writer was caught a bit off guard in discovering Mournful Congregation’s fifth full length release The Incubus of Karma.  Granted, it has been since 2011 that these guys have released an album (The Book of Kings).   What was really surprising for me was the label that is putting out this effort.  Osmose productions are not exactly known for beautiful crystal clear funeral doom bands.  When I think of Osmose Productions currently I think of a multitude of grim black metal bands.  Going further back in time I think of releases like Immortal’s Battles From The North or Marduk’s Opus Nocturne or to get a little bit weird how about Diabolos Rising? Much like the game of Sesame Street “Which one of these is not like the other?” Mournful Congregation’s latest release adds some unique depth to the Osmose Productions catalog.

On to the album itself, this one is a monster! Clocking in at over eighty minutes in length.  This is definitely an album to find time for and lose yourself in.   There are only six tracks on The Incubus of karma.  The shortest track is the opening instrumental “The Indwelling Ascent” which clocks in at a whopping three minutes and ten seconds.  The track itself feels like you being pulled towards an ethereal light.  Each guitar note sustains and is held with a great amount of methodical preparation. The layered notes blend into harmony and sometimes three part harmony.  I found it hard to move the first time listening to this the first time through.  I may have been experiencing auditorial bliss paralysis as every note held my attention. With a career spanning over twenty five years these Australians no time in reintroducing what they do well and let the listener know that the album they are listening to has been methodically arranged and masterfully performed.  We are only one song into this so far!

The Incubus of Karma has a unique flow to it.  When four of the six songs are over fifteen minutes and the other two songs are three to five minutes it creates some unique paths as you listen to it. “The Indwelling Ascent” does a fantastic job of segueing into the next track, “Whispering Spiritscapes”. This album does take a bit of patience to get into. The layered guitar work of Damon Good and Justin Hartwig dirges with a sense of utter melancholy. It takes until the third song to get to any vocal parts. Bringing back memories of older My Dying Bride and Anathema records. This is also the first longer track on the album clocking in at nearly sixteen minutes. Good’s vocals blend perfectly with the double and sometimes tripled up harmony lines.  The build to the first clean section is on point and is truly a unique listening experience.

“Scripture of Exaltation and Punishment” is probably my favorite track on the record.  Opening up with a chiming bell section that segues nicely into some continued meticulously morose riffing. Like a funeral procession the way the guitar hooks work with the simplicity of Tim Call’s drumming is at time emotionally jarring which is exactly what one would want out of a good Funeral Doom Record. Being six years since there last release. Mournful Congregation have built gorgeously brooding album that is a fence clearing home run. So far, this is the strongest release of 2018 for Funeral Doom. It is still early in 2018 but this is going to be a hard record to top for this genre. Off the charts good.  If I had my druthers I would venture out to Migration festival in Pennsylvania this summer to see them live.  With as locked in as this entire record is on record it makes me extremely curious to see what there live sound entails.  Buy this immediately.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick K
March 26th, 2018

Comments

  1. Commented by: Sniippy

    Their ep was out in 2014…


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