Puritan Masochism

After releasing a four-song demo in 2017, all female death doom newcomers, Konvent, have now bestowed upon us their full-length debut, Puritan Masochism. Their own Bandcamp page states that it would not be a surprise if this album conjures a well-deserved revival for the entire death doom genre. That’s quite a proclamation with so many fantastic death doom albums gracing my ears from last year, including Warcrab, Swallow The Sun, and The Drowning. Let’s see how Konvent stacks up.

Honestly, I’m sorry to say, not well. Hype is so rarely good for a young band. Death doom is the perfect music for the kind of weather I am experiencing currently in my hometown. It’s raining, dark, and bleak. So, I expected this album would hit the sweet spot for me. Like a little variety and some experimentation in my death doom. I didn’t get it here.

That’s the problem with expectations. When one doesn’t get what they expected, it is sometimes difficult to reconcile with what they did receive. So, what we have here is a plodding, methodical, heavy as a really heavy thing, death doom record. Rikke’s vocals are deep, guttural, and almost inhuman. They are the absolute highlight of the record. I can’t be sure, but I feel as though she stole the soul of Martin Van Drunen (or at least the vocal cords).

Besides the vocals, there’s not much memorability. The production deserves some credit, as it is quite beefy. It is crisp, but not too clean. I can hear the instrumentation clearly, and this is the case in every venue to which I have listened, which includes my car, my earbuds, and my Bluetooth speaker at work. I have spent a lot of time with this album. Perhaps more than any other this year. It hasn’t clicked. I have seen many glowing reviews for the album, so I kept thinking; “Maybe it’s me.”

After continuous scouring, I did finally happen upon another review or two where the reception for Puritan Masochism aligns with mine, and I must admit I feel a little vindicated. Sometimes, when I am lifting or on the treadmill, the consistent beatdown will keep me motivated, maybe coax a quick head nod from me, or a fist pump, but after the album finishes, I still only remember 1 track of the 9 on the album. That track is “World of Gone,” strictly because of the repeatable chorus.  This is track 4, which is not even halfway through the album. So, the rest of the time, I will find myself looking down to see how much is left. I can’t envision a scenario where this is ever good.

With all of that in mind, I’m not saying Puritan Masochism is a bad album. Far from it, in fact. It’s just obviously not for me. There are no solos, I can’t remember any particular riff, and it feels too long. I also prefer a little more variety in my death doom, which admittedly, is a genre with which I have only recently become acquainted. Not all is lost, though. This is only Konvent’s debut album. With some time to hone their craft, play live, and grow as a group writing together, the future may be bright. There’s potential here, folks, I hope they tap into it, and maybe full length number 2 will be a monster.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
March 17th, 2020


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