Mournful Congregation
The June Frost

I’ve been swamped in quality Australian metal of late: Destruktor, Defamer, Futility, Be’lakor, Orpheus, and now my first exposure to Adelaide’s doom metal veterans Mournful Congregation. Despite being around since 1994, this is only the bands 3rd full length album and has certainly delivered a top notch doom effort that will have me seeking out their prior efforts.

Culling from two main camps of doom, Mournful Congregation have a back bone of the epic, monolithic, heavy doom acts like Ahab, Esoteric, Catacombs and such, but also have some of the despondent and beautifully tragic harmonies of early Anathema (Serenades), My Dying Bride, Mourning Beloveth, Pantheist, and some of the Scandinavian acts (Shape of Despair, Draconian, etc). The resultant album deliver a perfect semblance of somber ethereal beauty and soul crushing sadness that should see the band elevated into the genre’s internationally recognized echelon.

Starting with the mournfully melodic instrumental intro “Solemn Strikes the Funeral Chime”, the mood for The June Frost is set immediately before the 17 minute “White Cold Wrath Burnt Frozen Blood” drags you down into the depths of despair with a plodding pace laced with rending harmonies, cavernous bellows and some well placed acoustic refrains and bridges to stop things from getting monotonous. “Descent of the Flames” opens with a truly devastating riff and then lopes and lurches for nine minutes of harrowingly heavy elegance. The appropriately titled “A Slow March to the Funeral” reeks of Serenades era (think “Lovelorn Rhapsody”) with some gorgeously somber melodies over a steady… well…funeral march. The album’s standout has to be the 12 minute “Suicide Choir” which just cuts to your soul with tear inducing heft some subtle vocal layering and synths and a solo about 7 and a half minutes in to literally die for. Combined with the riff and climax that follows, the song’s latter half might be the saddest, most rending moment I’ve heard since Anathema¬†Funeral’s “The Architecture of Loss”.

Though the album centers around the four monstrous tracks mentioned above, the four other instrumental tracks (“Solemn Strikes the Funeral Chime”, “The June Frost”, “The February Winds” and “The Wreath”) while hardly ‘different’, break up the soul wilting heft with plenty of acoustics and such but the band never throws in a blast beat or anything that derails the pure, tangible sadness that oozes from every sorrow filled note.

Hopefully with this release getting a North American release via Enucleation Records (Coffins, Runemagick, Dead Congregation) this perfectly named band can get some well earned respect and publicity and get some actual artwork next time around…

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 14th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Shane

    Yes! This is what I’m talkin about. Fucking nice review

  2. Commented by: ceno

    Excellent review, Erik! I’m really intrigued.

  3. Commented by: Chris S.

    Good review as usual, I have had this album for several months now and it still gets played regularly. This is quality doom and MC deserves a place in the top tier of their genre. As for the artwork, minimalist artwork kind of fits the style.

  4. Commented by: Conjure Supreme

    Never heard of them before, very intrigued. “Macrocosmic Doom for Microcosmic Beings,” good stuff. While listening my appendages went numb and fell off.

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