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Masterpiece. Yet again. - 90%

KC, December 1st, 2013

Mournful Congregation is the best Funeral Doom Metal band and the most consistent one – it’s been at it since years, slowly evolving, comfortable in its own space. Its earlier albums were melancholic masterpieces, all difficult to get into, because it’s nothing immediately striking, it’s something that’s an acquired taste – you have to get into that mood, cultivate patience and try and relate to the music. Then it becomes otherworldly.

It’s not typically oppressive or crushing, nor is too saturated with keyboards and deep endless growls. It’s keeping it tasteful. Elegant. That’s the word best describing this class band. ‘The June Frost’ saw a departure from the band’s previous sound, something lighter, airier. I felt its drawback was that it wasn’t consistent enough, and the songs weren’t complete in their full expression. New album ‘The Book of Kings’ fulfills that vision, boasting of four songs, all monoliths.

The songs average 20 minutes, and you won’t notice them going by as you would any other such form of music – that’s the beauty of this band. There’s not just one riff repetition nor is it too minimalist in its scope, there’s melodies, riffs, heaviness when needed and leads to accentuate the feelings it elegantly portrays. There are shades of varying emotions in every progressive segment, nothing drastic or unwarranted. There are people who won’t like it for its apparent lack of heaviness – it’s like the knife is taken out but the wound is still hurting. And this album doesn’t let it heal throughout its duration. There’s suffering, sweet suffering.

As such ‘The Book of Kings’ is a masterpiece – if you can appreciate its art. There’s genuine feeling and this band is full of it. There’s nothing dramatic or overly mellow, as would seem to be the case initially, but the album is full of subtle blows, in a deceptive manner. And there’s beauty in it, artful, compassionate and elegant.

Originally online at Transcending Obscurity -