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A Dark & Melancholic Opus With a Very Dismal Aura - 87%

felix headbanger, April 10th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Osmose Productions

It’s been almost seven years since the last full-length offering of Australia’s Mournful Congregation had consumed their listeners with that utter dismal aura that the quartet had always brought upon in every memorable opus that they had put out. That mentioned previous record was called “The Book of Kings” and it was released on November 1st of 2011 under Japan's Weird Truth Productions (in Asia), 20 Buck Spin (in the US), and Osmose Productions (in Europe). This year, Mournful Congregation is back once again with a new studio record that will most certainly give the fans a desolating experience which will again take you to a ride to an unknown realm where the surroundings will devour you with that utter feeling of anguish and despair.

This latest offering is “The Incubus of Karma” and it was unchained last March 23rd of 2018 via Weird Truth Productions (in Asia), 20 Buck Spin (in the US), and Osmose Productions (in Europe). With this latest record, the band had once more solidified their reputation in the funeral doom genre. “The Incubus of Karma” embraces the key attributes of funeral doom and that patently distinguishable yet seemingly difficult to match style of the band. The album holds six crushing and completely wretched tunes, two of which are instrumentals, which will pull the listeners to that deep and dark domain where despondency and melancholia cloak all its conditions.

From the smoggy-layered guitar harmonies, reverberating bass lines, austere drum work, and the cavernous low guttural howls; this fifth studio record is unquestionably a praiseworthy funeral doom material. The guitar department in “The Incubus of Karma” provides a vast amount of heart-crushing palm-muted riffs which are very emblematic of the interment-esque vibe of heaviness that the listeners are about to come across. These riffs kindle an undercurrent that weight sorrowful and negative thoughts which patently keeps the atmosphere of solitariness and barrenness pristine.

The bass area is audible and easily distinguishable though it is not as endemic as their previous four full-length releases. Still, this did not come short in reinforcing the pulverizing ingredient of the band’s music in general. While the drumming in here is, as usual, straightforward and quite easy to follow and occurring in a way that is expected; it still doesn’t dismiss the fact that the listeners are still going to be amazed by the remarkable control and tenaciousness that Jim Call (the man behind the kit who replaced Adrian Bickle) brings into the table.

Now what really awes me within every Mournful Congregation material, other than the guitar and bass sections, is the stirring vocal dispatch of Damon Good. His haunting delivery of deep and agonizing snarls completes the puzzle and performs a big part in conjuring that inconsolable ambiance in the record. The production of the record is outstanding and it really put forward all the instruments and elements of their music. It is very clean, one of the few albums with clean production that I dig, and very professionally done which helps a lot in stirring up that pessimistic mood and disheartenment vibe of the offering. Of course, this kind of mixing is crucial and of the utmost importance especially in the funeral doom genre.

All in all, this latest studio record of Mournful Congregation is a wicked and outstanding album. The guitars are heavy, the bass lines are convincing, the drumming is satisfying even with its simplicity, and the vocals are powerful enough to summon up negative emotions. The overall result of all those aspects working together well is a stunning addition to their already remarkable discography. If you are a fan of funeral doom and Mournful Congregation, then you should add this album to your collection. This is a very excellent material for veterans of the genre and for novices of the aforementioned music style.

Originally featured on Metalegion Magazine issue #3 (http://www.metalegion.com/content/)