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The totem of something lost... - 90%

Wilytank, November 6th, 2011

(Originally posted by me to the Metal Music Archives:

Even though they've only released a few albums, Mournful Congregation have received a nice amount of funeral doom fandom. They've actually been around for a while, but have taken some time to actually get some albums out. The Monad of Creation is my first album by this band that I've listened to.

It's a very interesting mixture to be sure. The atmosphere generated by the music here. Melodic lead guitars are abundant and there are also elements of background clean vocals, acoustic guitars, and keyboards (especially on the final track). There's also some skillful use of key changes in this album to fully take advantage of variation. "Mother - Water, the Great Sea Wept" is an excellent example of this with it changing from a lower mournful tone to a slightly lighter tone and back again. At one point in the song, there's also a point where the tempo picks up and becomes like an October Tide song. In fact, those of you familiar with October Tide may find other similarities with this album. I myself find it similar to a funeral doom version of the atmospheric death doom of Rain Without End.

The first of the shorter songs on this album, "As I Drown In Loveless Rain", presents one of the bigger let-downs of the album: parts of the atmosphere are weaker resulting in more boring elements to some of the songs. This is mostly attributed to the melodic lead guitar in this particular song getting kinda monotonous. There are other elements to help counterbalance this however like vocals that are almost whisper like in places in this song. The other shorter song, "When the Weeping Dawn Beheld Its Mortal Thirst", is entirely acoustic. It's a nice change of things, but the final track is made twice as refreshing as a result.

Though not containing some of the desired elements to make 'The Monad of Creation' a major masterpiece of funeral doom, it still is very noteworthy of an album and definitely a worthwhile listen for fans of the genre. As I am still new to the band, I definitely will check out their other releases to check on their musical progression.

A masterpiece, the epitome of sorrow: perfection - 100%

Weltering_in_Blood, March 3rd, 2011

Mournful Congregation have quite rightly earned a reputation as one of the most powerful and original doom metal acts of the past two decades. Since their first demo in 1994, they have released a small but significant discography that stands as a monument of pure, untouchable doom metal. In fact, they are one of the few important doom bands of recent times who can't easily fit into a sub-subgenre such as funeral doom, black doom, "traditional" doom, sludge, etc. Throughout their existence as a band, each new release has continually topped the previous effort. Their first two demos showed great promise, but were still rough around the edges; the band were still finding their own sound. Their first LP, "Tears from a Grieving Heart", was quite simply profound, with moments of sheer unadulterated grief that threaten to bring the listener to his or her knees in awe. This was followed by a couple of splits, which acted, but it was to be a full seven years until their second full-length. It was more than worth the wait.

From the opening chords of "Mother - Water, the Great Sea Wept", it's obvious that the listener is in for a truly overwhelming experience. The bass hits first, pouring from the speakers and vibrating the room. Then the guitars come in. I have never heard more sorrowful and heart-wrenching playing on any recording. And then the vocals, tortured and deep, alternating between a throat-shredding rasp and low-register sung parts that evoke monastic rites. I'm not going to go into a song-by-song breakdown of this album because it seems pointless: each song is perfect (not a term I throw around lightly), and each comes together as part of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

This all may seems very vague, and in some ways it is, but the fact is that words on a screen cannot even come close to capturing the power and majesty of this album. Where other doom bands may embrace the energy of death, decay and devil-worship (and that is valid, and powerful, and necessary), Mournful Congregation have perfected the sound of melancholy. Every time I listen to "The Monad of Creation" I feel like I'm being dragged into the depths of loss and pain; each time the record finishes I come out reborn. Hyperbolic, yes, but also true. There are very, very few recordings that affect me so profoundly. I give this a 100/100, which is not something I take lightly; I doubt there are even a dozen others I would give the same score to, and only two or three I can even think of off the top of my head. Indeed, I would give most of my favorite albums no higher than a 90 or 95 at best, because as great as they are there are always places where I could imagine some minor improvement. "The Monad of Creation" could not possibly be improved upon. In the best of all possible worlds, this album would still sound exactly as it does.

An Excellent Taste of Funeral Doom - 100%

Robropnkr1, December 1st, 2007

Brilliant. That is the first word that comes to a doom-drowned mind after giving Mournful Congregation's first official "full-length" album a listen. From beginning to end, start to finish, age to age of endless darkness, this album gives a sense of gloom and sadness that many bands of this particular genre lack. With only four tracks of monstrous proportions, the "congregation" has managed to tear down all walls of stereotype and in the process an incredible taste of what funeral doom should be is made.

If you are still reading, it is apparent by now that I am an avid fan of the funeral doom genre. I have been a follower of acts such as Thergothon, Skepticism, and Pantheist for quite some time now. Having a decent background in the judging of doom metal in general, I can honestly say that the Monad of Creation is an excellent album and is definitely worth more than one casual, passing listen. This is not an album to be thrown to the ground and hidden amongst the alternative, mainstream acts that seem to have overtaken the scene of metal as of late. Rather, this is an album that has taken on new dimensions of funeral darkness head on, and leaves almost nothing to be desired.

The opening track starts off mind-numbingly slow, as is to be expected. A simple, harmonizing riff drones on behind reverb-drenched drum patterns. I doubt that "Mother-Water the Great Sea Wept" ever reaches past 100 bpm or so, which definitely keeps the atmosphere of loneliness and desolation intact. The growls come in shortly after, adding new layers of heaviness to the music. The vocals on this album are quite unique, and are unlike any "tradtional" screaming I have ever heard. The sustain of the growling gives the feeling of air, or maybe of water. Either way, an atmosphere is definitely created through the use of slow, minimalistic drums, vocals, and guitar patterns. Soon the song turns to a sort of narraration with acoustic undertones hidden somewhere underneath. It is clear that this album is akin to something like a written story put to music. Reading the lyrics while listening to the album adds another dimension, creating a visual sensory experience along with the dark soundscapes already created. The song soon picks up, with the use of heavier riffs and a fuller sound. The drumming is no longer inhumanly slow, but instead keeps a rhythm that matches well with the rest of the song. The track drones on past the eighteen minute point, filled with dark, depressing soundscapes and minimalist composition.

The next three songs continue with the same basic pattern as the one described above. The feelings of droning, sadness, loneliness, desolation, and depression are constant themes throughout the album, which are carried out through the use of original instrumentation and unique vocal patterns. Many misconceptions of the funeral doom genre are put to rest with one simple listen of The Monad Of Creation. For example, the idea that funeral doom and all doom metal for that matter is unbearably slow for no reason. Mournful Congregation has clearly proved that songs can be slow and have aspects of drone while still keeping an element of beauty and harmony.

I would recommend this album to anyone who is truly interested in finding an album that transcends typical ideas and ideologies portrayed through most modern metal. If you can stand to listen to an hour or so of slow, dark music, then you are definitely in for a good ride with this album.

The epitome of doom and brilliance alike - 94%

When, October 20th, 2006

The Monad of Creation marks a pinnacle in long history of Australian funeral doom gods Mournful Congregation, in that it is their first proper full length release. They have made a great deal of musical progression over the years, captured on their two disc set The Dawning of Mournful Hymns. With the minimalistic, mind-numbingly depressing sounds that are found in their dossier of demos and splits, it's safe to assume that a full length of theirs would be like a magnum opus for the band, highlighting what they are about to the fullest extent. This also raises their fans' expectations to an exceptionally high level.

The did not dissapoint. The first sound on The Monad of Creation is the crushing single riff of a guitar tuned far down, indicative of the funerary heaviness that the listener is about to experience. The whole album is very heavy, mixing their brand of exceptionally low guitar work and slow beat, with a lot of the same type of melody that made 'The Epitome of Gods and Men Alike' such a well liked song. Damon's vocals have hardly changed, and if anything are a slightly more amplified, more devastating growl than before. He makes use of his clean voice as well at a few select moments, sometimes reduced to a faint whisper. The album also features more acoustic guitar than the band's previous outings; nearly a third of the album is acoustic. The most enjoyable feature of the album is the use of near silence, and some very quiet yet very emotive moments. The last few minutes of Mother - 'Water, The Great Sea Wept', the first track, provides the best example of the extremely bleak quietness that they manage to pull off beautifully. The album exits on a quiet note as well, not with a bang, but with a whimper, leaving the listener emotionally drained and ultimately satisfied.

This album is everything good funeral doom should be and more. Mournful Congregation have captured sublime darkness and austerity, and literally put it into music. All extreme doom fans should get their hands on The Monad of Creation.