Last August I discovered Convocation, a relatively new Finnish band with an auspicious line-up consisting of L.L., who writes the music and performs all the instruments, and M. Neuman, who handles the lyrics and vocals. L.L. is also the main man behind Desolate Shrine, whose 2017 album Deliverance From the Godless Void (reviewed here) was one of last year’s stand-out records, and Neuman is also the vocalist for the wonderful Dark Buddha Rising.
At the time of that August discovery, the Convocation Bandcamp page was populated with unmastered versions of four tracks, all of which had appeared just days before, but weren’t there for long. I was particularly taken with “Ruins of Ourselves“, a staggeringly heavy union of funeral doom and death metal. It was punishingly crushing, with titanic, gloomy chords and gut-punching percussion that together made the earth seem to quiver. Spectral guitar melodies, eerie ambient layers, and Neuman’s own haunting clean tones gave the music a ghostly atmosphere — though most of the time his vocals were terrifyingly craggy. And in addition to being stunningly heavy, the music was mesmerizing.
Just based on that one song, I was quick to write that Convocation would be “a brilliant new entry into the annals of doom/death”.
Later last year we happily announced for the first time that Convocation’s debut album, Scars Across, had been mixed and was ready for mastering — and that the Italian label Everlasting Spew Records would be releasing it by the spring of this year. And so, that is now coming to pass. The album will be released on March 30th, and today we’re privileged to bring you the premiere of the album’s stunning title track.
“Scars Across” is one of four extensive songs on the new album, which range in length from more than 10 minutes to more than 14. Each of them is remarkable.
Like all of these long compositions, “Scars Across” ignites the listener’s imagination; what you hear can’t help but reflect a part of who you are, just as it will change what you feel. To these ears, it carries the aura of a visitation of spirits, the abandonment of hope, a collapse into despair, and an ascent toward the magnificence of the stars.
The song slowly builds in power and dramatic intensity, beginning with the reverberations of a slow, beautifully haunting piano melody and spectral shimmer of ambient tones, joined by the equally haunting tones of a guitar. But with a ghastly roar and the plummet of massive chords and detonating drum strikes, the music plunges into the abyssal depths of fear and emotional ruin.
The monstrous harsh vocals are joined by soaring wails and tortured shrieks, and these gripping vocal expressions continue to trade places as the song proceeds. Without relinquishing its hold on feelings of devastating abandonment, the music itself also begins to shine and soar through panoramic waves of keyboard melody, revealing a terrible grandeur that vaults above the unfolding catastrophe. A sense of solemn awe and wonder swells the heart in this mounting crescendo, even as the heart is fracturing under the strain of grief.
The track proves to be completely transfixing, completely stunning, and although it’s early days yet in the experience of the music, the song holds the promise of something unforgettable — just as this album does as a whole.
Everlasting Spew recommends Scars Across to fans of such groups as Hooded Menace, Lycus, Loss, and diSEMBOWELMENT. The album was recorded and mixed by LL and mastered by Dan Lowndes at Resonance Sound Studio. The eye-catching, memorable cover art was created by LL, and the sigil by Misanthrophic-Art, with booklet texts fashioned by Mattias Frisk.
Pre-order options can be found through the links below, and along with our premiere of the album’s title track we’ve also included a stream of the previously released song, “Ruins of Ourselves“, which was this writer’s first experience of the album last August.
01 Disposed 14:32
02 Ruins of Ourselves 11:23
03 Allied POWs 10:17
04 Scars Across 14:06
PRE-ORDER (CD, shirts, bundles):