(Our friend Vonlughlio from the Dominican Republic wrote the following review of the new album by Australia’s Mournful Congregation, which was released last Friday by 20 Buck Spin.)
Today as I write this, the 23rd of March, is the release date of Mournful Congregation’s The Incubus of Karma. I discovered them via their 2005 sophomore release, The Monad of Creation (which is my favorite release of theirs), and the seven-year wait for a new full-length has proved to be worth it. They did a fantastic work with this release.
For this small write-up I wanted to take some needed time to listen to all their catalogue (from the first album up to the new one). I like to do this after listening to the current release. I find it interesting to discover how a band’s sound has evolved (or not). I want to be able to make an overall assestment of the band’s work and to put a stamp on my favorite albums, and also to read the lyrics and the stories behind them, or to reflect on what I come up with in my head to make sense of them.
This type of genre makes me reflect on life experiences, on depression and self-doubt (which is a constant inner battle for me), and relax into my own self. Somehow it serves as theraphy. Listening to this band leads to introspection, to an evaluation of life, to the confrontation of depression and sorrow with melancholy. Mournful Congregation are one of the few bands in this genre whose sound and song structures keep the listener engaged and on the brink even as an hour has passed.
I love how the songs have been structured in this new release, with feelings of hope and retribution in the guitar riffs and solos in some sections of the songs. The spoken words in some parts provide greater depth to the story, and of course the harsh growls are pefect. This time around the sound of the drums also gave me an old school vibe.
Length-wise, the album clocks above an hour, which is standard in MC releases, and it passes smoothly, with no dull moments whatsoever. Songs like “The Indwelling Ascent” and “The Incubus of Karma” are the shortest at 3:10 and 5:48 minutes respectively. Each of these songs serves as a sort of intro to what I would call the first and second chapters of the album.
As mentioned in an early paragraph, I enjoy listening to a band’s full catalogue to discover how the sounds have changed and to try to compare each album to the others. In this case, I’ve been unable to do that. The band have maintained their overall signature sound and approach to songwriting, although each release is different in ways that demonstrate the creativity of the musicians in this project, most memorably in the guitar work, which is consistently outstanding.
Writing this, I am currently listening to the album for a third time, and finding myself thinking again about life and its daily challenges, and reflecting on what it has been and what’s to come. The great musicianship of Mournful Congregation is able to take us on a mental journey full of sorrow, despair, and hope. I applaud them for the feeling they put into this release, and the power and immediacy with which it’s conveyed in the chapters of this magnificent effort. As time has passed they surely have become my favorite band in the genre, and I wish them all the recognition they deserve throughout the world.
as I am listening, guess I’ve reached my favorite song off this beast: The Rubaiyat (الرباعيات): arabic for “quartets”;
and I wonder why they picked this name…