Concrescence Of The Sophia
June 24th, 2014 – 20 Buck Spin
01. Concrescence Of The Sophia
02. Silence Of The Passed
Funeral doom is an interesting genre. If it is done wrong, it ends up being boring and un-engaging – and it is very easy to do wrong. But when it is done correctly, it rumbles the heavens and sends fools cowering for fear of their pathetic lives.
Australia’s Mournful Congregation have always been on the right side of that line, having created four full length albums, as well as a few splits of dark, atmospheric, mournful funeral doom metal. 2005’s The Monad Of Creation is considered one of the finest works of doom there is. The band have not released a full album since 2011, but have now returned with an EP titled Concrescence Of The Sophia through 20 Buck Spin Records.
This EP is only two tracks long, for a total run-time of just over thirty minutes. That is quite short by doom standards, especially for a genre that is willing to take its time to get the point across, but both seem to fit together quite well in the grand scheme of the record, however.
The opener moves slowly but surely, building a grand song that moves through themes and lead melodies with the grace of the sands of time themselves. The lead melodies are particularly touching, with harmonies to add layers to their sorrowful nature. Occasionally, vocals rumble past in drawn out growls, nicely juxtaposing the silky textures of the guitars with some harshness. The drums are sparse, serving as a bare pace-keeper, occasionally accenting the rhythm guitar chords that lend more weight to the piece.
“Silence Of The Passed” feels much darker and more foreboding, using tenser, more dissonant riffs and eerie-sounding clean guitar arpeggios. The vocals also have a larger place, sounding almost whisper-growled from the other end of a vast tunnel. The lead melodies sound more wailing than the solemnity of the previous song, and the drums seem to be just a bit heavier with dirge-like rhythms. The track almost feels too short, though; the ending is quite abrupt, perhaps trying to simulate the suddenness of death.
On the production side of things, this album is fucking beautiful. It’s mixed extremely well, with a wonderful dynamic range. Everything has a place in the mix, and each is allowed to breathe appropriately. In an age where everything is compressed to be as loud as possible, this EP is a breath of fresh air. The drums have a great sound; especially the cymbals, which have a shimmery sparkle to them. The guitar tone is truly lovely, both in lead and in rhythm. The lead has a smooth delicate quality to it, and the rhythm just feels earthy, like rich, dark soil cascading around the listeners head.
Concrescence Of The Sophia is by no means a ground breaking release. It sticks to the formula that Mournful Congregation have created: soft, pleasant, almost uplifting, and monumental funeral doom metal. That said, it is a very well-executed version of that formula. The shorter EP format perhaps is beneficial, as they don’t accidentally overstay their welcome, and both songs are quite good. The title track is a true epic, and the second is a worthy follow-up. It’s a slow, yet short, journey into a dark cavern; one that you emerge from on the other side feeling cleansed from Earthly woes.