Mournful Congregation – The Incubus Of Karma

Even if they are among those who more than others remind us of the transience of existence, musicians devoted to funeral doom normally take their time to compose new records, as if for them, on the contrary, the time available was unlimited. From this bizarre contradiction, if we want, however, punctually come out discs capable of marking the fans of the genre for a long time, so that, absurdly, only one record per year of the level of this The Incubus Of Karma would be enough to fill even the slightest feeling of emptiness. The last full length of Mournful Congregation, Australian band unanimously recognized in the elite of the genre, dates back to 2011 (the magnificent The Book Of Kings), while to find other unreleased material of the band we still have to go back to 2014, with the ep Concrescence Of The Sophia. If some minimal recrimination can derive from the avarice of composition of Damon Good and his companions, a few notes of The Indwelling Ascent are enough to forgive them every past, present and future sin: three minutes of painful guitar melodies wrap us communicating that something in the modus operandi of Mournful Congregation has definitely changed. If Whispering Spiritscapes winds for a long time in line with the past production of the band is only to mislead us partially, because in the end of the song returns a melodic vis that will be found in the following The Rubaiyat, dutifully clarifying that all the nouns and adjectives used should be reparameterized taking into account that we are still talking about funeral doom. After all, I think that anyone, having to choose whether to be accompanied in Hades by force of blows or held by the hand by some ethereal creature, would opt for the latter, which is basically what Mournful Congregation decide to do, which do not spare us neither pain nor despair but convey everything in a less harsh way than in the past. The lead guitar is the dominant instrument of the album, and even when it doesn’t remain constantly on the proscenium, those sudden openings come that provide the shivers of emotion sought by those who consider the genre the supreme art form. Forty minutes of rare intensity have passed, enough for anyone to thank the Australian band for what it offers with this comeback and, instead, three more tracks await us for as many moments of funeral doom at the highest level, with a pattern all in all similar to what we heard before. Then comes the title track, a shorter instrumental track that gives an oasis of peace with a soft guitarism in its alternation between electric and acoustic solutions, before falling back again in the darkest episode of the album, Scripture Of Exaltation & Punishment, where we find the Mournful Congregation more folded in their introspective idea of pain; even here, however, the melodic lines are well present in a sort of emotional crescendo that annihilates in its painful beauty. Astonished by the level of an album of rare intensity and with eyes still moistened, not everyone could be ready to welcome the over twenty minutes of A Picture Of The Devouring Gloom Devouring The Spheres Of Being, another amazing song that goes to create an emotional continuum with respect to the previous one: in front of such an exhibition of mastery in handling the genre you soon run out of adjectives and it remains, so, that let flow inside us this music unparalleled for the feelings that manages to evoke. When most of the bands, after more than two decades of honorable career, and with an acquired status of absolute masters in their field, often limit themselves to insert the autopilot to re-propose albums maybe valid but inevitably faded compared to what has already been done, Mournful Congregation publish a masterpiece that will remain obviously relegated to the restricted parish of funeral doom and its faithful followers: Damon Good, Justin Hartwig, Ben Newsome and Tim Call have decided to make more explicit the sense of loss, the anguish and the perception of temporariness that is inherent in each of us and that can be expressed in different ways. The one chosen by those who play doom, such as Mournful Congregation, is a cathartic and melancholic identification with a universal pain that only a few, as if they were mediums, are able to make their own and then transmit it in a continuous flow to the listener, thus creating a sort of endless empathic circle.

2018 – Osmose Productions