Mournful Congregation – “The Incubus of Karma” 2CD (Osmose Productions)
Formed in 1993, this Aussie band have risen in their 25 year career to become a recognised name in the funeral doom genre. Receiving wide spread critical acclaim for their 2011 release ‘The Book Of Kings’, Mournful Congregation have taken 7 long years to release this album but hey, it’s a double release so I guess they’ve made up for it! Rooted in heavy doom played at plod pace, the dual guitars of founder vocalist Damon Good and Justin Hartwig are at the centre of the maelstrom, unhurriedly unleashing reverb drenched darkness along with growls, roars and haunting rasps to measure! That said, when the duo want to, they deliver some lush, incredibly melodic tones that are a mixture of melancholy, but equally illuminate and are uplifting along almost trippy, Floydian lines. On a coupla occasions I did wonder if they were heading into the solo on ‘Nothing Else Matters’ by Metallica ha ha! But, for the most part, Mournful Congregation live up to their reputation on gargantuan 15 minute+ tracks of epic darkness and gloom although their true talent and undoubted worldwide appeal is in keeping the attention of the listener, which they do masterfully through the alternating moods and atmospheres of the songs. As such, what’s seems like a daunting (and not to mention depressing prospect) of listening to ‘Scripture of Exaltation & Punishment’ and ‘The Rubaiyat’ – not mention the colossal 22 minutes of ‘A Picture of The Devouring Gloom Devouring the Spheres of Being’ – is actually welcomed with warm embrace and heart breaking sadness along the lines of My Dying Bride thanks to the amazingly rich soundscapes on offer here through the intricate guitar work, be it in lengthy solos or beautifully woven interludes. Whatever the case, Mournful Congregation do a spectacular job and deserve their reputation. Whoever said death was not appealing…..?