Finally, the weekend is upon us. What better way to kick it off than with the latest installment of "Funeral Doom Friday". For those who are new to this column; each week features a new or classic album from the realm of extreme doom. Much of funeral/death doom's might comes from an oppressive emotional weight and the use of death or black metal motifs (played at a trudging pace, of course.) Pioneers like Mournful Congregation, Evoken, and Esoteric have mastered this blend of dirge and destruction. For 25 years, they have methodically built compositions that stretch for dozens of minutes all while keeping fans enthralled. Time has elapsed since the days of Thergothon and much like the world around us, the genre has evolved. Today's modern bands contort the very construct of the genre, breeding darkly refreshing new work. Their work thankfully gives this column plenty of material to share.
We're picking up the tempo a bit this week. Why not? This week, Funeral Doom Friday returns to Finland, a frequent stop on this weekly world journey. The duo of Convocation released their first offering not too long ago, a full-length album entitled Scars Across. Admittedly, the plan was to write about this record much sooner than now, and for good reason—it's quite excellent.
Convocation features Desolate Shrine multi-instrumentalist, LL, and Dark Buddha Rising vocalist MN. Certainly, the pedigree is there. Both members come from projects that deliver wild death and drone metal, respectively. Their pooled consciousness for this new project ultimately creates captivating death doom. On Scars Across, the pair builds four tracks that stretch well past the 10-minute mark. These long-form tracks provide ample time and space for LL to weave dense sonic landscapes. Take the opener, "Disposed," for example. Early parts of the track take more of a linear death metal approach—repetitive drum patterns and guitar chords that will make anyone's head bang. Yet, as it evolves, the drumming spaces out and riffs melt into languid pools of notes.
The vocals flex their range as well. MN seems to have one of those voices that fit with any style of metal. In the case of Convocation's dynamic death doom, his voice stretches from deep guttural growls to dreary and distant semi-cleans. A personal favorite of this is in the latter stages of "Ruins of Ourselves." The final minutes of the track meld the ranges of both band members wonderfully. Nevertheless, these moments appear all over Scars Across. The Finnish duo has certainly crafted a wonderful introduction. It will be exciting to see where this project goes from here.