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Album Review: KONVENT Call Down The Sun

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I know many reviewers out there will say things like, "This band defies categories or genres…" and sometimes those reviewers mean it and sometimes they don't, so I'll understand if you're a bit skeptical when I say Denmark's Konvent really does defy category and genre. Of course, it's really a big part of my job to try and categorize this music so that you, the reader, can decide if you want to actually keep reading. With that, I will say that Konvent falls into the realm of blackened death doom. Even if you're not a lover of this type of music there's a high likelihood you still want to give Call Down the Sun a serious listen.

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Personally, I was immediately struck by the release of the first single, "Grains," which features an amazing video. In fact, I was pestering the band's label,  Napalm Records, for a solid three weeks to get this record in my hands after I first viewed it. The video itself is breathingtakingly bleak as it depicts a journey of solitude in a series of abrasive environments. The locations change as does the course of the sun but the lonely journey remains.

"Grains" is written in Danish (their first one not in English) and vocalist Rikke tells us the track "is about realizing the repetition of self-destructive patterns and not knowing how to break out of that cycle." This video just nails that particular disposition.

There are so many things to love about Konvent, especially in these terrible times we reside in, but what makes these Danes stand out from much of the pack are the vocals. I've been listening to metal since 1982 and I've never – for real – never heard a vocalist like this. Can a lead singer be so guttural and awe-inspiring at the same time? Rikke seems to hit that unique place here. It's not nearly just "one note" growling. Tracks like "Sand Is King" feature some diversity in the vocal delivery with alternating growls and screams, all in the lower register.

Now, there's some more traditional, brooding doom here that's going to satisfy the traditionalist as well.  "Never Rest" gives us a nice dose of early Cathedral and Pallbearer vibes with a touch of Sleep. Same with the appropriately titled "In The Soot." In this respect, Konvent satisfies that old school doom listeners like myself while still offering new sounds to hook more modern fans. "Pipe Dreams" is also a great track with some Cathedral DNA and a killer video to match.

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The album's closer, "Harena," is bleak, yes, but I get a slightly different feeling listening to it. It could be the added instrumentation with the addition of what sounds like strings but it is likely more than that. While the atmosphere of brilliant 7+ minute opus is unmistakably ominous, there is something also that moves me to feel hope. It's as if after listening to the preceding eight songs about darkness and the dearth of joy that I seem to emote a heightened sense of self that drives me to do better. Whether or not that's what this highly-skilled envisioned, I don't know, but make no doubt, this is a moving piece that will affect you.

Call Down the Sun is the band's sophomore effort. Their debut was definitely quite good and a really solid listen. I will say though that the band speeds things up just a bit on this newest LP and they change time a bit more as well. Now, don't get me wrong, the new record is just as chilling and austere as their debut. It is just a bit more evolved in the songwriting.

This LP is recorded really well. All of the instruments are crystal clear and the mix is just about perfect.  That shouldn't be overlooked in this type of music. I was able to listen to this painstakingly brutal record without suffering any ear fatigue and smartly, the band integrates a two minute long "Interlude" in the middle of the record to break things a bit. Good mixing and sound is such a rarity these days with the glut of overcompressed recordings out there and the horror of subpar streaming quality (I'm looking at you Spotify).

No doubt I'm going to check this band out next time I'm across the Atlantic because I really want to hear these songs live.

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