There aren't a lot of records that have kept me waiting since high school. Most of the albums I've anticipated since those halcyon days of youth came out years ago and were wonderfully rewarding. Yet, it has been seven long years of desperately waiting for the new Mournful Congregation. After incalculable triumphs with The June Frost and The Book Of Kings, the only output to sate ourselves for nearly a decade was a wonderful EP, Concrescence Of The Sophia.
Suffice to say, it feels amazing to finally dig into nearly eighty(!) minutes of new material from the band. Sprawling and grandiose, but never outstaying its welcome, Mournful Congregation delivers a potent piece of funeral doom triumph that you can't help but sink your teeth into. One simply falls in love with it time and time again. Wonderfully bombastic and chock full of some of the best songwriting in the genre, The Incubus Of Karma is a brainy journey through the world of doom metal salvation.
The vast instrumentals on The Incubus Of Karma counterbalance some of the band's most impressive vocal performances to date. This dualism leads to an album with greater scope than perhaps any previous release from the group. It's also important to note: part of this stunning breadth stems from The Incubus of Karma being the Congregants' longest release yet. The sheer emotional crush of tracks like "Whispering Spiritscapes" is almost terrifying. It forces us to embrace a soundworld that can't help but draw tears—even from the most stone-hearted of metal fans.
There is a depth to the songs that serve as a reminder of how funeral doom captures us in the first place. The ethereal—and sometimes scary—sense of forward motion espoused by these tracks is comparable to the sound of mountains moving. The deeply emotional solos, in particular, are fascinating; they speak to the sheer melodic brilliance of this band and draw out the sorrow that haunts so many of us. As alienating or vast as this band might seem there is something crushingly human about their demented cries into the abyss.
20 Buck Spin and Osmose Productions, the band's labels, have been killing it lately. All things considered, Mournful Congregation's new album is certainly one of their most exciting releases to date. It has the same aura of greatness that bands like Bell Witch possess. It also captures a similar sense of pure humanity as Yob. However, it clearly identifies as something else entirely.
Lost amongst the crippling assault and mesmerized listeners, its transcendent collections of massive riffs, unforgiving song lengths, and sense of "no matter what happens, we are hurtling towards an ever blacker abyss," I still find a strange sense of hope in the poetic mysteries that surround the record. The Incubus Of Karma is an album that is going to leave any fan of the genre in awe. It is going to force one to embrace particular soundworlds that can't really be imitated anywhere else. Listening to this record is an almost spiritual experience—one I won't soon forget.