Mournful Congregation - The Incubus of Karma
Osmose Productions
Funeral Doom Metal
6 songs (79' 48")
Release year: 2018
Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Andy

Australian funeral doom stalwart Mournful Congregation returns after the all-too-brief taste of their trademark sound that we received four years ago in the Concrescence of the Sophia EP. This time we get a longer sampling, that feels longer still due to its crawling pace.

Unlike their contemporaries, Damon Good and his not-so-merry men don't put any menace into their sound. Listen to Evoken for creaking descents into ever-greater darkness, or Esoteric for psychedelic unhingement, but Mournful Congregation's stock in trade is cathartic sorrow, and every one of their songs is drowned in it. Hollow tones of funeral bells mark the beat of the intro instrumental, but after that the mourning really gets underway with the dragging riff of Whispering Spiritscapes. The choice of Portland death-doom drummer Tim Call for this album was an inspired one. I had the pleasure of seeing him open for Asphyx with Sempiternal Dusk last year and both his drumming and vocal style were fantastic; both are used by the band here. While Whispering Spiritscapes possesses cavernous death metal qualities, The Rubaiyat is the more classic Congregation tune in my opinion: An eighteen-minute march to the burial ground with the guitars solemnly ringing to a background of organ and violin, led by Good's whining lead guitar.

The band's sonic atmosphere has changed only slightly since Mournful Congregation released its first full-length in 1999, but it's gotten more textured, incorporating more introspective breaks from the crushing chord progressions and occasional noise-filled chordless strum that make up the backbone of the music. There are more guitar meanderings than in days of yore, and dim yet despairing chants, sounding more like a congregation of the dearly departed than living mourners, arise in response to muttered or whispered clean-vocal utterances from Good as if to a morbid sermon. Despite the length of the album, the tracks each have their own personality, with the possible exception of A Picture of the Devouring Gloom Devouring the Spheres of Being, which might stretch the patience of even dedicated listeners with some of its pretty but ultra-slow clean breaks. I liked it, but one has to admit that it was slow even by Mournful Congregation standards.

Like everything about their music, the evolution of the Mournful Congregation sound has been slow but relentless. Don't expect any major changes in The Incubus of Karma, but it is a thing of beauty.

Killing Songs :
Whispering Spiritscapes, The Rubaiyat, Scripture of Exaltation and Punishment
Andy quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Mournful Congregation that we have reviewed:
Mournful Congregation - Concrescence of the Sophia reviewed by Andy and quoted no quote
Mournful Congregation - The Book of Kings reviewed by Alex and quoted 90 / 100
Mournful Congregation - The Monad of Creation reviewed by Dee and quoted 82 / 100
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