A Band: Mournful Congregation

A little over a year ago, an online pal (hey, Tom!) turned me onto a funeral doom band to which I had never given proper attention.  I had read the name Mournful Congregation several times.  Hell, I was even a fan of the arcane sub-subgenre.  Shape of Despair served as my introduction to funeral doom (Angels of Distress is a record worth your duckets, by the way), and I came to know this glacial, dilatory music as a comfort food of sorts.  In my scholarly opinion, Mournful Congregation is the best funeral doom band on Earth.  I wager that claim applies to other planets as well.

If you're not at all familiar with funeral doom, MC may seem like a daunting project to endorse.  Yeah, the tunes are super slow and super long.  That's the gimmick.  However, these doleful Aussies (they hail from Adelaide) prioritize the one thing that extreme metal is often lambasted for brushing aside - melody.  Not counting the bassist, there are currently three guitarists bedecking the line-up.  That is great news for those of us who dig on harmonies.  Imagine the catalog of Iron Maiden jabbed with elephant tranquilizers.  Every song is carpeted with layers of guitars, bellowing high and low the euphony of sorrow.  That was a silly sentence, but trust me when I say that MC makes sorrow euphonious.

And they can shred, too!  Solos help separate this outfit from their peers.  I would highlight one particular solo, but they're all killer.  The notes chosen are just right, y'know?  As for which album to start with, I recommend reaching for 2011's The Book of Kings.  It's epic as fuck, but it won't swallow you whole.  In 2014, they released a jumbo showpiece of an EP entitled Concrescence of the Sophia that I also recommend.  It's 30 minutes of perfect doom divvied up amongst two tracks.  Easy for beginners!  What is my personal favorite MC consummation?  2018's The Incubus of Karma, which I'm afraid might be too much for someone dipping their toes into these waters.  It's gigantic.  It took countless spins to fully appreciate how fucking brilliant it is, and I don't want to weigh you down.

Did that sound turgid or pretentious?  Wait, I don't care.  This grade of funeral doom shouldn't be wasted on plebeians!  Remember, if you're going to congregate, do it mournfully.

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