Mournful Congregation - The Monad of Creation
Weird Truth Productions
Melodic Funeral Doom
4 songs (61 Mins)
Release year: 2005
Weird Truth Productions
Reviewed by Dee

Mournful Congregation hail from Australia which is not notorious for its doom metal, but that may soon change. This is their debut album, although the three piece band have over ten years experience alongside a small stack of demos and split releases.

The Monad of Creation is composed of four tracks, each between ten and twenty minutes in length and all possessing rather romantic, gothic titles. This is a hint as to what's to come; although I've listed them as funeral doom, there is a melodic side to their work that can be both inspiring and, yes, mournful.

First to come is "Mother - Water, the Great Sea Wept" which purports to be lyrically based upon The Iliad as well as another work, The Book of Dzyan. Even so, much of the eighteen minute piece is instrumental. The band establish a slow riff , laying the groundwork to introduce Damon Good's deep, growled vocals which are adept and atmospheric at the cost of slightly obfuscating the lyrics. Interestingly, the sound never becomes threatening or overpowering; instead, the song switches between haunting distorted sections and downright tearful acoustic passages. At times I am reminded of Agalloch and Novembers Doom, and at others, the soundtrack to the classic PC Game, Ultima Underworld. Don't laugh. The song closes with a long dual guitar section which is actually quite powerful and moving.

After the closing riff of the previous track is sufficiently tattooed upon your brain, "As I Drown in Loveless Rain" opens with a short doomy overture, showing off a few unobvious progressions and hinting at what's to come. The drumming here is very tasteful and restrained, which is good as by all accounts, this one's a dirge. The vocals are delivered in a slightly more menacing way, using whispers and hisses as well as growls, but the guitar tone is so charming that you begin to feel for the band rather than being personally depressed. Mournful Congregation are a band that have picked their name very well indeed.

"When the Weeping Dawn Beheld its Mortal Thirst" begins with some very sensitive acoustic guitar while the rhythm section remain restrained. The Novembers Doom comparison is even more striking here; spoken monotone words delivered over gothic, chiming minor chords. The brief acoustic solo is an absolute gem thanks to a sudden unexpected progression. This exquisite picture of what I interpret as a burial at sea subsides at around eight minutes. From there, a gong sounds, followed by a short echoing, ominous introduction towards the final track.

"The Monad of Creation" opens in a manner similar to "As I Drown in Loveless Rain" accompanied by a hellish organ player. The romantic, melodic vein continues through this song, which has an epic, progressive structure. The growls here are stronger than anywhere on the album, and in one particular place in this song you will see that they can be horrifying. The best elements of the previous three tracks return in this finale, backed by strong synth work; at times bizarre organ chords enhance the growls, at others the toll of a bell adds some lead to the percussion.

This is a very good album, tastes allowing, but sure to remain niche as it is a peculiar mix of styles which not many people would consciously seek out. Fans of Thergothon or the greats of melodic doom-death should investigate this album; fans of Stabat Mater or Wormphlegm will find it lacking in heaviness, and should look instead to their early demo compilation, "The Dawning of Mournful Hymns."

This deserves more than the 75 I gave it on my end of year list; obviously this one takes a little time to appreciate.

Killing Songs :
Mother - Water, The Great Sea Wept, The Monad of Creation
Dee quoted 82 / 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
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