Mournful Congregation
The June Frost


4.0
excellent

Review

by rasputin USER (196 Reviews)
February 2nd, 2009 | 65 replies | 13,471 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: the monad of evolution.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Mournful Congregation are one of the most unique bands one would have the pleasure of hearing – funeral doom is not known for its diversity, and even though the obvious characteristics of the sub-genre apply to the band, such as wallowing tempos and despondent atmosphere, Mournful Congregation’s approach is hardly expected. Their use of acoustics and their overly melodic nature, although being represented to some extent by other bands, is what defines Mournful Congregation as a group. The June Frost comes after their monumental release The Monad of Creation, and it’s safe to say that Mournful Congregation have lived up to any expectations fans of the band may have had. Moreover, there has been a significant evolution in their sound; the usual tenets of their distinct brand of funeral doom are here, but the album is far more accessible than their previous release, which was simply four very long tracks. The shorter track lengths on The June Frost make a noteworthy difference in how it is approached, and in various ways the album is much more accessible than one would imagine a funeral doom album to be. As an album of such high ambitions, it must be pointed out that the epic feel of its music does not completely measure up to that of The Monad of Creation, but it still, to a great extent, does superbly in creating a mournful and bleak atmosphere, while being both aesthetically pleasing and relatively accessible.

Unlike a lot of funeral doom, Mournful Congregation do not rely on repetition of musical themes as the driving force of their music; it’s common for such blatant drone elements to be incorporated with funeral doom, but Mournful Congregation prove that it is not a necessity. Contrary to creating a hypnotic and mesmerising atmosphere through recurrent ideas, Mournful Congregation pride themselves on their compositional skill, making sure that there is always an element of diversity inherent in their music, and in most cases this is the crux of their success. The June Frost is just as much of a compositional accomplishment as The Monad of Creation, albeit in a slightly different manner; where the earlier album was four separate and enveloping journeys through the band’s signature mournful soundscapes, The June Frost is seemingly a single composition on its own, not a collection of songs. The brunt of this is borne by the longer tracks, but it is the shorter ones which complement the longer in order to create a complete and fulfilling album; it is this fluidity which ultimately makes The June Frost such a satisfying listen.

Although being considered extreme metal, Mournful Congregation are remarkably palatable to those who do not often dabble in the genre. Aside from the occasional moments of brutality that are sprinkled across the album, The June Frost, much like all of Mournful Congregation’s work, does not have any ‘heavy’ moments. There are passages where the mood can be described as ominous or perhaps menacing, but the album, and Mournful Congregation’s style in general, is not one that is really heavy at all. The band’s emphasis on acoustic guitars, both on their own and in collusion with the saturating effect of the electric guitar, really gives a melancholic and mellow feel to the album. Moreover, the album’s actual structure and the nature of its melodies really repress any possible notion of heaviness; even the blast beat driven section in ‘Suicide Choir’ sounds mournful rather than heavy, making listeners absolutely sure that the band’s name is the most fitting they could have chosen.

Opening the album, ‘Solemn Strikes the Funeral Chime’ is an almost perfect precursor to The June Frost’s musical aesthetic. It begins with the slightly muffled ringing of a church bell, around which the song builds itself, organs laying the groundwork before the guitars and their respective feedback complete the sonic saturation. The album has a very large focus on far reaching lead guitar lines, which often play over slower yet intricate melodies provided by the rhythm guitar, sometimes feeding off of each and at other times going their own separate ways, though remaining in a state of coherence. With a short yet beautiful guitar line leading the song, the opening track wastes no time in introducing this technique to us while its effervescence washes over the listener.

For the most part, The June Frost is a very ethereal sounding album; its largely solemn feel is complemented by the band’s tendency to write meandering and dreamy melodies. The album’s lucid production is very apt, remaining clear but not overly so, thus allowing there to be a certain merger between the various parts of the music to create a saturating wall of sound. The vocals are simply another element of the album, and in no way direct it more than the instruments; more often than not they complement the particular song’s melody, and generally fade into the ambience. It’s actually to the album’s favour that the vocals take the backseat; tracks like ‘The June Frost’ are completely instrumental and absolutely amazing, and the inclusion of the low and sluggish growls would definitely detract from their effect.

The June Frost, much like The Monad of Creation, is an album with a specific direction in mind, and this most evidently shows in its composition. It’s the result of a long process of deliberation, and one can tell how much effort has gone to its construction in the way it flows, with almost nothing impeding its motion. Along with this, it’s also the result of a long process of evolution; the band has been writing music for over fifteen years now, and although that little bit of subjectivity allows one to slightly favour earlier releases such as The Monad of Creation over this one, it would not be unwise to say that the band is at the very peak of its career. Highly recommended.



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Chart.
3.9
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Comments:Add a Comment 
rasputin
February 2nd 2009



14538 Comments


Two things that I didn’t elaborate on in the review: there is a definite similarity to Agalloch’s style in this album, especially in the lead guitar lines, and the title of ‘The June Frost’ is very refreshing to see.

gaslightanthem
February 2nd 2009



5209 Comments


unique

fireaboveicebelow
February 2nd 2009



6837 Comments


how convenient, I just footage from their first show

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50nC6-0RrcM

rasputin
February 2nd 2009



14538 Comments


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50nC6-0RrcM

That's an awesome clip. I hope they drop in on Perth when/if they tour at home.

fireaboveicebelow
February 2nd 2009



6837 Comments


well I'd tell you how I think of the first track but the download says 25 minutes remaining so all I can say now is thanks for the review because this looks awesomeThis Message Edited On 02.02.09

jrowa001
February 2nd 2009



8750 Comments


i really like their previous album, but i havent listened to this one yet. im trying to catch up on a lot of my doom albums so this will be heard soon

poweroftheweez
February 2nd 2009



1290 Comments


sounds cool.

jingledeath
February 2nd 2009



7104 Comments


I thought you said this wasn't that good? ah well, now I have to get this and The Monad of Creation.

Essence
February 2nd 2009



3583 Comments


Still don't like the first sentence.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
February 2nd 2009



17204 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Monad was so good. I gotta hear this.

Zoo
February 2nd 2009



3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[quote=JackTiger]Still don't like the first sentence.[/quote]
AHA. Even he agrees.

The myspace track was badass so I'll have to get around to this sometime soon.

rasputin
February 2nd 2009



14538 Comments


I thought you said this wasn't that good? ah well, now I have to get this and The Monad of Creation.

Not quite as good as Monad, but more listens proved very fruitful; it's a grower, much like Monad.

Wizard
February 2nd 2009



19335 Comments


funeral doom is not known for its diversity,


Esoteric dude.

its largely solemn feel is complemented by the band’s tendency to write meandering and dreamy melodies.


Dear fuck, I want this now.

Damn rasp, you write so much better then that asshole Devsol. If he were here right now, I square him in the face.
Seriously, this sounds like it would make me squirt a load or two.


Digging: YOB - Clearing The Path To Ascend

BallsToTheWall
February 2nd 2009



44164 Comments


I guess I could take a peak at this.

fireaboveicebelow
February 2nd 2009



6837 Comments


*peek

rasputin
February 2nd 2009



14538 Comments


Balls moves mountains.

TricksterGRex
February 2nd 2009



2087 Comments


So he's a post rock band now?

gaslightanthem
February 2nd 2009



5209 Comments


idk if i would like this :/

rasputin
February 2nd 2009



14538 Comments


[quote=balls]
I guess I could take a peak at this.[/quote]
[quote=me]Balls moves mountains.
[/quote]


So he's a post rock band now?
No.

TricksterGRex
February 2nd 2009



2087 Comments


Yeah I got it, was just making a gay joke.



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