Review Summary: The symbol of life and death, the totem of something lost.
Adelaide, the ever so popular Australian city, would be the last place you’d expect a band such as Mournful Congregation to originate. Perhaps it was the unlikely location itself that bred the conditions under which The Monad of Creation
was envisioned, or perhaps the band’s incredible isolation was the reason why their articulate sound is different from that of their peers. Either way, you can be sure that this album is something special.
Although being labeled as funeral doom, and still abiding by the requirements of said label, Mournful Congregation carve out a completely unique niche for themselves in the genre. The Monad of Creation
introduces an entirely variant form of funeral doom; one that still delves into the usual meandering song structures and depressive themes, but with an elaborate emphasis on melody, and the prominence of melancholy over sheer extremity and weight. Not only have Mournful Congregation managed to integrate gentle and melancholic acoustic passages into their long and well crafted songs, there’s even an entire acoustic track, ‘When the Weeping Dawn Beheld its Mortal Thirst’. It isn’t filler either, as seen by its playtime of ten minutes.
The album has a penchant for lulling you into an almost dreamy stupor, not once falling into stagnation, an error made by a majority of doom bands. The vocals are quite minimal, allowing the music to take control and shape the songs. Even so, they play a vital role in the lament that is The Monad of Creation
. They range between low growls, solemn spoken word, and a mild whisper that fits very well with the acoustic backdrop. In some instances, such as the last 5 minutes of the epic title track, a combination of these vocal styles is used. The result is a somewhat soft whisper, but with harsh undertones. The title track is also the culimination of the fluidity the album had prior built upon; fusing both the serenity of the acoustic guitars and the slow drawn out fuzz of the distorted guitars, 'The Monad of Creation' creates a placid and tranquil soundscape that closes the album in a spectacular fashion.
Not unlike the soft, polished slabs of melody that make The Monad of Creation
, its lyrical imagery is both fragile, and enveloping. The lyrics make up very little of the album in terms of playing time, yet Mournful Congregation use them where it counts; intertwining with the melodies, alluding to an ethereal and grand realm, whence thou speaketh like so. Jokes aside, the correlation between the lyrics and the music is very high; a success in the attempt of cohesion.
How The Monad of Creation
sets itself apart from other funeral doom is obvious. The real question here is if this break from the norm is a success, and the answer is a whole hearted yes. The truth of the matter is that Mournful Congregation have created something delicate, bordering on intense, without committing itself to any label. Instead, they’ve forged their own identity, something which many bands seem to be incapable of doing.