Review Summary: The soundtrack to the very demise of life, filled with rage, filled with hope. The Incubus of Karma speaks volumes.
The slow, ever present sound of entrapment seeps through your fibres. The feeling is subtle, but completely unwavering. It doesn’t matter that you can’t identify the source or even find solace in your confinement. The feeling presses, intensifies and makes you consider every dormant moment that precedes that one undeniable feeling. The oppression is real, malignant and forever confronting. It’s this feeling that keeps you from sleep or even knowing if you’re awake. After a while your senses burn with questions: Is this real" Am I alive" How does this end, if it even ends at all"
It’s been seven long years since Mournful Congregation graced us with an audible form of their signature funeral doom. This (largely) Australian act reaffirm why they sit squarely on the proverbial mountain top while their subordinate’s bring cups filled with the darkest of red wines and pay homage to a sound that is undeniably Mournful Congregation. Simply put, The Incubus Of Karma
is an eighty minute long testament to all the best that funeral doom metal has to offer this decade, continuing the band’s doom supremacy found within their last release, The Book Of Kings
. The music is typically slow, expansive and swirls with the type of melancholic oppression found only in your everyday Mournful Congregation album. After a six tracked peregrination, The Incubus Of Karma
positively exhausts the listener with a virtuosic, well-written compositional force, revelling in the near-daunting run time and the majesty of the band’s ever-present atmospheric nuances. Mournful Congregation’s 2018 tome treats listeners’ with one of the year’s strongest records to date while building on the foundations of the past.
It’s important to look back at the band’s previous releases. It further allows you to appreciate the sheer gravity and the fall or rise of a band’s path, better understanding what “the now” is. For most, this means a winding journey through the band’s back catalogue. For fans, the feeling is still fresh even after a seven year wait. The Book Of Kings
spoke great lengths of the band’s musical direction. The album shed light on the variable direction Mournful Congregation would inevitably take; stripping back on the layers by taking a “less is more” approach to their compositions. Now with The Incubus Of Karma
achieving a melodic scope on the trademark dirge the band’s direction is clear and reaching, complemented by warm acoustic sections and almost cavernous spoken word.
For those familiar with Mournful Congregation’s typical soundscape, simple descriptions become sweeping terms, just falling short of achieving hyperbole. It’s descriptors like this that are unable to fully define the actual sound the band portrays, never coming close to providing the perfect descriptor for the unwavering atmosphere that permeates from the speakers. It’s also clear that new listeners would also fail to see any matter of words on a page and run parallels with what The Incubus Of Karma
actually is. Even as one track rolls into the next, there’s always a need to pull one or two songs out as a highlight. The album’s title track is a certain highlight, bridging a world of oppressive doom with warm melodic leads. The track itself lends to the possibility of being the band’s finest single composition, even though it’s clearly shorter than the usual Mournful Congregation fair. As a whole it’s worth noting that this time around this Australian act has opted for shorter tracks (don’t worry there’s still a twenty minute mammoth composition closing the album). It allows the album to be more cohesive, stripped back while maintaining the atmospheric depth found on all the band’s full lengths. At the same time The Incubus Of Karma
becomes almost minimalist in nature, but only slightly in comparison to the group’s naturally massive sound.
Overall it’s hard to pen just how The Incubus Of Karma
will make each listener feel, assuming they can reach past the void found within their soul. From the opening notes of “The Indwelling Ascent” to the closing tomes of “A Picture Of The Devouring Gloom Devouring the Spears Of Being” Damon Good has achieved a new level in his deep and meaningful verses. If it wasn’t for his near apocalyptic delivery growling his way through a world built on powerful riffs, beautiful lead work and perfectly presented spoken word. As a whole The Incubus Of Karma
is refined but massive, highlighting the fact that Mournful Congregation is one of doom’s leading acts while also showcasing another contender for 2018’s album of the year.