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3.76 | 5 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2011


1. The Catechism of Depression (19:19)
2. The Waterless Streams (12:18)
3. The Bitter Veils of Solemnity (12:02)
4. The Book of Kings (33:10)

Total Time 76:49


- Adrian Bickle / Drums
- Justin Hartwig / Guitars
- Damon Good / Vocals, Bass, Guitars

About this release

Weird Truth Productions, November 1st, 2011

Thanks to UMUR for the addition


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Funeral death metal is one of those subgenres which seems to rely on an easily-replicable formula - take long, extended songs, cavernous production values, and sluggish, drawn-out deathdoom riffs, should be a snap, right? Just take the Esoteric checklist and run with it.

Of course, like many such subgenres it really isn't that easy; the difference between good and average funeral doom hangs on a knife-edge, and is all to do with how well your application of the general approach creates an atmosphere. Here, it doesn't seem to happen somehow - Mournful Congregation groan all the right groans, but the overall effect leaves me cold.
Time Signature
The bitter veils of solemnity...

Genre: funeral doom metal

So, the summer has come to an end. Autumn has arrived, and the leaves are falling of the trees as the days get shorter and darker. Life basically crumbles away in preparation for the cold and dark of winter. Your mood drops every so slightly every day, and you know that a seasonal depression is on its way.

Well, Mournful Congregation's "The Book of Kings" would be the perfect soundtrack for this time of year. The music is slow, depressive and, of course, very expressive. There are only four tracks on the album, one of which is about 33 minutes long, so obviously Mournful Congregation is a band that does not rush through things. Apart from 'The Bitter Veils of Solemnity', which is a mostly acoustic piece, the tunes on this album are slow and heavy downtempo doom metal epics with lots of melancholic melodies and guitar harmonies, and a lot of variation in terms of structure and degrees of slowness.

And, yes, downtempo music can be very melodic... you have the proof in this very album!

Especially, the 33-minutes long title track is a true epic journey through various landscapes of depression, melancholy, oppression, desperation, and crestfallenness - in other words, it is a doom metal masterpiece.

The vocals are growled, which I normally do not like in doom metal, but on "The Book of Kings" the growls work extremely well, and they are also accompanied by moaning vocals and droning chants every now and then.

Fans of downtempo melodic depressive doom metal will certainly enter into suicidal depressions if they do not check out this beautifully dark and tortured funeral doom release.

Members reviews

(Notice: Originally written for Encyclopedia Metallum, but rejected for formatting, but I have fixed it.)

Mournful Congregation, along with Esoteric and Evoken, are one of the more renowned and "popular" bands in the funeral doom metal genre. Never having heard of Mournful Congregation, and already being very fond of Esoteric, I decided to check this band out. Well, what better way to start with their new 2011 album, "The Book Of Kings"?

Mournful Congregation are a funeral doom trio from South Australia. Formed in 1993, it consists of Damon Good (vocals, guitar and bass), Justin Hartwig (bass) and Adrian Bickle (drums). To be honest, Mournful Congregation, like many other funeral doom metal bands, are not too original, in fact not really original at all, but they still know how to deliver good funeral doom influenced by all the classics of the genre.

The songs on here are all very long, ranging from 12 minutes to over half an hour, the album in total being 77 minutes, but rarely do they drag on or get boring. Upon listening to this album, I realized that Mournful Congregation are very skilled songwriters, given the fact that they can keep their songs captivating even throughout their massive lengths.

Damon Good, the vocalist who also plays bass and guitar, is absolutely stunning. He doesn't sound human, but (as cliche as it sounds) rather like the roaring of Cthulhu in a catacomb deep beneath your feet. He also delivers an occasional whisper also typical of the genre. Still, not original for the style, but definetely great. The lyrics are also very well written, crooning tales of misery, depression and ancient times. His guitar work is also quite good, with riffs that range from beautifully sorrowful whines ("The Waterless Streams"), to chilling acoustic passages ("The Bitter Veils of Solemnity"), to crushingly heavy percussive riffs (25:19 of the title-track).

While the first three songs are all good, they can not compare to the likes of the title-track, "The Book of Kings" which is one of the best funeral doom songs I have ever heard, if not the. Every second of this song is pure audial gold, and with this song MC nailed the whole idea of funeral doom spot on. At over half an hour, the song goes through various changes and stays at it's slow pace yet never gets boring (a nice feat. given it's length, as I explained earlier). The guitar melody around the 3:23 mark or so is one of the most sad and depressing melodies my ears have ever had the (dis?)pleasure of listening to. The song is chock full of good riffs, haunting melancholy, and a terrible sense of foreboding dread lingering on the air, and I begrudgingly admit that I have come damn near close to tears listening to this track.

Mournful Congregation, while they might not be the best funeral doom band in the world, did a really good job with this album. While it is a rather good place to start for the genre, I wouldn't dive right in, as this type of music can be incredibly boring for the average listener, but that is mainly the case with all funeral doom. If you are an average listener of Esoteric, Skepticism, Catacombs etc., then you won't be disappointed. If you're still not convinced, just download the title-track as it is a masterpiece.

Highlights: "The Book of Kings", "The Bitter Veils of Solemnity".

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