Every now and then, while minding my little ol’ business as I knock shit off my dresser like a good cat, the random thought of “Hey, whatever happened to such-and-such band” will pop into my furry cranium and, like clockwork, that band will release something new almost immediately afterward.
In this case, said band is Australian funeral powerhouse Mournful Congregation, a band that doesn’t always drop new things at a constant rate, but when they do drop those new things, they’re always heavy, reflective, and… well, mournful. As a stop-gap between albums, Mournful Congregation are dropping not one, but two EPs this year entitled The Exuviae of Gods. Part one contains two new tracks, and a reworking of a classic track from their demo days.
Opener “Mountainous Shadows, Cast Through Time” reveals all the trademarks of classic Mournful goodness: a tearful organ intro, followed by gargantuan riffs and melodies by guitarists Justin Hartwig, Ben Petch, and Damon Good, crawling thunderous drums by Tim Call, and Good’s cavernous growls and dreary spoken word all unite to submerge your sorrow like few others can.
The current three-guitar line-up, oddly enough, allows for more variance in terms of melodies and harmonies, all while making sure Ben Newsome’s bass remains audible throughout. For a fifteen-minute song, not once does it feel boring or trite; in fact, it ranks up there with “Concrescence of the Sophia” as one of their best epics.
The other two tracks on display may not hit as lofty a high, but still perform admirably. Closer “An Epic Dream of Desire,” a reworking from their second demo from 1995, sounds considerably better and tighter than their earlier days, even though the (comparatively) upbeat ending clashes against the overall vibe given off by the other two songs. It still remains a great listen, especially if you want to hear a new take on an old gem.
“The Exuviae of Gods,” the creamy middle of this sorrow-drenched Oreo, is a relatively short instrumental capping off at a little over seven minutes, and while it remains pleasant and beautiful, it doesn’t quite build up as much as its sandwiching bookends do.
While we eagerly await a new full-length album from these giants, The Exuviae of Gods – Part I is a great hold-over until Part II comes crawling forth. If you dig Mournful Congregation or funeral doom in general, this is an enjoyable2 way to spend a little over a half-hour of your day. Get your doom on!