Convocation – No Dawn for the Caliginous Night (Everlasting Spew Records)

Wednesday, 20th December 2023
Rating: 9.5 / 10

Doom metal is unequivocally linked with a bevy of feelings. When done right, it’s downtrodden, weighty, emotive, even cathartic. These characteristics draw my brain towards this style, and we assume those of a similar predisposition know said attraction well. There have thankfully been more bands excelling in the land of solemn drawn out notes and intense suffering recently – Godthrymm, Sorcerer, and Ahab are but a few that come to mind – and that hearse isn’t stopping. Convocation is one of the best that not everyone knows about, which truly is a shame. The Finnish duo of Lauri Laaksonen (credited as LL, also of Desolate Shrine, all instruments) and Marko Neuman (credited as MN, vocals) have released two impressive albums since 2018, and are here with a third, No Dawn for the Caliginous Night.

Convocation adds a hint of death metal into the formula, and does so in a way that makes them a smidgeon more abrasive than some of their contemporaries. It works nicely for their niche, while maintaining all of the required pieces. Massive organ sounds and plodding guitars open “Graveless yet Dead,” with mournful cellos (all instances throughout fby Antti Poutanen of Devenial Verdict/Church of the Dead) and gravelly vocalizations making up an intense beginning to the LP. The rhythm guitars are potent with abundant heft while simultaneously being remarkably endearing all at once. The track carefully builds towards the crescendo; a combination of layered growls and choral voicings from Shape of Despair’s Natalie Koskinen entwine with rumbling guitars and soothing organ/cello to hit a nearly indescribable high. This is funeral doom at its zenith, and it’s only track one. Oh, and according to the band, the beginning of the song features the literal sound of a black hole, recorded by NASA. How much darker can you get?

“Atychiphobia” is similar in scope, though built on ample clean guitars, blackened tremolos, and an overall more stripped down fury, though no less effective. Corpsessed’s Niko Matilainen adds a new flavor of vocals that enhance, and the weeping cello that kicks in during the last few minutes are etched into this writer’s brain. A well-constructed instrumental titled “Between Aether and Land” bridges the first and second halves of the album, starting slowly and gradually escalating into a more epic space, setting the table for the final two songs.

“Lepers and Derelicts” is menacing yet measured, highlighted by a wide array of vocal insanity provided by Neuman. From inhuman shrieks, alluring cleans, and snarling growls, he manages to hit an impressively wide spectrum, all of which is executed flawlessly. Finally, “Procession” concludes No Dawn for the Caliginous Night on a forlorn note, with haunting narrations by Samantha Alessi, and additional vocals by Misery Index’s Jason Netherton adding to what is a colossal build of strain and aural anguish. It’s absolutely the most funeral of all of the variations of doom on the record, yet contains a bit of everything laid out before.

We’ve waxed poetic hard on No Dawn for the Caliginous Night, and with good reason. Convocation have crafted the most forward-thinking, meticulous, and massive funeral doom album in the last few years, at least. Everything about this release is immense in scale and execution, with the resultant being an accomplished and wondrous album that should earn Convocation their wilted flowers. The band’s previous works are mightily profound on their own, but No Dawn for the Caliginous Night is a progression to something bigger that grips your darkened soul and refuses to let go.

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