Mournful Congregation – The Unspoken Hymns (20 Buck Spin)

Friday, 22nd March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Comprised of five hard-to-find songs from limited-edition vinyl runs,The Unspoken Hymns is being released to set up Mournful Congregation’s forthcoming The Book of Kings, which is due this November. A wise move by the mighty 20 Buck Spin (where’s the new Samothrace?) for Mournful Congregation are very much a cult funeral doom entity on these shores. With The Unspoken Hymns, the Aussies prove that few bands in the funeral doom realm are this slow-mo and desperately desperate-sounding.

Obviously, there’s little anyone can do in funeral doom except play songs that are as slow as molasses. Timekeeping is at a premium here, with snare hits coming once in every so often, while trudgy, dingy riffs are undercut by sobbing melodies. It’s a well-worn formula that the likes of Ahab and Disembowelment have made bank on (or at least some money), and MC are most certainly worth being included in such discussions.

Production varies on each of these fives tracks, for they’re nabbed from various splits. Opener “Left Unspoken” sounds the best out of the bunch, while “A Slow March to the Burial” and “Descent of the Flames” sound infinitely more raw, which in turn makes the dragging pace and dearth of guitar work a lot more dirge-like, if you can catch our drift.

An acquired taste if there ever was one, Mournful Congregation’s bleak-sounding modus operandi has an excellent chance of landing some blows on North American shores. If this stuff doesn’t put you to sleep, then The Unspoken Hymns is the way to go.

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