While it’s a little early in the year to already to start slinging mud at 2020, let’s think of this past weekend with a rock legend dying and two all-time great wrestlers passing away. Then this ridiculous Iran shit. I’m already sick of this year, and we’re barely three weeks into it. So, might as well revel in some music that goes along with it all.
Danish doom-death quartet Konvent are here with their mighty debut record “Puritan Masochism” that basks in the terror and filth that the Peaceville 3 and their many descendants conjured over the ages. It’s a solid nine-track, 48-minute bruiser that punishes you at a steady pace throughout its run and leaves your chest bruised and heaving. There isn’t a ton of variety on the album, as most of this chugs in the same tempo and delivers bone-grinding chugging that addresses all of your needs to feel miserable and sore. But it doesn’t really need to add different colors and textures because that doesn’t seem to be the point. The band—vocalist Rikke Emilie List, guitarist Sara Helena Nørregaard, bassist Heidi Withington Brink, drummer Julie Simonsen—piles it on, delivers it expertly, and smothers any hope you have to feel better about your surroundings.
The title track gets things started as riffs rain down, the growls boil in the song’s guts, and calculated death is set free, mauling and brutalizing. The guitars spiral and penetrate as List wails, “The spirit slowly dies,” as the cut follows suit. “The Eye” unleashes guitars that team with the misery-inducing growls to scrape away at your flesh. The punishment is doled out slowly as melodies surge like waves, the cries split over the top, and the track comes to a sudden end. “Trust” crushes wills while the growls curdle, and the guitars snake through the water. The pace turns hypnotic in spots, as your mind submits to its will, while the guitars work through blood, and heavy growls deal the final blows. “World of Gone” brings punchy guitars and vicious growls churning. The guitars work is strong and pushes the pace, while the body of the song is pulled into a war zone as paths are beaten with might, and the song bleeds out.
“Bridge” begins with mournful guitars spilling before doomy sludging takes over, and the pace causes your mind to spin. Growls chew at guts as the song brings on one of its few examples of speed, causing havoc before the track returns to slower forms of violence that are just as impactful. Thorny, throaty growls lead the way as the track ends in pain. “Waste” features Tue Krebs Roikjer of Morild and introduces sooty bass work and sludgy riffs that begin suffocating you. The guitar work catches you in a whirlwind and creates vertigo, while the assault keeps treading mud, battering you relentlessly until the track fades. “Idle Hands” has an awesome riff that kicks things off before the playing batters, and the growls add to the animosity. The playing aims to break bones, practically doing so before everything goes up in smoke. “Ropes Pt. I” spreads mystical fog, continuing to bloody the path the band has been on for the entire record. Cleaner guitars enter and trick the mind before trancey playing captures you and pushes you into the frost, where closer “Ropes Pt. II” awaits. Shriekier growls grind at the flesh as the tempo shifts from dark to stormy as guitars light the way. The growls smear blood as the brutality is amplified, letting the aggression simmer under the surface as the song slowly turns to ash.
Five years after forming, Konvent have delivered a devastating, strong debut record that helps them make an early dent for themselves and also gives them plenty on which to keep growing. “Puritan Masochism” wallows in death and doom, and you aren’t given a chance to hit the surface for fresh air, because they always pull you back into the muck. It’s dour music for sour times, and Konvent hopefully have years to come to leave us feeling utterly miserable but happy about it.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/konventband
To buy the album (U.S.), go here: https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/store/
Or here (International): https://napalmrecords.com/konvent
For more on the label, go here: https://napalmrecords.com/