It’s probably not true to say nothing great ever was created in a rush, but more often than not, it takes time to make something that will stand the test of time. So, we and the creator must practice patience so that the thing we want isn’t hastily assembled, resulting in disappointment for the audience and the artist since something wasn’t baked long enough.
Yes, I want a new Mournful Congregation full-length pretty desperately as the last one we got was back in 2018 with the “The Incubus of Karma,” which ended a seven-year period after 2011’s “The Book of Kings.” This mostly Aussie unit isn’t in a hurry, and why should they be as the time it takes to make their epic records certainly takes a while. But the band has treated us kindly with a pair of EPs to bridge that gap, the latest being “The Exuviae of Gods – Pt II,” which follows the first installment last year. Again, the band—vocalist/guitarist Damon Good, guitarists Justin Hartwig and Ben Petch, bassist Ben Newsome, drummer Tim Call—delivers two tracks never heard before and one reworked cut, again from their “Epic Dream of Desire” demo from 1995, and it serves to fill in that gaping hole between proper records. And because it’s Mournful Congregation, it’s still 40 minutes long.
The updated and re-recorded “Heads Bowed” enters in solemn acoustics, washing over until the growls enter, the doom crushing into a sorrowful gaze. The guitars melt and unite as whispers swirl in the air, cosmic heat increases, and the guitars cascade as voices swirl. Lava slowly wells as acoustics return, an elegant haze bubbles to the surface, and some final crushing gusts land with atomic force. “The Forbidden Asylum” delivers heated guitars and detached growls, the melodies gliding as the sadness spreads. Elegant guitars spread their wings as the drums begin to punish, growls swelling as the playing glimmers. Guttural howls bathe in echoes, trudging through each meaty layer, scraping at your psyche as the devastation explodes with fire. Closer “The Paling Crest” is the longest track, running 18:39 and starting with acoustics and pastoral calls, moving glacially as the bass recoils. Growls wrench as moody guitars set in, leads begin to burn, and the growls gut as everything turns ice cold. Gentle breezes whip through as the bass gets jazzier, cold trickling making your flesh crawl as the trudging increases. The playing swells as the moodiness eclipses, chimes and rumbles set off the senses, and the guitars catch fire once more, slowly fading toward a sunburnt horizon.
The second installment of “The Exuviae of Gods” EP series is another mammoth effort that would be a full-on full-length record for almost every other band on the planet, a mere appetizer in Mournful Congregation’s orbit. These new tracks and the reworked version of an old gem make for a powerful, effective collection that makes a blistering whole with the first part of the series. Bridging the gap to a new album is an exciting prospect, and this great offering makes that journey more rewarding.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/mournfulcongregation
To buy the album or for more on the label, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/