Surprisingly, it didn’t take long for funeral doom to make the journey from its birthplace (in either England or Scandinavia, a hot point of a debate which has no place in this review) to the primarily sunlit lands of Australia so, for purists – who also likely already know and follow the five-piece – MOURNFUL CONGREGATION were there “back then”.
And thus, doth The Exuviae Of Gods – Part II begin with a new recording of ‘Heads Bowed’, from 1995’s An Epic Dream Of Desire demo. Never having been one for re-recordings, feeling them dangerously close to revisionist history, the new version is, if anything more claustrophobic, more downcast than in its earlier incarnation. One does not simply “hear” funeral doom. As a style, demands are placed on the listener to give the albums and pieces within them the time and attention they (when it’s done well) deserve. The rewards are plenteous here, indeed.
The first new track of two, ‘The Forbidden Abysm’ heaves rhythmic stones across black fields, standing them upright, already pitted and cracked by thund’rous storm, and yet – as with the masters of such, PINK FLOYD – a sort of peace, or maybe solemn resignation, is found during moments of the solos. That is, until a buffeting riff impinges itself during the song’s latter third, unignorable, and of menacing countenance.
At over 18 minutes, ‘The Paling Crest’ begins with an almost harpsichord-sounding guitar pattern, acoustic and fluid, and God bless MOURNFUL CONGREGATION for not “prettying it up”, hearing flesh against string as chords are changed, soon joined by a host of voices, a choir of the (truly) doomed. Bands of this sort have always benefited from the strange fusing of elements liturgical and pastoral, something in which the quintet has always excelled, never more so than in this piece.
To borrow a song title from LOVE AND ROCKETS, if you want to be “haunted when the minutes drag”, The Exuviae Of Gods – Part II will alternately soothe and induce shiver.
Review By: Lord Randall
The Exuviae Of Gods – Part II