Review: KONVENT “Puritan Masochism” [Napalm Records]

Review: KONVENT “Puritan Masochism” [Napalm Records]

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Copenhagen quartet Konvent are looking to claim the throne as queens of the death/doom genre. With their debut album, Puritan Masochism, they make a pretty strong case. With a dark and foreboding atmosphere serving as the backdrop for Konvent‘s death march doom progressions, it is certainly worth a listen.

The darkness of Puritan Masochism is heavily in thanks to the production work. A thick wall of sound is presented to the listener, creating a stifling air of sorrow. Personally, I felt that the music could use more definition, but as a creative decision it absolutely works, especially for this style of music.

The album opens strong with the title track, providing all of the slow chugging riffs that you would expect from the genre along with some very impressive growls from vocalist and guitarist, Rikke Emilie List. The guttural force is one of the best I’ve heard in a long time, a skill often giving way to sloppiness in the modern era. List‘s voice proves a perfect low end lead mixing well with the bleak moods presented here musically.

The Eye continues on with the same general style, but features a distinctively triumphant guitar riff that sets it apart. Vocals continue to impress, with each track offering a bit more variety to the guttural stylings.

An Iron Maiden reminiscent riff dominates Trust, giving the song a very epic feel. Along with the addition of some light samples and a very creepy background vocal, this serves as a highlight of the first half of the album.

World of Gone bases itself firmly in dirge territory. It’s slow and powerful, which will fall squarely into the wheelhouse of Death/Doom fans, but will play right into the hands of the genre’s detractors. If one thing is certain here it is that this is distinctly a genre album, and while it is particularly good, I don’t think it’s going to be changing anyone’s mind about Death/Doom.

Bridge provides an interesting break from the standard bone crunching pressure displayed by the doom riffs. With several tempo changes coupled with peaks and valleys of intensity, the song provides a much appreciated dynamic.

Finally the bass guitar is allowed to shine on Waste, if only fleetingly. As mentioned earlier in this review, the creative choice for density in the mix works in context, but I think there is room for a little more clarity. A more inclusive mix could elevate this album to groundbreaking status easily.

Ropes pt 1&2 provide an excellent closing suite to the album. Part 1‘s somberly picked guitars create a bleak atmosphere that feels epic in its reach. Part 2 is more of a dirge, picking up on the same themes and elements of Part 1. The density of the mix plays more of a strength here, providing a smothered feel upon the listener, and very strongly conveying the feeling of helplessness.

All in all, Puritan Masochism is a very strong debut. It’s not perfect, but it most definitely serves as a very strong jumping off point for a promising new outfit. I’d love to hear what comes next from Konvent, hopefully sooner rather than later.

 

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Peter Morsellino

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