Death/Doom metal is a wonderfully unique subgenre in the sense that it shows how much emotion can be conveyed with slow, trudging tempos and longer, drawn out chords while maintaining the “bite” and aggression of death metal. This allows room for experimentation and we see things like clean guitars, choirs, psychedelic- sounding synths, and demonic-sounding wails and grunts in the vocal department all within a thick atmosphere of oppressive and dissonant extreme metal, and Convocation’s latest release, sophomore album Ashes Coalesce has all this and more.
This four track offering from the two piece band from Finland exists mostly within funeral doom and death metal, and the closing track, Portals Closed, deserves attention of its own. It feels as though some funeral doom bands will offer an instrumental or a melodic break merely to break up the distorted, grimy wall of sound yet this is not the case with this song. It stands as a musical statement with purpose and direction, and pulls the listener into a soundscape that is not there as an afterthought. This musical purpose is present in all of the songs as well. We see melody weaving its way through the record, and by this track it crescendos into a beautifully obscure scene with psychedelic synths and organs.
As for the rest of the record, each song stands out from the next, which is not easy to do with funeral doom. They are instrumentally and compositionally excellent, with an incredible guitar tone and powerful vocals. They do an astounding job with mixing up vocal styles to keep it interesting and to compliment the music, ranging from death metal grunts, to black metal shrieks, to brief sections of cleans, best heard on the track Misery Form. The guitars bounce between eerie, dissonant arpeggios, slow melodic leads, and heavy chugging rhythms complimenting the drums. The drums are another reason this record is so interesting as they offer unique rhythms as opposed to over-simplification for the sake of heaviness. The opening track, Martyrise is a great example of great drumming. Ashes Coalesce proves that Convocation are a name worth knowing in the realm of death and funeral doom, and especially for being only their second album, there is nowhere for this band to go but up.
Release date: July 3, 2020
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