19 Mar 2022 - Knut
Doom Metal | Napalm Records | Release date: 11 Mar 2022
Two years after their impressive debut release, the Danes of Konvent are back with their sophomore album. They have honed their doom skills and now grace the world with an aggressive, heavy, expansive and awe-inspiring new album fitting the times we have lived through and are living in. They give comfort, reflection and inspiration with their crushing and modern take on the genre. As the pandemic fades away, the sky should be clear for everyone this spring, but sadly it is not. And this album, intentional or not, is a reminder of this.
In January 2020 Konvent released their first album, five years after they founded the band, and got a very short time to promote it. They came by my home town Oslo playing for an exited audience. After a short time, the band together with the audiences and the rest of the world were sent home by the lurking Covid. It was a hassle for us, the audience and fans, but it sure was devastating for many bands, and surely for Konvent, too. Showing an impressive resilience during the pandemic, the band has composed an album that shows that the Doom Metal genre is as vivid as ever when done right.
Konvent´s music evolves around the breathtaking riffs from the heavy, dark and fierce distorted guitar. No matter how down-tuned and bleak the sound is, it is at the same time extremely beautiful. The bass lays the ground with an impressive diversity, sometimes even playful as it pushes forward the melodic themes, just like Geezer did for Black Sabbath, holding the rhythm and at the same time following the lead guitarist. And then one notices the gyrating dynamic drumming that lays the heavy foundation for the band to stand on.
On this album, as on the previous album, the voice is an instrument in itself. It is in fact riffing through the music. It is not often worth mentioning growling vocals in this genre, it just is there and adds to the gloomy atmosphere. But here it adds more because of the range it has from deep to high pitched growling. Yes, I know it sounds strange, both that growl has range, depth and instrumental qualities like this, but just give it a listen and your jaw will drop as mine did both when listening to this album and witnessing the live performances.
There is really not much more to say about this release. It is a bit useless to present the album track by track because this album should be listened to as a whole and enjoyed in one sitting as a gloomy, yet inspiring, symphony with nine movements - it even has an adagio in the middle called ”Interlude”. On some tracks, like the last one ”Harena” you might notice some nods to Amenra. In addition, this track has a stunning use of strings from violin and cello floating through the dark sonics. This song also has a place for a beautiful longing guitar solo on the lower pitched strings. The bass that makes its way through the riffs in the beginning of ”Pipe Dreams” shows some impressive skills on how to make captive Doom Metal.
On the previous album, a waterfall on the cover showed us that floating dark water might be something to have in mind while listening. On this album there is the song ”Grains” that makes you think of footslogging in deep sand through a sandstorm (might be a sign of the times). The song ”Fatamorgana” also leads ones thoughts toward endless sandscapes and something glimmering on the horizont when the shouting choir chips in a couple of times. And also, of course, the second song, ”Sand is King that needs no interpretation. This song should be analyzed to bits for the heavy riffing, the colossal drumming, hammering bass and the diverse vocals. It is a showcase in how to compose a dense and engaging Doom Metal song.
I have been a fervid listener to Doom Metal for decades after being introduced to Black Sabbath in my teens. And in the wake of this band many magnificent bands took up the baton and developed the music further, like Cathedral, Pallbearer, My Dying Bride, Daylight Dies to name some. With this album, Konvent has taken a step to stand beside these bands and showed us that the genre Doom Metal, when seeping in some influences from nearby genres, is alive and well. That gives hope however bleak reality seems these days.