In structure, this is very similar to its counterpart. One retake of an old song and two new compositions. This two parter has also seen the return of their original drummer / guitarist Ben Petch who recorded the first two demos with Damon Good, but left before their debut proper.
In this way, it is actually quite a fitting moment for the band to return to some of these songs from their earliest days. On part one they revisited their first demo, and now they are reminiscing ‘Heads Bowed’ from the second one ‘An Epic Dream of Desire‘.
This has always been a fantastic song: even with its lamentable DIY home production. It is a stalwart of melancholic funeral doom, holding the promise of the greatness was to come, maybe even more than ‘Tears from a Grieving Heart’, which is in many ways a far more difficult listen. Profiting now from a far better production and taking advantage of Justin Hartwig’s trademark heart-wrenching leads, the song is much more in line with how the band sounds today. Here’s to hoping they will include it in their live set.
The second track ‘The Forbidden Abysm’ is the first truly new track here. Personally, I feel this entry is significantly more captivating than its sister song from its predecessor, which I found strangely a little bit underwhelming and playing it very safe. The journey into the abyss is more adventurous, exploring more interesting places in its almost nine-minute span.
Contrary to the previous outing, ‘The Paling Crest’ is not wholly an instrumental. It stretches across a vast eighteen plus minutes, starting out with gentle acoustics that slowly morph. It is not a full instrumental pur sang, since there are some choral elements in the background and some grunting hallway across its rotation. But essentially this is a very laid back Floydesque composition that gives the full floor to the interplay between the guitars.
Going strong since the early nineties, Mournful Congregation are still in a class of their own.
- Music / Songwriting 9/10
- Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
- Mix / Production 9/10
- Artwork & Packaging 9/10
- Originality 7/10
This second instalment is definitely the superior part of the diptych. Funereal mastercraft at its finest.