Ever since being blown away by Gatecreeper‘s ‘Sonoran Depravation’ back in 2016 I’ve been delving into the hulking melancholy genre that is death/doom. I came across a few must-own gems over the past four years. Among the good ones were Genocide Pact, Ratlord, Coffins, Witch Vomit, Tomb Mold, Krypts, Outer Heaven, etc. My goodness. Just naming them gives me goosebumps. What awesome bands these are and what fun I’ve had listening to their albums. Now I’m always looking for the next sensation that will tickle my fancy. And by Jove, have I found it! Last week, Danish death/doom quartet Konvent dropped their first full length entitled ‘Puritan Masochism’ on Napalm Records and it is a doozy.
Right from the very start; that’s when I knew this album was going to be great. ‘Puritan Masochism‘, Konvent‘s first single and opening and title track of the record is an amazing song. This is one that leaves you hungering for much more. It came out on October 4th, coinciding with Gatecreeper‘s ‘Deserted‘. Merely a concidental fun fact of course, but from one death/doom fan to another, worth the mention. Anyway, the track immediately sets the tone for the record.
These ladies play groovy doom metal that is strongly reminiscent of Candlemass‘ repertoire. It’s a really awesome balance between riffs and rhythms that make you stare at the floor and hide behind your toing and froing curtains of hair, and the full-body headbang. So hulking at times are the grooves. Take, if you will, the beginning of the second track ‘The Eye‘. Upon hearing that opening shred, you just know the beat is gonna kick in hard to drag you along on its path to hopelessness. And kick it does. Guitarist Sara and drummer Julie combine their prowess to create an unmistakable sense of despair, while bassist Heidi is their backbone, giving the sound a much required graver tone. Listen to the opening on ‘Trust‘, to cite only one example.
The biggest and instantly noticeable difference however is the monstrous vocal performance. Rikke‘s slimy growls sound extra ghoulish, to say the least. She even manages to make them sound so understandable, you can start to sing along easily. If you can growl, that is. That’s one of the main reasons why some songs ultimately become catchy. The way she bellows “Tick, tock, poison clock” on ‘World of Gone‘ is very infectious. Or the way she alternates with a higher pitch when screaming “Only dust and dew where they grew” on ‘Idle Hands‘. It’s all quite memorable. I honestly can’t wait to see Konvent play live, so I can sing along to those awesome lyrics.
Throughout ‘Puritan Masochism‘ Konvent evoke a sense of immense sadness or melancholy. Not only thanks to the slow, dragging rhythms and melodies, but in the subject matter as well. Loss, suicide, loneliness, and futility of life are just some of the themes that are tackled here. It is not a cheerful album but it doesn’t need to be. ‘Bridge‘ and ‘Ropes pt. II‘ are perfect instances of the darker themes Konvent tackles. The lyrics on ‘Bridge‘ are especially saddening, but in a hopeful sort of way. I really dug that one.
Release date: January 24, 2020
Label: Napalm Records
- Puritan Masochism
- The Eye
- World of Gone
- Idle Hands
- Ropes pt. I
- Ropes pt. II