Reviewed: July 2020
Released: 2020, Everlasting Spew Records
Reviewer: Kira Levine
Seasoned musicians Lauri Laaksonen and Marko Neuman joined forces to create death/doom outfit Convocation. They are set to release their sophomore record Ashes Coalesce on July 3rd, following up 2018’s Scars Across.
The band states:
“The second coming of Convocation brings us the Finnish Doom Death band (feat. members of Desolate Shrine and Dark Buddha Rising) at its bleakest and most majestic peak. Ashes Coalesce is an album of contrasts and confusion, beautiful yet horrifying.”
‘Martyrise’ proceeds with a suspenseful build of ethereal sounds, before blasting the listener with MN’s shattering death growl and the crushing musicianship of LL simultaneously. The organ-like keys are a great contrast to the crushing vocals, serving a nice blend of death and doom especially in these moments. On ‘The Absence of Grief,’ some fantastic guest vocal work from A. Mäkinen and Tenebrous Tonchev can be heard. The funeral doom aspect of the album is particularly strong on the second and longest track, with the clean vocals bolstering the melancholy energy the song provides. A spoken word piece in the closing minutes feels like a dark sermon, the low voice echoing slightly to eerie effect before a final sung verse brings a sense of humanity back to the track. ‘Misery Form’ makes great use of solemn clean vocals in the choruses that counter MN’s enraged shrieks and growls throughout. Half heavy, half soothingly atmospheric instrumental ‘Portal Closed’ is an epic finisher. The fourth and final instalment proves that Convocation are able to convey opposing energies sans vocals.
Ashes Coalesce largely communicates senses of misery and rage, which really drives home the emotions many will be feeling during the present pandemic. At times, Convocation bring an almost cathartic listening experience, especially in its instrumentation. All vox performances are very much impressive too, helping to the three numbers with lyrics to alternate between sounding beautiful, bereft, and bestial. Every track is at least several minutes long but once pressing play, death and doom fans will be thankful they gave this record a spin.