Mournful Congregation The Unspoken Hymns

Mournful Congregation The Unspoken Hymns
Funeral doom connoisseurs will froth over The Unspoken Hymns, a compilation of long out-of-print epics from Australia's Mournful Congregation. Culled from vinyl-only splits with Stabat Mater, Stone Wings and Worship, this collection features five tracks, all six to ten minutes long, and is intended to prime fans for the November release of new album The Book of Kings. Kicking off with a new, bolder remix of "Left Unspoken" (first featured on 2008's Four Burials split with Otesanek, Loss and Orthodox), vocalist Damon Good's bass marches in lockstep with Adrian Bickle's military cadence drums, leaving guitarist Justin Hartwig to weave yarns of extreme woe with a mere six strings. Good's gargling/whisper death vocals are similar to, but not as growling as, Evoken's John Paradiso. Amid the plodding doom chords, the excellent "The Epitome of Gods and Men Alike" sports surprisingly heartfelt solos reminiscent of hard rock balladry. The aptly titled "A Slow March to the Burial" is just that, and if it had an accompanying video, it would surely feature hooded figures carrying a coffin up a dark, winding hill at dusk. "Descent of the Flames" pauses midway through for some My Dying Bride picking, circa Turn Loose the Swans, and "Elemental" is a by-the-numbers cover of this chestnut from Finnish doom godfathers Thergothon. The Unspoken Hymns is an exemplar of the slowest doom outside of Cathedral's seminal Forest of Equilibrium and should stoke fans of Skepticism and Winter. (20 Buck Spin)