Convocation - Ashes Coalesce review


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Band: Convocation
Album: Ashes Coalesce
Release date: July 2020

01. Martyrise
02. The Absence Of Grief
03. Misery Form
04. Portal Closed

It's not easy to make doom that is both suffocating and awe-inspiring. Not necessarily at the same time.

Convocation have blown my socks off two years ago with their debut album, Scars Across, so I was obviously very hyped for a follow-up of a project that had the possibility of being a one-off deal. The duo made of LL, the instrumental part of Desolate Shrine, and MN, the vocal part of Dark Buddha Rising, did more than just be a combination of the sounds (and the clout) of both bands, and the result was one of the most massive doom metal albums of that year. Will the magic be rekindled once more?

Most of the things I loved about Scars Across are still present on Ashes Coalesce. It's still four long tracks, though this time we have one song that's (slightly) shorter than ten minutes. The cover art is still superb, both of them done by LL, though I must say I prefer the one of the predecessor. The production still makes the whole album sound massive, though this time having Esoteric's Greg Chandler do the mastering might be the cherry on top. The vocals are still phenomenal, this time no "though". All that praise. Convocation have definitely at least remained up to the standard set by the predecessor. So if you liked Scars Across, you'll like Ashes Coalesce. But I'm not gonna spend an entire review talking about how this album is like its predecessor, am I?

Funeral doom has had a pretty good run, but it's getting increasingly hard to be made interesting. Hearing some more pure funeral doom than I remember Convocation using, I was a bit let down at first. "The Absence Of Grief" is probably the worst offender in this regard, but the more I listened to it, the more it feels like they actually nailed the sound, by making it feel more orchestral, awe-inspiring, almost apocalyptic, and most importantly, by having Profetus'
Anssi Mäkinen doing some guest vocals on it. That awe-inspiring apocalyptic feel actually gets even stronger through the more crushing moments on the album, moments that would feel bleak on their own, but feel absolutely bone chilling with MN's insane shrieks on top of them. And I use terms like "crushing" and "apocalyptic", but I feel like that would be downplaying the range of emotions that this album is charged with. They're not necessarily wrong descriptors for a huge chunk of the album, but the awe-inspiring part of it isn't necessarily only part of a destructive force. "Portals Closed" feels like such a weirdly beautiful and cathartic song, and there's no way I can call those synths anything other than mesmerizing.

Ashes Coalesce feels like it has a bigger range than its predecessor. Sometimes it feels like it doesn't do the extreme doom blend as well as it, but it offers much more in return.


Written on 28.06.2020 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.

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