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Convocation - No Dawn For The Caliginous Night review

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Band: Convocation
Album: No Dawn For The Caliginous Night
Release date: November 2023

01. Graveless Yet Dead
02. Atychiphobia
03. Between Aether And Land
04. Lepers And Derelicts
05. Procession

There's certainly No Dawn For The Caliginous Night when it comes to Convocation's latest output, but then what better way is there to mark your ten-year anniversary than to celebrate with something so grim, doomy, depressive, and of course, heavy.

Convocation is a Helsinki-based death doom band featuring vocalist M.N. (Dark Buddha Rising) and multi-instrumentalist L.L. (Desolate Shrine). The duo unleashed their ambitious full-length debut Scars Across back in 2018, a four-tracked heavy, slow, funeral/death doom release that featured an impressive variety of instrumentation, including synths, organs, and violin. Two years later saw the release of Ashes Coalesce, which turned out to be equally dark, doomy, and melancholic. Now the Finnish duo return three years later with their third full-length release to date, No Dawn For The Caliginous Night, one that also marks the band's ten-year anniversary since their establishment back in 2013.

So, how much melancholic doom and gloom can we expect to endure from this latest offering, I wonder? And more to the point, does the soundscape represent the majestically grim landscape depicted on the cover art? Well, to start with, the album contains five tracks in total, making this release one track longer than their previous two efforts, and is just shy of fifty minutes in length. Much like with their previous releases, this album is very much an atmospheric and emotive journey that one must embrace, rather than offering anything short, thrilling, and in your face; it requires your full attention span and the right mood in order to fully reap its benefits.

The album begins with the nine-and-a-half-minute opener, "Graveless Yet Dead", which turns out to be just as bleak and grim as the title itself. The song starts off at a very slow funeral doom tempo, with the sound of an organ helping fuel the mournful soundscape, which is furtheer aided by a haunting female symphonic choir and a tear-jerking melancholic violin presence. The track's sorrow-filled soundscapes continuously build up to a point at which the listener is almost in an unbearable depressive state of mind. However, it isn't long before the tempo slightly increases (albeit still never exceeding mid-tempo); it is at this point that the bass tone, doomy riffs, and slogging rhythm become strikingly heavier.

The following track, "Atychiphobia", is slightly shorter than the opener, and begins slightly heavier and at a fasteer tempo. Rather than the sorrowful opener, this following track seems to focus its soundscape more on anguish and desperation, with much harsher aggressive growls, along with chilling howling shrieks that really send shivers down the listener's spine. One thing that's noticeably different is how the instrumentation is more densely structured, the riffs are more powerful, the tone is noticeably meatier and the violin is featured even more so, but there's also room for some sweet melancholic acoustic passages and light synth work too.

Following is the powerfully dark instrumental "Between Aether And Land". This song opens with some impressive synths before the acoustic guitar is introduced nearly two minutes in, which is followed by heavy death-doom instrumentation. Amazingly, this is the shortest track on the album at just over six minutes, despite it being perhaps the most varied and complex, but saying that, I find it the most difficult track to really get into. "Lepers And Derelicts" follows, and at just over eleven minutes in length, is the album's second-longest track. This opens with slow eerie synth work, before erupting into some devastating funeral doom, with agonizing growls and screams, heavy slogging riffs, powerful bass, and thunderously pounding drumming. This track also features some of the album's key moments, delivered in the form of short acoustic passages, strikingly heavy death metal riffs, blackened tremolo leads, symphonic female choirs, and highly emotional, passionate clean vocals.

The album closes with the 12-minute "Procession", and once again the band craft a deeply emotional and immersive soundscape. This is done again through heavy pounding drumming, slow-to-mid-tempo doom slogging riffs, melancholic synth work, and deep, heavy growls combined with tortuous screams. The growls and screams are the definite highlight for me, as they add such passion and a sense of utter despair. The last few minutes of the track is perhaps the most sorrowful section of the album, as softly spoken female spoken word, sweeping violin strings, and beautiful acoustic melodies finish the album off.

Overall, Convocation don't show much in the sense of innovation, although then again, it's no easy feat to reinvent the wheel of a genre that's already been done before. Nevertheless, what this band has always been about is bringing us a passionate and emotional experience, with consummately performed instrumentation, and this latest offering certainly doesn't fall short on any of those aspects.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8

Written on 10.12.2023 by Feel free to share your views.

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