Monday, October 31, 2011

Mournful Congregation Interview

1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days/

- We finished work on the latest album, “The Book of Kings” in September, which we started recording in December 2010. At the same time we’ve been preparing some other releases such as the “Weeping/ An Epic Dream of Desire” LP and “The Unspoken Hymns” CD/ LP. Now that all of that is out of the way, we are preparing to play live again, with one show here in our home city of Adelaide, and then 10 shows in the US in December.

2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and how it differs from previous releases?

- Vast, universal, baroque and sinister are some key words that come to mind when I think of the album as a whole. It is at once sharper sounding, but perhaps more atmospheric too in the right places. Obviously this time there are 4 main songs, and no interludes as there were on “The June Frost”. So that is an immediate difference. Hmm, I guess when I start to read reviews and hear opinions from listeners I’ll know pretty quickly what the differences are! It’s hard to judge when you wrote and recorded the material yourself.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the new release?

- The concept of the first track, “The Catechism of Depression”, is based on the horror that the very spirit which ignites each and every one of us, whom serve to make up “mankind” as a whole, is in fact corrupt. Those whom seek spiritual enlightenment finally reach a zenith, only to find there is no gateway to spiritual realization at all. We are an impure creation from the very beginning. Ultimate Doom. This is mirrored throughout the whole album. The title track, “The Book of Kings”, is ultimately a book of impressions derived from a delving into the history of mankind’s place in the cosmos. The ultimate rule over mankind by both Gods and Men, the occult wisdom and occult truths held selfishly by the few since the dawn of our existence. The secrets that scar the depths of our collective psyche. There really is no hope for mankind.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?

- The inspiration came from the idea of collective mourning. It really is a perfect representation of our music.

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?

- There is no doubt that the first show we ever played, in January 2009, in our home city of Adelaide, was the best. Not so much from a performance point of view, but just a nostalgic and general ‘aura’ viewpoint. Obviously having done 17 shows throughout Europe in 2009, there were a lot of great and memorable shows for many different reasons. Playing in Moscow always stands out, just because for some reason Mother Russia holds a lot of mystery to me (and maybe a lot of Westerners?), and it was a bit of effort to get there. But the maniacs in attendance were great and appreciative I believe. Our stage performance is a meditation in epicness and heaviness. That’s how I feel when playing anyway.

6. A few months back before the release date of the new album there was a compilation album that came out what where your feelings of this release?

- “The Unspoken Hymns” has just preceded the new album yes. It was a logical way for us to put together all of the separated and split releases we have done over the past 10 years. I guess it is just a historic release in ways. It is not so much meant to represent the whole concept of the band. It is just for true fans who wish to own these recordings officially if they do not perhaps own the limited vinyl versions.

7. On a worldwide level how has your newer albums been received by funeral doom fans?

- Well, we seem to have gained many more fans in the last few years. Once again, it’s hard for me to say, being the creator of this stuff.

8. What is going on with the other projects these days?

- StarGazer, with whom I play Bass Guitar for, released our second full length, “A Great Work of Ages” last year. We will also perform at Rites of Darkness Fest in Texas in December 2011. And Cauldron Black Ram, whom I play guitar for have just recorded a new Maxi-EP named “The Poisoner”, which will be released through Abysmal Sounds on CD and Parasitic Records on 12” vinyl soon. And I continue to write for my other project, The Esoteric Connexion, when I feel the inspiration. There is always something to do, when one band is not busy another one is, which is the way I like it. None of our bands are at a point where they need to be fulltime, or even can be fulltime. So to have a few outlets has become the way of the modern underground metal musician I feel.

9. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases/

- Much the same direction really. I view everything we have recorded as just an expansion upon an initial foundation of Doom. Almost akin to the expansion of conciousness. We keep drawing upon the same source of inspiration, but somehow elaborate upon it each time we do so. There is some music already written and being worked on for the next opus, and if anything, I would judge it to be more harmonic maybe, more 3, 4 and 5 part harmonies intertwining to create the whole. You will still be able to rely on us delivering Extreme Doom Metal in the form we have been crafting for the last 15 years, that is for sure!

10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced the sound of the new album and also what are you listening to nowadays?

- We sort of had a mental vision of the sounds we wanted to achieve on this album based more on what lacked on our previous releases rather than based on what any other band sounded like. So when you hit this point in a bands career, it is hard to site solid influences for the album. But I am not one of those ignorants who would say we were not influenced by anyone but ourselves! It just becomes harder to site them as time moves on. Anyway, stuff I have listened to regularly over the last year or so….Wishbone Ash, Mastodon, Tom Waits, King Diamond, Hammers of Misfortune, Metal Church, Crimson Glory, Zappa, Accept, Avishai Cohen. Often inspiration just comes from picking up a guitar randomly and instantaneously finding a chord or two which appeal to the ear. From there the writing just happens. Some ideas are pre-meditated without even touching an instrument, others are purely a product of the moment.

11. Outside of music what are some of your interests/

- Reading non-fiction books on true crime, various biographies of villains, musicians, artists and writers and various occult topics. Not much else, an occasional walk in the hills.

12. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview/

- A thousandfold thanks to ye for the interview. Long live the king of Rock n’ Roll, and Funeral Doom Metal.

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