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Convocation - Ashes Coalesce [Everlasting Spew Records / Sentient Ruin Laborator - 2020]

Ashes Coalesce is a record that managers to blend & mix several sub-genres of Heavy metal in an original & cohe
rent manner- we find here a sonic brew of Death Metal, Funeral Doom, and Progressive Metal, making it one of the more memorable & rewarding metal releases in some time.

Convocation are a Finish duo, made up of members of respected metal bands such as Desolate Shrine, Dark Buddha Rising, etc. Convocation members are musician and composer Lauri Laaksonen and vocalist and lyricist Marko Neuman. Their debut full-length album, Scars Across , was released in 2018 on the Italian label Everlasting Spew Records. Ashes Coalesce, the band's second album was released in the summer of 2020 as a joint release between Everlasting Spew Records(CD & LP versions), American label Sentient Ruin Laboratories( LP) & Dutch label Dawnbreed Records(cassette)- with each format been available from the related label.
 
The album cover is an impressive piece of art created in an allegorical painting style. The creator of the picture is Lauri Laaksonen. It depicts two naked bodies floating in the air surrounded by a patch of red cloth. People are stretching their arms up in an attempt to free themselves from the black burnt arms and torsos that have already been dragged them into the dark waters. Their legs are already beginning to melt, dripping into the liquid darkness. Dark and heavy storm clouds swirl in the background. In the upper left corner is the gray band logo, which is very much classic Death metal style - despite the curves of the letters, the band's name is clearly readable. The title of the album is written in the lower-left corner in the handwritten version of Gothic script. The album cover seemed to me to be great, both in terms of plot, artwork, and composition. There is a special atmosphere of despair and pain here, which I could compare with something from ancient Greek literature or Dante's Inferno. I also think that this cover fits perfectly with the musical part of the album. The album is forty-five minutes and three seconds long and consists of four rather long tracks.
 
 
With Ashes Coalesce, Convocation presents the listener with a very rich, atmospheric musical world, woven at the intersection of Death Metal, Funeral Doom, and Progressive Metal. The compositions are rather complex in their structure and richness of musical elements. During each composition, many rhythmic patterns and melodic lines can change. However, the main tempo here is rather slow rhythms, against which both death-metal riffs and, familiar to Funeral Doom, slow combinations of single chords and acoustic elements can sound. It should be said that the arrangements are very rich in various nuances. So - a big role here is played by keyboards, most of which have an analog or organ sound. These parts are very rich, and because of this, some of the musical moments are reminiscent of the work of the Finnish band Scepticism, but more complexly arranged. I would like to note a good balance in the compositional structure. Each instrument is clear & defined. So, for example, at moments, the greatest emphasis is on the guitar riffs, and at another moment, the keyboards or vocals, which are very diverse, come to the fore. Marko Neuman has a rather unique extreme vocals and owns a variety of vocal techniques - from death metal growling to the black metal screaming.. When recording, Marko uses several techniques at once, which creates a multi-layered choral effect. It is also worth noting that in parts clean vocals of the invited musicians were used, which very harmoniously blended into the overall sound picture. The album has a unique dense atmosphere, balancing on the verge of aggression and devastation. The listener is completely immersed in the flow of sound that carries his consciousness through brutal guitar riffs to slow dark melodies and atmospheric psychedelic fragments in the spirit of Pink Floyd. This reminds me of the work of the British band Esoteric. I would even say that Convocation is played in a very similar style. I recently wrote a review for the new Esoteric album and I expressed the opinion that this is the peak of their creativity, which will be difficult for anyone to overcome. Ashes Coalesce came close to this peak and, perhaps, caught up with it. This album should be heard not only by the Death and Doom metal fan, but also by any fan of heavy music. I discovered Convocation and will closely follow their work because Ashes Coalesce is one of the best albums of the genre in the last couple of years.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Sergey Pakhomov
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