Album Review: Ashes Coalesce – Convocation


As someone who has suffered from depression for the better part of forty years, I have learned to pay particular attention to the things that make me feel less alone in this world. And while I cannot speak for everyone who lives with this illness, I feel relatively comfortable saying that’s what we all want. To not feel so isolated from what seems like the rest of the world, especially on the days it’s difficult to put on a pair of fucking socks. 

That companionless sadness is, in part, what drew me to Heavy Metal as a young teenager. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that many of you reading this right now have found your way to the sacred halls of heavy music for the same reason, and I’d like to take a second to publicly thank you all for still being here. Whoever you are, and from whatever part of the globe you first heard “War Pigs”, I am extremely appreciative of your continued presence on this planet. 

Now, the reason I’m bringing all of this up (aside from the fact that depression takes out our brothers and sisters on a regular basis, and it’s about time we stop pretending that shit isn’t happening) is because the music being reviewed here is of a particularly melancholy variety. And for my money, at least in Metal, there is no better expression of despair than the sub-genre known as Funeral Doom.

By extension, then, “Ashes Coalesce” by Convocation is among the very finest examples of Funeral Doom music you are likely to hear in 2020, or any other year. It is an exceedingly soul-stirring piece of music that simply must be experienced in its entirety, and as often as possible. 

Convocation is a two-piece from Helsinki, with LL composing and performing all of the instruments, and MN on vocals. The pair complement each other at every turn, using every tool at their disposal. 

MN rotates his vocal approach regularly. He goes from a traditional Funeral Doom guttural sound to more of a screaming Death Metal sound at the drop of a hat, as LL’s music lends itself to all varieties of doomy heaviness, packed to the brim with emotion and melody. During a stand-out moment in “The Absence of Grief”, MN dives headfirst into a powerful clean voice, which he uses to astonishing effect for precisely as long as the music requires him to do so. 

Like all highly effective Funeral Doom, “Ashes Coalesce” takes you on a journey through countless emotions and exotic locations within your subconscious, giving you all the room you need to breathe while never leaving your side. It is the perfect antidote for a longing disposition, and recommended listening of the highest order. 

Rating – 5/5

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