Konvent – Call Down the Sun [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

Another TYMHM piece, another death doom album. But Call Down the Sun by Copenhagen’s Konvent is a very different beast from Tishina’s Uvod. Call Down the Sun is the sophomore outing from this all-female outfit, which I believe is a four-piece—certainly, all available photos of the Konvent have four women in them and the write-up of this album on Bandcamp only mentions four band members, but Metal Archives lists a fifth member, additional guitarist Sophie Lake, who, if she is in at all, only joined this year. She did not play on Konvent’s 2020 debut, Puritan Masochism, which was 48-minutes of aggressive, blackened death doom done very well but not in a standout way that really captivated me.

Two years on and Konvent is back, and this time, they’ve nailed it. Call Down the Sun is slightly slower in pace than Puritan Masochism, edging just a teensy, tiny bit further toward the funeral doom end of the death doom spectrum. If the record doesn’t slow quite so much as to actually reach funeral doom pace, it is certainly funereal in tone and mood. Harsh and abrasive from the first sepulchral notes of opener “Into the Distance,” the most immediately noticeable thing about Konvent, on both its albums to date, are Rikke Emilie List’s vocals. Deep, guttural roars ripped right out of the crypt are the order of the day from List and they really are like something from the grave. They rumble and reverberate in a way that I can remember few other vocalists, male or female, doing. The gravelly roars are paired with, and punctuated by, harrowing screams that give Konvent’s death doom a blackened edge in places.

Like an unholy coupling of Temple of Void and fellow Danes LLNN, Konvent has a bludgeoning weight to its sound that feels like it has all the subtlety of a brick to the face. And yet, if you take a break from spitting out your broken teeth to examine said brick, you will find it is flecked with gold. Just like LLNN’s glorious Unmaker, the crushing intensity of much of Call Down the Sun (“Grains” or “Sand is King”) obscures the finer details in the shadows around its edges. The melodic seam that creeps into the repeating riff of “Fatamorgana” brings an expansive sense of grandeur to Konvent that contrasts with the claustrophobic gloom of other tracks. Equally, the violin and cello contributed to album closer “Harena” by guest Felix Havstad, conjure a pitch black eeriness, while on “Pipe Dreams” the tempo creeps up, bringing a new vibrancy to the sound.

Perfectly complementing List’s vocal performance, Sara Helena Nørregaard’s guitars are great throughout Call Down the Sun. Huge doom riffs are laced with enough distortion to give the whole a rough, caustic feel but not at the expense of subtle melodic lines that lurk just below the surface. Bassist Heidi Withington Brink adds depth to the sound in an understated way, so that Konvent has an epic feeling of scale. While I can imagine it will not please all, I also really like the production job on Call Down the Sun. Brutal and uncompromising, it sounds like the sprawling, nightmarish desert depicted on the album’s cover, all cast in shades of sable, grey and ivory. I’m becoming quite a fan of the Danish scene at the moment, and now I can add Konvent to the likes of LLNN and MØL.

Tracks to Check Out: “Into the Distance,” “Fatamorgana,” “Pipe Dreams,” and “Harena”.

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