Much like the miniscule figures pictured standing beside the ominous abyss on the album’s cover artwork, Puritan Masochism, the debut album from Danish death doom quartet Konvent, drags the listener through an ever darkening chasm of punishing riffs, sinister melodies and guttural vocals. Having released their debut EP Demo in 2017, Puritan Masochism displays a huge leap forward in their songwriting and looks set to bring the band’s suffocating death doom to a much wider audience.
The pace and guitar tones throughout the whole album are pure doom magnificence, sounding as imposing as a slate grey storm-filled sky, ever bolstered by the commanding death growls – and occasional black metal shrieks – of vocalist Rikke Emilie List. Where death metal vocals can sometimes sound inhuman in their delivery, in contrast List’s voice sounds upfront and intimate – think Karl Willetts of Bolt Thrower – rendering the listener all but powerless from feeling every evil vibration emitting from her throat. Amongst the oppressive atmosphere conjured up are subtle flourishes of melody that manage to throw fleeting flashes of light upon the infected gloom, such as the opening arpeggios to ‘Bridge’ and ‘Ropes Part I’ and the swirling, hypnotic riffs of ‘Idle Hands’. Indeed, in Sara Helena Nørregaard the band have an incredibly gifted guitarist, one whose memorable and menacing riffs leave a lasting impression and lend the tracks a dark, melodic edge.
With Puritan Masochism Konvent have delivered an incredibly self-assured debut. Packed with malevolent atmosphere, thundering riffs and deft songwriting, one is left with the feeling that there is a hell of a lot more to come from this band.
Puritan Masochism is released via Napalm Records on 24th January and can be purchased here.
Words: Adam Pegg