Finally, the weekend is upon us. What better way to kick it off than with the latest installment of "Funeral Doom Friday". For those who are new to this column; each week features a new or classic album from the realm of extreme doom. Much of funeral/death doom's might comes from an oppressive emotional weight and the use of death or black metal motifs (played at a trudging pace, of course.) Pioneers like Mournful Congregation, Evoken, and Esoteric have mastered this blend of dirge and destruction. For 25 years, they have methodically built compositions that stretch for dozens of minutes all while keeping fans enthralled. Time has elapsed since the days of Thergothon and much like the world around us, the genre has evolved. Today's modern bands contort the very construct of the genre, breeding darkly refreshing new work. Their work thankfully gives this column plenty of material to share.
The Texas-based duo of Excantation makes an appearance this week. The pair boasts an impressive résumé of talent, combining Shane Elwell (Covered in Flies, Flesh Consumed, Vaginal Bear Trap) and Ryan Wilson (The Howling Void, Pneuma Hagion, Endless Disease). Elwell and Wilson also collaborate on Intestinal Disgorge but it's their work as Excantation that has piqued interest this week. The band's second full-length record, Pilgrimage of the Imperator, arrived a couple of weeks ago. Within its confines are four, long-form tracks that encapsulate an Asunder or Evoken-like might.
Tracks like "A Trinity of Nooses" showcase Elwell and Wilson's cohesion wonderfully. The former's vocals come in the form of a thunderous bellow. He also chips in the towering riffs and crashing drums. Wilson meanwhile punctuates the atmosphere. Astute synth and keyboard arrangements are sometimes essential in extreme music like this. In Excantation's case, it's pulled off immaculately. In addition to this combination of two very talented musicians, the reason they wrote the music also greatly adds to its overall impact.
"Pilgrimage of the Imperator is an album made during a turbulent time. A close friend of both Ryan and I was in a coma after having a severe heart attack, and it seemed like the news got worse every day. As a way of coping, I spent hours locked away in my room, trying to write riffs that embodied the misery of potentially losing one of your best friends," Elwell said in a statement to Metal Injection. He continued, "Luckily, our friend Mike beat ridiculous odds and made a full recovery, but we still have this monolithic album on our hands. Pilgrimage continues where our previous album, A Somber Endeavor, left off; crushing leads, melancholic keyboards, cavernous drums, and tortured low vocals to create an atmosphere of pure despair. Thank you to Vitaly at GSP Magazine for his continued support."
Stream Pilgrimage of the Imperator below.