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Album Review: Konvent - 'Puritan Masochism'

11 February 2020 | 1:37 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

A slow, unrelenting aural assault.

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Seeing a relatively new metal band dropping their debut record on Napalm Records is most certainly something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Napalm is a large name in the realm of metal, and them backing a band who has only put only a four-track demo prior to this new LP speaks volumes about their belief in Konvent. Perhaps seeing their live performances from last year must’ve piqued the interest of said label to fully back the four Danish women behind this doomy, hell-spawned band. Because if you're hankering for a solid blend of death and doom metal, then look no further to Konvent with their debut record, 'Puritan Masochism.' However, if you’re looking for something that shows a deeper sense of dynamics or better variation in the songwriting, providing twists and turns with each track, then you had maybe better look elsewhere. For this is slow, punishing, and demolishing doom-death, first and foremost.

Konvent has come out of nowhere and have a good chance to make real waves with upcoming records, especially with Napalm Records now backing them. If 'Puritan Masochism' is only a taste of what this pulverizing group could later do, then I am most certainly on board to hear whatever comes next. Although, as this record is ridiculously heavy and monstrous overall, I would be remiss to say that it left me a little bored at times. Given the foundation based on doom metal, this is a slow-mid tempo listen, which means I am most certainly headbanging at that same pace, but I am also putting much more weight into that slow and repeated motion due to how goddamn heavy this LP is. Though, my neck gets sorer much faster with the larger energetic investment into headbanging; age is finally getting to me, it seems. So this is what your 20's are meant to feel like.

Konvent's burly riffs, percussion, and growled vocals all perfectly create a brooding, gloomy atmosphere, one that makes me feel like my chest is collapsing right into itself. But before you even get halfway through, this full-length may very well start to just feel like the band ran out of ideas and is mindlessly repeating themselves for (most of) the second half. Regardless of how crushingly heavy the music is, if it isn’t eventful enough to hold your attention from the start, then it is doomed (sorry) right from its very conception.

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Sonically, 'Puritan Masochism' sounds incredible as the production is bang-on for this kind of music and the band members all collectively add another dimension of heaviness to the music. Yet the main drawback, the crucial piece of criticism I have, is the lack of interesting parts and musical variety. For it can be a chore to get all the way through this nearly fifty-minute-long record when you're not in the right mindset, as the songs feel like they’re much longer than what they need to be. This thing barely strays from the death-metal-centric, doomy sound that they’re going for, and with the album remaining as such for its entire run-time, it just feels like time fully slows down around me as I listen to it. Resulting in this record dragging on longer than it probably needed to.

For the most part, the tracks are built around the over-repetition of a single riff and occasionally, the songs abruptly end, just like that. For example, 'The Eye' is built around its main riff, and thankfully, this track is shorter than its counterparts as it feels like it starts to build toward something, perhaps a transition to the following track or a massive comedown, but the track just ends all of a sudden. That build-up leaves me with some unsatisfied expectations. 'Bridge' is one of the key highlights, with it starting off incredibly slow and melancholic, only to progressively pick up the tempo as the track progresses and to wind it back down to the same tempo found at the beginning of the track. Imagine a bell curve with the tempo on the x-axis, that's how it moves and the change in pace is quite refreshing.

'Ropes Pt. I' and II also shake things up, although only slightly, what with the soft atmospheric riffs in the first part, and the faster pace and somewhat glitchy outro to that second part - an end that totally caught me off-guard. This pair works great as closers, but had they been placed in the center of the LP, it would’ve helped with the flow, as it really drags on until these two tracks wrap things up.

It is clear that the ladies behind Konvent are hugely talented, as their execution on this record is powerful and their clear intention to making music is to create the sonic equivalent of getting hit by a speeding bus. And they achieve it! The vocals are catastrophic and fit this record's tone so well, especially being that it contributes to how bloody heavy it all is. Although, just like the instrumentals, there isn’t much variation to the vocals either, yet you still cannot deny that Konvent has one hell of a vocalist - Rikke Emilie. I just yearned for more expansion and depth in this already-dense music because, without those changes, this record can honestly be a stagnant chore to get through sometimes.

That isn't me generalizing that doom metal is boring. Because it isn’t. There are plenty of doom metal bands that still maintain an incredibly slow pace while bringing some interesting variation to the table that is more than just pure, unadulterated mayhem; see bands like Mizmor, Dark Matter, Inter Arma, or the new Garganjua record, just to name a few. These artists mix different styles into their main doom ingredient to make it far spicier. Hopefully, Konvent can do the same, in their own unique, moving forward.

It's deftly apparent that Denmark's Konvent is a band capable of so much more, so they'll most certainly be kept on my radar, with a hope that in time, they'll finally show us everything they've got with a future sophomore record now that they're secured by a big record label in metal music. The more that I listen to 'Puritan Masochism,' the more it's evident that sheer, brutal heaviness was all that the band was going for, as a listening experience, rather than creating songs that genuinely stick with you. Konvent aimed to make a statement with this debut LP under their new label house, and that statement was to prove just how utterly heavy they are, which they absolutely succeeded in doing. Regardless if that extreme heaviness came at the sacrifice to the overall quality, intrigue, and dynamism of their music.

Puritan Masochism

The Eye


World of Gone



Idle Hands

Ropes Pt. I

Ropes Pt. II

'Puritan Masochism' is out now: