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It's fairly common in heavy metal to have a fast, loud song as an opener to get people on the hook -- energize the listeners, set the mood, and all that. Applying that same mentality to funeral death-doom, however, might blow out some speakers. Convocation, a Finnish duo specializing in a glacial, tortured heaviness, now offers up the titanic opening track from their upcoming album Ashes Coalesce: while "fast" is relative, every second of "Martyrise" oozes sheer volume. The "hook" here is a butcher's meat hook, but very worth hopping on:

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Despair, meet anxiety: crushing riffs smash their patterns into plodding drums, and every other element of the mix serves to heighten the tension. Jarring piano and string accompaniment find the perfect points to add deranged harmony, while growls spew out indecipherably: an amplified version of the tortured winds blowing past, much like the quieter gusts that open and close the song.

The remaining three tracks on Ashes Coalesce offer some breaks from the sheer devastation, but "Martyrise" is the perfect barn-burner to kick it all off. When "setting the mood" for funeral doom, especially with the occasional blistering touch of death metal found in Convocation, the goal is likely somewhere between a fugue state and raving misery. Finding that delicate balance in these somehow too-short 12 minutes, Convocation unhinges the doors of consciousness, granting melancholy access to the realms within.

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Ashes Coalesce releases July 3rd via Sentient Ruin Records (US - vinyl), Everlasting Spew Records (EU - vinyl/digital/CD) and Dawnbreed Records (cassette).

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