Friday, 18 April 2014

Mansion - The Mansion Congregation Hymns Vol​.​1 (2014) / 92%

“Wild child, you're gonna burn in hell!”

After a great EP released in 2013 that automatically topped my “albums of the year” list, Mansion from Turku (Saku Koivu's hometown!) is back with a short ten minutes appetizer to nourish my mum doom needs. This is torture though since I'm totally expecting a full length from these Finns and the wait is killing me! There's one coming this year apparently so my expectations are through the riff and if I wasn't a broke student, I would travel to Finland to attend the release gig alongside the doom legends of this Nordic country.

Mansion has this mysterious aura surrounding them, they have many members but the core seems to be the singer, a brunette with a peculiar and enjoyable voice and a vampiric man possibly handling the musical side of the project. The Metal Archives' member page and the album lineup lists all kind of members but I'm doubtful it's accurate, the band seems to use session members live or simply friends of their cult. The important thing is that the direction of the band is clear and thoughtful!

The seven inch vinyl release includes two strong numbers, side A is “Wild Child”, a groovy fast paced number with a catchy chorus that I sang in the bus despite its “occult” lyrics. It's pretty obvious that the band already evolved after We Shall Live, the twenty minutes EP was fun but it was quite contemplative and darker than the material on Vol. 1.

The first chapter of what I expect to be a series of awesome short releases has this awesome fusion feel almost reminding me of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters as it has horns (there's a trumpet solo for fuck's sake) and a nice powerful bass presence. The first song is fast, has a good riff to go along with the exceptional female clean voice with added background vocals giving a sense of urgency to the heavy, fast and hard rockin' track. It's still about Kartanoism, that weird sect that I explored more thoroughly in my first Mansion review, it's dark, occult and talks about repentance...but I'm still having a mighty amusing time!

Side B is “New Dawn”, it's almost six minutes and it's slower, it shows that the band can successfully expand their sound even in a ten minute release. It's even richer than We Shall Live since it's adding a lot of instruments, nevertheless the overall production feels rawer and heavier than the atmospheric but plain approach of their debut. I think both approaches have their charm though. Instrumentally, it's stronger than all the bands of this so called occult doom/rock trend, the guitars are shining even though they gave more place to the bass and the horns. The vocal lines are pretty much perfect, the guitar riffs are heavy, well written and supported by a rock solid rhythm section. With Vol. 1, the band evolves towards a sort of big band identity not unlike Jess and the Ancient Ones but with an ever grander scope. I would be fine with a Grateful Dead-esque avant garde doom band, in fact I would probably sell my grand mother for that. I still have two and one of them is insane.

I'll bitterly put that EP on repeat until I'm fully assimilated and can't function anymore, this will work as I'm painfully waiting for a longer release. Nonetheless, this is a good transition, catchy as fuck and intensely profound. Perhaps not as good as their debut, it's still top notch and worth your time!

Someone has to set you straight, get on your knees!”

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