Mournful Congregation (specifically their re-issue of early material, The Unspoken Hymns) summon some smoky, trippy, psychogenic-hallucinogenic visions of my early adolescence:
a Saint Vitus cassette (Saint Vitus, on the tiny SST label), that in 1987 was all the rage as, even then, a "classic, rare tape" (thus RIP and, I think, Metal Maniacs magazines said); I could never find it in town, no matter how many tape stores I went to ("tape stores"-- ha!);
Then: a few months later-- several towns and states away--
I happened upon it:
"Hark! does the spine of that tape in the "pop" (not metal) section say Saint Vitus? Holy Godfucker! I believe it mothereffing does in fact evince such a non-verbal proclamation!"*
I pulled out the tape, with its H.R.-Giger-meets-plastic-speculum anti-theft sculpture/container/packaging.
It was Saint Vitus! But then I saw the circular sticker in the lower right corner--
Why the hell was it $11.99??
That was a fortune for a tape! They were always 7, 8, or $9.99-- never with a fourth digit--usurious bastards!
"You are not METAL...! [Sidenote: this was totally how I talked back then.]
"You are not true warriors of an ancient and inherited nobility, on innately honest and true and mighty, one immune to shame and sin and...!"
So, anyway, I get it.
Holding it, I can only imagine, like neanderthal hunters held prey recently clawed into submission, at home I played it over and over and over and over (i.e., flip/play, flip/play, flip/play); I think at that age it didn't matter at all if you didn't like it at first-- you WANTED to like it, and so you listened and listened and let it wash over you, taking mental notes, until it became a part of your psyche. You didn't so much like it then as much as know it.
The Unspoken Hymns is essentially an update, an evolution, a mutation, of Saint Vitus: better, denser production, even further detuned, even slower, even more despondant...
The entirety of The Unspoken Hymns is essentially Chopin's "Sonata No. 2 in B Flat Minor" (funeral march) as played by radically-detuned electric guitars.
You know if this is for you.
Let it wash over you, let it seep into your skin, find your inner sad 14-year-old and revel in this.
Sometimes... it feels so good to feel so sad. Come on-- ride high on this deep depression.
Mournful Congregation Myspace:
[With apologies to Shirley Manson.]