Minstrel of Mourning by Church of Misery is not a release by the Japanese doom band Church of Misery who focus on serial killers. Instead this is an album featuring Stevo from Impetigo and is slow doom ala Cathedral. Got that? This album was recorded in the early 90s and never saw any release until Razorback Recordings decided to release the album this year.
Usually when an album from a member of a well known band sees the light of day after being set aside for many years, that means one thing: the album sucks and the only reason it is being released is because of said band member’s notoriety from their more famous gig. Well, usually that is the case. Except in this case that is totally wrong. As someone who has always been kinda iffy on Impetigo, I have to say that this album is, in my opinion, better than Steveo’s main gig. Quite different but better.
The album is dark to the point of being almost oppressive. The songs are slow and there are very few fast moments in most of the songs. Instead they plod and lurch like a corpse. On the few moments where the band does pick up the pace it only serves to accentuate the slowness that follows and comes before. This is not for the faint of heart and is not something you would want to put on to have a good time with.
The packaging of the album also shows why it is preferable to have an actual album instead of just a digital download: the album cover of a lone cross with a shadow of two hands is creepy beyond words, and the back cover is equally creepy. It has to be seen to be believed. Also included in the packaging is three pages worth of extensive liner notes by Steveo St. Vitus and Brett Fugate. These elements enhanced my experience tenfold and made me appreciate the album even more.
In summary, check the album out, but get it as a CD with the art and liner notes to look at. You won’t regret it!
1. Fui Quode Es, Eris Quod Sum
2. Minstrel of Mourning
3. Winter of Blood
5. Despair (At the Cemetary Gates)
6. Old Man Tree
Church of Misery are:
Tom Kirk – Bass
Brett Fugate – Drums
Neil Hardesty – Guitar
Stevo Dobbins – Guitar, Vocals