Streaming: Mansion, ‘Uncreation’

One of yours truly’s favorite musical discoveries of 2013, enigmatic Finland doom collective Mansion made an immediate impression on the debut EP We Shall Live, and turned in a stunning live performance at the Roadburn Festival last April. The band had been working on new material throughout 2014, and eight months after the seven-inch release Congregation Hymns Vol. 1, have served up another helping of Kartanoist-themed dogma in the form of the spellbinding new record Uncreation.
Comprised of four tracks but clocking in at 37 minutes, Uncreation actually qualifies as a proper album rather than an EP, and is plenty good enough to hold up alongside the best albums of 2014. It’s a shame that it came out so quietly and under the radar in mid-December, but it’s never too late to listen to great music. Besides, that’s what January’s for: catching up on music you might have missed throughout the previous year.

Once again, Uncreation finds the members of Mansion delve into the doomsday cult philosophy of Alma Kartano, who created the Christian sect in Finland in the first half of the 20th century and preached asceticism and warned of the impending wrath of God. It’s a brilliant idea by the band, whose straight-faced approach to the themes lends some delicious mystery to the hypnotic psychedelic doom arrangements. The singer, who has taken the nom de plume Alma, embraces that role fully on record and in concert, and dominates the four tracks on this record with her steely enunciation and solemn, hymnlike singing, especially on the foreboding title track. But then a track like “Divining Rod” comes along, in which she whips herself into a frenzy, her lines crescendoing into cries of ecstasy and religious fervor. Alma and Mansion sells this idea convincingly, which you can hear for yourself below via Bandcamp.

Uncreation is now available on 12” vinyl and as a digital download. Purchase it here.