Mansion Premiere “Traitor’s Dirge”; Altar Sermon EP out Today

mansion (Photo by Ulla Kudjoi)

Continuing to proselytize dogmatic severity, Finnish conceptual cult rockers Mansion today release their new two-song, limited-to-500-copies EP, Altar Sermon, via Svart Records. It is the latest in a series of short releases from the thematically-specific outfit — who base their lyrical themes and presentation on the Kartanoist movement that took hold in Finland between the 1920s and 1950s — and follows the expanding scope as shown on late-2014’s Uncreation (review here) and 2013’s We Shall Live (review here) while showcasing not quite the same amount of color (perish the thought!) as last year’s The Mansion Congregation Hymns Vol. 1 7″, but still a touch of swirl, varied tones of grey as it may be. The included tracks, “Altar Sermon” (video posted here) and “Traitor’s Dirge,” essentially pick up where Uncreation left off, finding the Turku-based outfit working in extended runtimes and a balance between atmospheric, organ-laced classic heavy rock and doom, distinguished through clenched-jaw theatrics and, of course, the fact that at least some of what they’re talking about actually happened.

Altar Sermon further stands out from their past output through the inclusion of a notable guest performance by Mat McNerney, known most recently for his work in Hexvessel and Beastmilk but whose pedigree extends much further back. Listed as the “traveling preacher Matteus,” McNerney joins Mansion‘s vocalist Alma Mansion (who takes her name from Kartanoism’s mansion-altar-sermonfounder, Alma Kartano), for a duet on “Altar Sermon.” One of the founding tenets of Kartanoism being an aversion to all sex, Mansion toy with ritualized violence lyrically while the backing lineup of guitarists Jaakob and Vilkko-Tapio, keyboardist Martti-Juhani, bassist Immanuel and drummer Antani support an impression of classic gothic doom repurposed through varied movements of eerie atmospheres topped by call and response leading to a melodic wash over a final crawl. Its sex-as-punishment is more justification than condemnation — though there’s plenty of that too — but “Traitor’s Dirge” is where the wicked are truly cast down. The traitor in question is Kartanoism co-founder Matilda “Tilda” Reunanen, who according to Alma has turned on the lord, the fold, the truth, and perhaps worst of all, the Mansion itself.

It’s a catchy hook even if it does lead to a descriptive image of Reunanen on her deathbed with her eyes eaten out by rats, and its righteousness of purpose in the early verses is mirrored by a classic metal chug and lead interplay and a rich melodic crux that breaks shortly before the halfway point to whispered vocals, ping ride, organ and far-back guitar to set the foundation for a build to come. The chorus comes back around, but is reshaped skillfully to suit the song’s progression and layered voices lead the way into a solo-topped underworld as the track and the EP come to a close. Mansion‘s strength as their project has taken shape over the last couple years has been their ability to portray their theme coherently while balancing that atop memorable songwriting — they’ve built their own stage, in other words, and the drama plays out with sure footing. Honestly, they were ready for their first album after Uncreation, so Altar Sermon doesn’t necessarily have that to prove, but its 18 minutes do leave me convinced that Mansion will have no trouble holding character over the course of a full-length while also being able to demonstrate varied craftsmanship across a broadening stylistic reach. Makes me look forward to the record, in other words. Whenever it might arrive and whatever sinister form it might ultimately take.

I’m thrilled today to host the premiere of “Traitor’s Dirge” in honor of the EP’s release. Please find it below, followed by more info from the PR wire, and enjoy:

To date, Mansion have released two EPs, 2013’s We Shall Live – which featured the video “Slumber Sermon” – and Uncreation the following year, which musically illustrated the mansionites journeying further on their crusade against the mundane and sinful with frightening conviction. With Altar Sermon and the title track’s new video, Mansion present their most harrowing vision yet: in their own words, “the cinematic re-enactment of a mansionite ritual known as the Altar Sermon. Mansion’s score for the captured moments includes a duet with Alma and traveling preacher Matteus. The soundtrack will be released bearing the title Altar Sermon on October 23rd. The flip-side of the release contains the song ‘Traitor’s Dirge.’ In the song, the treacherous Tilda Reunanen regrets her involvement in our cause and is sentenced to the everlasting fires of Hell.”

Mansion on Thee Facebooks

Mansion on Bandcamp

Altar Sermon at Svart Records

Svart Records on Thee Facebooks

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