MANSION - We Shall Live (EP)

Mansion - We Shall Live (EP)

4 songs
21:59 minutes
***** ***


Originally self-released by the band last year, We Shall Live is now being reissued by Nine Records. If you have never happened to come across the Finnish sextet Mansion, don’t blame yourself, as for now they have led a rather inconspicuous existence. Apart from this four track EP, there is currently also a two track single out. Considering the quality of the music, it is actually a shame that there hasn’t been a longplayer yet.

Named after the Christian sect Kartanoism (kartano is the Finnish word for mansion) from the early 20th century, the band plays a very hypnotic kind of occult doom rock, inspired by ancient bands like Black Sabbath and Coven, and compared to contemporaries like Jess and the Ancient Ones, The Oath and Jex Thoth. Focal point of attention are of course Alma’s varied vocals that manage everything from conjuring incantations to the occasional surprisingly sweet. The music is probably more rock than metal, but there is a definitive doom background, and an occult atmosphere is also hard to deny.

The EP starts with the seven minute epic Mother’s Burden, a track where the Finns at once display all of their strengths. The beginning part has the same kind of sexy darkness that pervaded Nico’s early solo efforts, before turning into a fascinating mid-tempo rocker with crunchy guitars and arrangements that give the vocals enough space to allow for this special kind of verve that Mansion have discovered so early on in their career. Next up is the title track, another wonderfully plodding doom rock song that owes more to the early Seventies than to the here and now. The organs also procure a sense of darkness that is fitting perfectly well into the overall concept. Sorrowless is the most regular rocking song, without of course denying its strong Seventies roots. Especially the dual guitar lines add to the authenticity of the song. The EP ends all too soon with the really slow Slumber Sermon, where the band is unpacking one last time its entire repertoire of gloom and misery. It may sound strange that the vocals sound sweetest here, but that’s the element of surprise that makes Mansion such an endearing act.

Fans of doom revival will be delighted by this Finnish sextet, one of a growing number of bands that rely on female vocals. Despite the pioneering efforts of Coven in the late Sixties, female fronted doom rock has been a rare thing until recently (see the aforementioned bands), but Mansion add to the cause, and it can only be hoped that they will soon be back with a full length album. Anything else would be torture on their eagerly awaiting fans.

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