Any fan of extreme metal knows, or should know, that one of the most fertile spots for exciting bands is Finland. For decades, Finland has turned out a variety of great death metal bands in particular and extreme metal bands in general. Amorphis, Rotten Sound, Demilich, Necropsy, and many, many more have put Finland on the map as a hot spot for any fan of extreme music. Other than those, the country is currently rich with many younger bands looking to add their name to the legacy of their nation’s music scene. If you’re looking for promising bands coming out of Finland, Convocation should definitely be on your list.
Formed in 2013, Convocation has been going strong for almost a decade now, crafting their own blend of doom and death metal over two stellar releases. In 2018, Scars Across announced the band to the world and 2020’s Ashes Coalesce showed the band’s promising debut was anything but a fluke. Now, with new music on the way in the not-so-distant future, Convocation is ready to make themselves known on the international stage. I recently caught up with vocalist MN to discuss Finland’s next big export.
First off, how did the band get started? How did you two meet and decide to form this particular band? How did the name Convocation come about?
MN: We met in 2012 at a friend’s party and started to talk about metal music. The connection was fast. After that night we started writing to each other and decided to form a band. Took time when the actual Convocation sound and direction was found.
The name Convocation was invented when we were recording our debut album Scars Across.
How did you two get into more extreme metal in the first place and who were some of your early influences?
MN: As a kid, my friends’ big brothers were into extreme metal. This was back in the eighties. So, when me and my friends were into W.A.S.P., Kiss, Venom, etc., the big brothers were listening to Sodom, Kreator, Bathory, Slayer etc. It didn’t take long for me to start listening to the same bands as my friends’ big brothers.
I can’t mention the bands that were influential but I was and still (am) into the first wave of black metal. I also enjoy death metal, old and new. And David Bowie, Billie Holiday, etc. I am open to all kinds of music.
With the band being just the two of you, does that present any unique challenges or benefits as opposed to bands with more of a traditional lineup?
MN: Since there are only two of us, the challenges are easier to overcome. There’s no pressure or stress in Convocation. If anything like that occurs, then fuck it. We do our art the way we want and on our own terms.
What is the music writing process like for you two? Has it changed at all over the years?
MN: LL composes all the songs, plays all the instruments, records them, and sends me the instrumental tracks. I write the lyrics, compose, and arrange vocals and record them. When the vocals are recorded, LL mixes the entire album. Then we choose the right master engineer. With this recipe we have made both albums. Though, all the lyrics on the next album are written by LL.
How do you come up with the lyrics for the band? Are there particularly inspirations you use for those and what themes do you most like to explore through your lyric writing?
MN: Life. Personal stuff. Death, addiction, violence. My inspiration while writing is silence.
Convocation has such an awesome sound that feels wholly unique to the band. How did you come up with the sound for the band and how would you describe it?
MN: Blame LL for that. He likes his music to be huge. The wizard of huge soundscapes. Genius.
What was the writing/recording process like for Ashes Coalesce? Did you feel more comfortable getting what you wanted in the studio now that you already had an album completed beforehand? What was the goal with the second album?
MN: We have never been into a studio with Convocation. Like I partly answered earlier, LL composes all the songs, plays, and records all the instruments in his rehearsal place. I compose and record my vocals in my rehearsal place. Then LL mixes the whole thing.
The goal with the second album Ashes Coalesce was to make a better and more diverse album compared to the debut. I think we succeeded.
How affected has the band been by the pandemic, both in terms of getting music done and live plans?
MN: Let’s put it this way. Things happened and some things didn’t. A bit Spinal Tap kind of answer.
Both your albums have really intense, classic art inspired covers. Who does them and how much direction do you give them?
MN: LL does them. He reads my lyrics and on that basis begins to paint. Like I said, he’s a wizard.
Finland has such a legendary scene for extreme metal. What has the scene in your home country been like for you and what do you think it is about the country that produces so many killer bands?
MN: Proud of course. For example in death metal we have a great history. If you don’t know about it, then read Rotting Ways to Misery: The History of Finnish Death Metal. And the newer bands such as Corpsessed, Cadaveric Incubator, Krypts, Gorephilia, Lie In Ruins, Charnel Rift, Desolate Shrine, Skulmagot, Morbific, Proscription, Solothus, God Disease, etc. are all great. Also the masters of Finnish Doom, Profetus.
I think the cold weather and people not smiling to each other affect the finnish extreme metal. We are not happy people.
Lastly, what’s next for Convocation? What are your goals for the next few years of the band?
MN: We have new material done for the third Convocation album. So maybe a new album this year. And a show in the future when the time is right.
Logo and band photos provided to Metal Plague by the band.