Jason Panella | Beaver Falls, PA United States | 01/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Congregation is the definite bridge between the proto-hard rock from Up In It and the seminal Gentlemen, a mixture of driving distortion and soulful swagger.Their musical chops increased greatly since their last album, the Whigs lay down track after track of intoxicating songwriting. Not every track is great, but even the lesser songs are stunning in one way or another.Here are some examples. "I'm Her Slave" is just classic Whigs: catchy, abrasive, and well-written. "Turn on the Water" follows this, and can't match up to the intensity of the previous track, but still has an amazing bridge section and something is just captivating about guitarist Rick McCollum's use of the wah pedal on the verses."Conjure Me" employs the standard Greg Dulli self-loathing/me-vs.-her lyrics, all the while Steve Earle lays down a frantic drum track and McCollum's provides some rapid slide guitar. "Kiss the Floor" has one of the coolest guitar riffs the Whigs have ever used, and the title track and the cover of "The Temple" from Jesus Christ Superstar are both highly entertaining. Still, there are a few awkward moments. The chorus on "Dedicate It" comes without warning, which isn't bad, but sounds out of place. The same goes for the chorus of "Kiss the Floor," which throws off the previously mentioned guitar line. Finally, the hidden track, "Milez is Dead," is a good song per se, but would fair a little bit better if it were cut in length.Overall, this is a near-perfect album, a great stylistic balance between Gentlemen and Up In It. While Gentlemen may be a great place to start for the newcomer, Congregation is a good back-up plan. Two thumbs up."
A signpost on the way to gentlemen
Davy | Athens, GA | 08/03/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"a few years before this album was dropped, the afghan whigs were new label sub pop's biggest name, their hot new band, their pride and joy. and _congregation_ was to be the fruition of that promise, the biggest underground album of the year, and so on and so forth. then a little band called nirvana came along. so much for the whigs. luckily, they signed to elektra after this and made their true masterpiece, _gentlemen_, which everyone who loves rock music should own. this, well, this album is no _gentlemen_, but it is nice in that it shows the band at their most rocking, before they took their classic soul influences and made them known. it's also the breaking-out party for greg dulli, who was finding his voice as a commentator on depression and sex and the sexy depression and depressed sex and the depressing chasm that separates the sexes."
Outstanding work, diverges from the "mainstream" alternative
Robert Owen | Alexandria, Va | 11/18/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Afghan Whigs, like other great bands, take a while to get used to. Their brand of music mixes the wall of sound technique of a Catherine Wheel with rhythmic piano. Not many alternative bands use piano on anything other than whimsical ballads to make a few bucks. Not here. This band manages to intertwine the piano play with excellent rock music. There are six or seven outstanding tracks on this CD. It is raw, cutting, and riveting to listen to and will undoubtedly have you quickly wanting more from this band."
On this album, the Whigs begin to really develop their style
jane | 07/19/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album sits between "Up In It" and "Gentlemen." If you listened to those two albums on their own--without this one--a giant stylistic gulf emerges. On this album, the Whigs lay the foundation for their transition--from the hardly original, but still interesting grunge of "Up In It" to the furious, suave, articulate proto-funk of "Gentlemen." You can really hear Greg Dulli's growth as a songwriter on this album--for their first time, you can hear nuances in the lyrics that lend themselves to dozens of different interpretations. There is an incredible softness in some of the songs--"I'm Her Slave" and "Let Me Lie To You"--and a creeping type of horror in songs like "Tonight." If you like the Afghan Whigs, this c.d. is a must have. If you don't like the Afghan Whigs. . . there is surely something wrong with you."
My introduction to the whigs and greg dulli
Brent Chapman | indianapolis, in United States | 01/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"this was my first whigs album. before i found this record, i was mired in a classic rock rut because that's all they played on the radio in the midwest. i was getting real sick of buying albums from bands that broke up before i was born. i had a couple "grunge" albums but never really got into that scene. then the whigs came along and changed my musical tastes from then on. I think it was the darkness that really struck me with "Congregation." it was probably the teenager in me that really liked that "stay away from me, i'm dangerous" attitude that the songs embody. but it was done so well, and never came off corny like so much music that tries to go in that direction.and i haven't even mentioned their sound. it was really different stuff at the time, still is. i was just floored by the frenetic guitar, the pianos, and that underlying r+b that you can pick up on if you listen carefully. it's the perfect mix of hard-rocking, screaming stuff like "turn on the water" and the slow, melancholy ballad like "let me lie to you." and the the 'secret' track, "milezizded" is just incredible. after buying this album i felt like i had found something really special, something made for me, not the masses, something no one else knew about (to the dismay of the whigs, i'm sure). i was positive the whigs were going to explode, but they never did. there were so many bands at that time with marginal talent that really seemed to capitalize on post-grunge. but alas, the whigs were stuck firmly in obscurity. but it's best that way. i can't seperate nirvana's "nevermind" from sophomore dances after the football game in the school lunchroom (and just to clarify, those are memories i wouldn;t mind forgetting). "congregation" connects me back to that time in my life, but the quieter moments, not the mtv drenched, mass marketed ones."