Few albums will send you rifling through a 2,400 page tome. But such is the gravity, beauty and heartbreaking sentiment within The Life Of The World To Come – a trip to the Bible seems obligatory. Each song is named after a biblical passage, the relevance more obvious in some than others. Occasionally, John Darnielle adopts a persona (a prisoner on 1 John 4:16), but it mostly seems unflinchingly autobiographical with consistently breathtaking results. Matthew 25:21 is a harrowing account of rushing to someone’s bedside to watch them die: “the last of something bright burning, still burning; beyond the cancer and the chemotherapy.” Darnielle's voice comes as close as it ever will to wobbling on a track that will well up the eyes of the most secular listener. Whether you agree with the author's piousness – affected or genuine – shouldn’t stop you from hearing this. Christian rock this is not, but it's one of the best records of 2009.
Video: The Mountain Goats - Genesis 3:23
Written for The Skinny