Funeralium - Funeralium review
|Release date:||July 2007|
01. First Symptoms
02. Transcendance N°26
04. Let People Die
05. Light Crisis
06. Nearly The End
Step by step, the French doom scene extends its mourning grip on the underground world. Funeralium had already stuck a few claws in 2004, when their demo "Ultra Sick Doom", a fair warning to any soul brave enough to plunge into their tortured universe, was generally acclaimed by the experts of the genre. Formed by members of Ataraxie, Funeralium had been a staggering surprise: where Ataraxie's doom death teems with sounds, riffs and musical life, Funeralium chose the minimalist approach. And the result is as breathtaking as it goes.
By minimalist, I don't mean "tr00 black metal minimalist", although the production is indeed quite raw and very organic. Minimalist here means that the music does not indulge in arrangements, bombastic keyboards and romantic atmospheres. Funeralium is the exact opposite of Shape Of Despair, for instance. Instead of warmth and beauty, the only things you find on this album are ugliness, coldness, emptiness, despair, barrenness and sickness. This is almost visual: the tormented guitars and the distorted bass speak of nuclear landscapes, of deformity and disease, while the evil vocals remind of a madman screeching and pleading in his asylum. The vocalist really did an amazing job. He sounds like possessed and seems to carry all the weight, all the misery of the world on his wretched shoulders.
The songs are long, very long - the album clocks above 75 minutes, with only 6 tracks. They creep up slowly, painfully, in order to actually drown the listener in an ocean of fever and insanity. The approach can be considered as similar to that of Esoteric for example. Sometimes, but sometimes only, they end up in an explosion of death metal ("Funeralium"). Sometimes, but sometimes only, Funeralium goes melodic ("Let People Die"), but these melodies still carry an apocalyptic touch. Every inch of hope, every parcel of light is mercilessly trampled, ground and torn apart by the inhuman sickness that emanates from Funeralium's music.
A lot of you probably think this album is boring. Don't make this mistake. Though you won't find anything obviously catchy, this album is so well written that every new listen reveals something new and that there is always a riff, a particular sound or vocal line that you remember. It never gets tedious also because the riffs and the whole musical pattern borrow a lot from the old-school doom masters such as Black Sabbath, St Vitus, etc.
I was about to conclude with old clichés such as "this is not for all ears", or "you need a certain mood to get into this album", or "fans of this or that will like it". But this would not be fair. Albeit probably condemned to remain in the underground forever, Funeralium is a band which deserves to be tasted and appreciated by the whole spectrum of metal fans. Funeralium proves that you don't need to wear corpsepaint and to pose as the biggest defenders of satanic beliefs to be extreme. They show that you don't need lightspeed guitar riffs and blastbeats to be extreme. This is more violent, more extreme than a lot of black, death or grind bands. And this will also appeal to people who want feelings and emotions, however negative and wretched, in their music.
In other words, this is an awesome record, among the year's best in the doom metal category. This is music that speaks to the soul. A difficult listen, and a disturbing one, but an experience to live nonetheless.
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| Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
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