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(originally posted by me to the MetalMusicArchives: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/)
As influential they were to the funeral doom metal genre, Norway's Funeral haven't totally gotten the respect they wholly deserve. Any of the attention and praise that could have gone to Funeral's debut Tristesse instead went to Skepticism's Stormcrowfleet or Esoteric's Epistemological Despondency, both amazing albums in their own right. But no, I am here to shine the spotlight on Funeral.
We start off with "Thoughts of Tranquility". The first minute or so is taken up by mournful sounding acoustic guitar, a perfect mood setter for a funeral doom album. Within this song, we have the typical early funeral doom atmosphere and tone. Production is raw but now too raw. There are clear points of the song where the change in the riff occurs, which is good to know so you don't think of it getting too monotonous. Another interesting attribute I've noticed is the layering of the death growls with cleaner sounding vocals. This is somewhat of a precursor to Funeral's gothic phase they're involved in now, but it's appeal that helps Funeral set themselves apart from Skepticism and Esoteric even more.
Next comes "A Poem for the Dead". Another acoustic guitar intro present, but this one only goes on for about 30 seconds. The other eighteen minutes is funeral doom sorrow. Though initially slow as usual, the song does vary by breaking into a faster chugging at the 1:25 mark, then returns to slowness about thirty seconds later. The song varies again with the double bass drums pounding at 2:32 with the guitars still playing long chords. This double bass rhythm reappears at 4:43. The rhythm goes on for 45 seconds until the break signals a speed up to chugs on the rhythm guitar as well as a well placed guitar solo. There are more timing variations present after a prolonged period of crushing funeral doom atmosphere. Another cool guitar solo comes in at 13:07, but then that fades out to an acoustic guitar passage before finishing the funeral doom trip. This single song was an amazing presentation of funeral doom metal.
Last song is "Yearning for Heaven". No acoustic guitar to start this song off. Instead, there's a slow bass rhythm before shortly cutting to the actual funeral doom riffing. Though the riffs clearly change in the song, there are otherwise no outstanding variations in terms of timing changes. There is a guitar solo in the later end of the 7 minute mark. Oh wait! They stuck the acoustic guitar in the outro. Nicely solemn way to end this album.
I actually credit this album for making me truly understand the funeral doom metal genre. I've listened to Skepticism's Stormcrowfleet before listening to this and didn't think too much of it because of the lack of clean production. Then I listened to Tristesse and found it mind-blowing. On my return listen to Stormcrowfleet, I totally loved it. Tristesse may also be the most ideal path for outsiders of funeral doom metal to get in due to it being about 40 minutes with three songs, shorter than most funeral doom albums. Well done, Funeral!
I am a sucker for lengthy music (Moonsorrow anybody?) and certainly for doomy-depressive music (Paramaecium, Mourning Beloveth, Morgion anybody?). Thus, when I found about this band I was intrigued and then I went to the music shop and told my friend about the band. Weeks later he brought the double cd Tristesse and Tragedies. I bought it and I was eager to listen to it.
When I pressed play and that thing began to sound I almost puked! I say it not because it was shit, but because of the majestic depressive, gloomy, doomy, ultra slow paced songs sounding around. Not to mention those deep and from-beyond-the-grave guttural voices that can, definitely, make you NOT to sleep. I was fascinated by this thing. I already used all the synonyms I can come up for this (doom, depressive, etc) but oh, I have some others: melancholic, sad, funeral march alike! All these words describe this sound. Joking around, I thought: I should bring white roses and a grave to my work desk, or I should go and jump from a bridge to end my pitiful existence. That is what these guys can make you think when you listen to them.
‘Tristesse’ is VERY slow. The few riffs are used as a progression through the average 10min. mark of the songs, so they can become very monotonous and you have to pay undeniable and patient attention to the album to fully appreciate. If you are a fan of this style, the monotonous riffing is not a problem but for any casual listener it will bore you. The drums are VERY slow as you can imagine although there are some double bass drumming here and there. Everything is played in such way to invoke this funeral-march sound. The distortion is very low and there is predominance on the bass so the songs sound thick and deep. Although very slow, there are some mid tempo passages (for funeral doom that is quite fast). Take the 12min. mark on ‘A poem for the dead’ which excites you because it certainly does not make the songs that monotonous. The inclusion of guitar solos (with a lot of echo in the second speaker) is another highlight for this genre. There are classical guitars at the beginning and end of each song. This evokes the beginning of your end and they play them very good.
The vocals are, as mentioned, deep growled and they also incorporate clean vocals, very deep and they sound like religious celebration chants, or if you saw ‘Eyes wide shut’ from Stanley Kubric, the scene where the actor is in the house watching the monk blessing the naked whores, you get the idea what these vocals sound like. This is done to provide this ‘end of life’ vibe an atmosphere. With these vocals, one cannot deny the fact that you think of watching your own corpse in the coffin from either beyond the grave or from the front row seat.
There is not much to say about this album and I think I have comprised everything here. The songs are lengthy, there are few riffs played VERY slowly and there are some mid tempos here and there. There are creepy as hell vocals which will cause you nightmares and good instrumentation. The production is still dirty and I wonder if it is on purpose. This is not by any means the best the genre has to offer but if you definitely love this style this can be as good as any album to pick up and have around. In the next release the sound changed radically with the inclusion of a soprano singer. As for this one, if you can picture your own death, you can do it by listening to this but be warned, if you are in a deep depression don’t listen it. Otherwise you will end up killing yourself.
I quite like this album; certainly it is slow paced, and yet full of melody. This is a good formulae of doom (and even more so for funeral doom), and Funeral was a pioneer in this sound. This album shows it. Paced with sombre, brooding vocals, amidst slow, distorted guitar work - and in the next second, classical guitar melodies add a haunting beauty to the entire work, enhancing the depth further.
This said, the entire album (well, 3 songs to be exact) is not entirely slow at every moment, a good example is in the second song, about 6 minutes (and later in at 13 minutes, prior to some wonderful, classical guitar work) in one can find melody at a heightened speed - this merely adds to the overall quality of the song, while it could be considered inconsistent and odd amongst everything else, it is implemented in an expertly subtle way, as if flowing naturally amongst the gloom.
One complaint could be the production, it isn't flashy, crisp or clear in the most modern sense, and the drums can sometimes seem a little flat - and yet, to me, this simply adds to the album. I think that if this sounded clear and crisp, pounding with clarity, the atmosphere would lessen somewhat, and the doomish feel to it would lessen quite a bit. There is nothing wrong with the sound of something 'poorly' produced if it is done well, in that I would say it isn't poor production at all. The band did a great job with the budget/conditions they had to produce/record the album.
So, any true complaint about the album? Yes - I wouldn't mind seeing a few more songs on here! While not a true complaint concerning the music, it is about this as an album, I think 1 or 2 more songs would make this album feel a little more complete (as an album), or extending their current songs just a bit more. It is worth noting here that they later re-released Tristesse along with Tragedies, along with some bonus tracks from 'Beyond All Sunsets' - this definitely fulfilled that sense of gap that was had in this release, and is highly recommended for those who enjoy or enjoyed this album, or any of Funeral's earlier material for that matter.
That said, the album is wholly worth your time (in my opinion), for a dooming, melancholic, yet oh so melodic work of art. The early sound of Funeral helped pioneer Funeral Doom for a good reason; this is slow and sad, I highly recommend it.
What we have here is an EP from the Norwegian doom band known as Funeral. And although this only contains 3 tracks, it still clocks in at just under 40 mintues..so prepare for some long as hell songs!! Ok, I love doom metal a whole lot, but this album is one of the weakest I've heard. The vocals are pretty standard, and the riffs are as slow and simple as possible. Some of it is enjoyable but its kinda hard to sit through those slow drawn out songs when there really isn't any high points. The 3 songs here range from almost decent to bad. The beginning of the Thoughts of Tranquillity sounds promising, as does the end of Yearning For Heaven, but most of it is too boring to pay much attention to. There is one great thing about this disc though, and that is the classical guitar that is sprawled throughout the 3 songs. It's great, the actual songs..well..aren't.