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Although it has been said, that Funeral Fornication started as a pagan band, the amount of black metal included was always huge, and it seems that the pagan influences could be found mostly in the lyrics. It’s no real surprise, that personal taste changes, and so the change of style to depressive black metal is nothing unlogical. With the change of style, the change of production standards followed and Pandemic Transgression is well produced. In comparission with other outputs you have to praise its playing time which is above average.
The record is defined through the excessive use of keyboard/synthesizer sounds, which mostly supplies the lead melodies. These melodies are accompanied with severe distorted, (but still differentiated) guitars and some more or less subtle screams/growls from the all around entertainer Vultyrous. The high amount of keyboard sounds is of course dominating the atmosphere, which is, how else could it have been, melancholic and depressive. That the keyboard sounds are dominating the scene is benefitted by the vocals, because they are quite steady.
The pure DSBM passages wouldn’t be very exciting, but the record is spiced up through the use of disharmonic guitar leads and some other shriek sounds, which are weaved in from time to time. Sadly, this doesn’t sound intentional the whole time, and so there are passages which provoke cold shivers. The eagerness to experiment is capitalized and Vultyrous tries to vary the album through clear vocals as well. The passages with clear vocals are mostly combined with synthesizer sounds and some subtle drums.
One of the best examples of a song with clear vocals, that are accentuated by synthesizer sounds, would be The Thorn Of Capricorn. When the tracks would be more epic, and have a slight folk influence, you could compare them with some tracks from Summoning, just to give a small example. The songs are, except of the occasionally used disharmonics, quite predictable, which is a common childhood disease in depressive black metal, which makes them a bit verbose. Nevertheless, the base frame is well done.
Pandemic Transgression is a marbled record. Through the use of disharmonics and clean vocals Vultyrous managed to raise the record a bit above average, but besides that it lacks innovation. The song structures are quite predictable and because of the drum-computer the songs are lacking live, which is enhanced through the constancy of the vocals. However the instruments are played well, and the synthies/keyboard sounds manage to compensate so the lackluster drum sound doesn’t matter so much. Fans of depressive black metal should like the record, everybody else has to ponder if it’s worth it.
Originally written for http://threnodies.com