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When I first read Igor Sidorenko from Stoned Jesus had been on a doom metal band, my first thought was that it would be something related to Reverend Bizarre, that would be nearer to the style Sidorenko plays on Stoned Jesus. I did expect a lot. When I came to Metal Archives and found it was a blackened doom metal band, I was surprised, but I did expect a lot still. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed.
The instrumental part (mainly the guitars and keyboards, the instruments Sidorenko plays) is pretty good, giving an epic approach to black/doom with interesting progressions and arrangements that go from slow to fast. This oscillation between genres and melodies gives the album an interesting atmosphere of desolation combined to some kind of a dualism between hope and despair, showing off the particular Ukrainian ability to create dark and gloomy atmospheres. Despite such an atmosphere, the album is very, very flawed in so many parts it obfuscates its qualities.
Firstly, the vocals sound horrible. Basically, all we can see is Sidorenko destroying his throat with a crappy and poorly done guttural noise, it's just some mouth-modulated growl. Here we agree his place is among clean vocals...
It's hard not to compare both bands, since I'm a big fan, but let's put Stoned Jesus apart and analyse Funeral of the Sun as the blackened doom band it is.
Their approach to the musical style was almost interesting, with their symphonic licks that sounded pretty cool, but the music as a whole wasn't very appealing. Everything too average, that, contrasting to the levels of originality they achieved in other ways, makes the music get way messed up. Mostly because the riffs, the bass and the drums are just so regular and repetitive, not even with the shortest different lick. This makes the musical sound way too artificial, something that can easily destroy a good piece of music.
The production is particularly awful also. I doubt they even tried to have a good result on it... The drums and the bass sound much louder than the guitars, that seem to have been recorded with a pillow. I'm into lo-fi stuff, but only when fairly done, not poorly recorded music that seems to have been put together with a Free Audio Editor software. Something I can't understand either is the random (I emphasise random) samples and growls thrown over the music. In the track "To Fall Into the Arms of Madness", for example, we can hear in the middle of some kind of breakdown sounds of birds, glass being broken and vibraphones. There's only one thing you can think of: "Why?"
I actually liked most of the music in general, particularly the title song, but, one more time, the vocals messed it all up. While badly sung, the vocals also sounded like something completely external from the music, they may sometimes even go in a different rhythm than the instruments. They simply don't fit at all, they sound too accelerated for the kind of music they intend to play. However, I kind of liked the clean vocals as a background sometimes. This, along with the effects added to the vocals, was not bad. Also, the background (the art and the parts of the lyrics I was able to understand) is pretty good.
However, there are a lot of good things to be analysed in the music. The keyboard licks are pure awesomeness (really good stuff, it's a shame I'm giving the album such a bad rating with such keyboards), the bass is really deep and the guitar riffs are pretty heavy.
After all, I think the band could have made a much better album off their ideas, the music just didn't end up as good as it probably did inside their heads. Some different things here and there and a good production would result in some music very pleasant for any doom metal listener.