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high quality doom - 80%

gk, January 1st, 2009

As the Light Does the Shadow is Funeral’s 5th full length album and is the follow up to the stunning From These Wounds album from 2006. The band has lost guitarist Christian Loos and drummer Anders Eek is the only founding member left in the line-up but what made From These Wounds so memorable were the somber vocals of Fred Forsmo and the superb songwriting.

I’m happy to report that both those elements are present and accounted for on As the Light Does the Shadow. The album is another monolithic slice of doom that is epic, melancholic and crushing. Guest musician Jon Borgerud’s synthesizers add a veneer of melody to the songs and really enhance the overall feel while Forsmo’s vocals are still just as mournful and full of despair. The band still sound like a mix between Anathema, early Lacrimas Profundere and Solitude Aeternus while retaining a classic European feel and unique sense of doom and melancholy. This album is another all or nothing listening experience, As the Light Does the Shadow should be listened to as a whole right from the album opener The Will to Die to closer Fallen One that ends things on a mellow and heartbreaking note.

In the Fathoms of Wit and Reason features Solitude Aeternus’s Rob Lowe on vocals and it’s interesting to see what a more flamboyant doom metal vocalist does to Funeral’s sound and while it’s a great song on its own, it breaks the albums feel. I’d have liked to hear Forsmo and Lowe trade vocals on the song but it was not to be. Also, the second half of the album is a bit heavier and darker than the opening few songs and it seems like the band wanted to take the listener on a journey of heartbreak and loss over the course of these 70 odd minutes before everything finally culminates in the magnificent closer Fallen One which is basically just a superb mournful dirge with Forsmo really sounding like his life is coming to an end.

As the Light Does the Shadow is a great album. There’s no real doubt about the quality of doom metal on offer. At the same time, From These Wounds is one of the greatest doom metal albums of the last five years and it was always going to be difficult to top it. I have to say that Funeral have managed to come pretty close to the benchmark set on their last outing and while that album will remain my favourite, As the Light Does the Shadow comes close.

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