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A Great Album Ruined by Weak Female Vocals - 50%

carlnyc, January 19th, 2010

For those who have never heard Funeral, or may not have heard their second output, Tragedies, I shall say this. Funeral began their artistic career superbly by putting out one of the most interesting funeral doom/death work in the genre—Tristesse. Although Tristesse is listed as a full length album, it only features three songs. In this first work they manage to keep the listener interested by playing some of the most brutal, dark, and heavy death/doom ever. But they also incorporate many folk-ish parts, done with acoustic guitars. Personally, three factors that I really like are 1) that they never use clean voice, 2) they never use a keyboard, and 3) they do not have a female voice.

As a matter of fact, I believe that these 3 elements should rarely ever be in a doom/death metal album. But while I may pass over the keyboards and clean male vocals, I really think that cute, operatic female vocals are able to ruin a good album. There are a few exceptions, though. I really love, for example, Virgin Black’s Fortissimo. But Virgin Black play a more symphonic doom/death, and so the operatic voice is fine. And yet, in Virgin Black the female vocals are not predominant.

Unfortunately, Funeral’ second work, Tragedies, features annoyingly, predominant, thin, female operatic vocals. I am not a misogynist. I just think that the genre that Funeral play, funeral doom death, requires powerful, manly grunts.

My judgment stems from the fact that funeral doom inspires the listener to imagine the deepest and darkest places, just like H.P. Lovecraft' stories. And to use an analogy, imagine you are listening to a brutal death metal album, any one you fancy. To me it would be Nile’s In Their Darkened Shrines, which is very brutal and has several slow passages. Imagine that on one of the slow passages you hear a cute, female operatic voice. I think it would be like trying to mix oil and water.

Every song featured in Tragedies, as in their first, Tristesse, is unbelievably dense and dark. The guitars are quite sludgy and produce a terrifying roar that sounds as if it were coming straight out of Hell. The drums, I believe, are perfect; for, they are well played and not as clean as one would expect them to sound in a technical death band.

Therefore, as the songs drudge along sounding like tons of metal and sludge, one expects to hear some filthy creature taking the microphone and grunting brutally low lyrics. Unfortunately though, what come out are thin, weak, cute, female vocals. And of course the cute little girl's vocals alternate with low grunting vocals. I have to say the when I played the first time I used to skip the parts where she sings. I even try to like her because it is just a great album. But one day I decided that it is useless to continue because the annoying female vocals are there.

If Funeral had decided not to include cute, female, operatic vocals, this could have definitely been one of my favorite albums. This is therefore the reason that I give this album 50% instead of 100%.