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Funeralium > Of Throes and Blight > Reviews > Abscondescentia
Funeralium - Of Throes and Blight

Talk about lengthy! - 71%

Abscondescentia, April 2nd, 2024

"Purist" funeral doom metal often requires mammoth-like song length, prolix, repetitive, dirge-like song construction, "monster-like" spectral recording drenched in reverb and still atmospheres, which is exactly what France's Funeralium specialize with. A longtime, appreciated funeral doom act which released four albums since their formation in 2003, the band has little recognition beyond self-referential funeral doom circles and small touring due to the genre's impenetrable arrangements and aesthetic. The band's funereal, deathly excess reaches new heights at each release, and their 2017 album, Of Throes and Blight, is probably their most excessive so far.

Two discs. Ninety-three minutes of duration. Five tracks, all ranging from 9 to THIRTY-TWO minutes. If this is not plain torture, I don't know what it is. The band takes pleasure in crafting deadly repetitive, doomier-than-thou soundscapes and push them to the edge of tolerance, and it doesn't help that the band makes a brand of funeral doom metal without keyboards, that sounds more minimal, rock-based and harmonically simpler than most other acts of the scene. Obvious points of reference are My Dying Bride, Mournful Congregation, Forgotten Tomb, Bethlehem (especially the vocal theatrics) and Worship, but the B guitar tuning isn't abnornally low by genre standard, quite the contrary.

All of the album's tracks follow the same agonizing course, unleashing grooves repeated for an average of 6 minutes, featuring slow beats (often faster than funeral doom standard), sudden drops of dynamics with dual clean guitar still arpeggios and whispered spoken-word vocals and prevalent agonizing shrieking: occasional tremolo guitar strumming is also present, along with some up-tempo blasting (Spit at My Face, I Will Pluck Your Tongue Out around 21 minutes in, in specific). Despite the obvious rhythmic/pattern differences on every song here, they all belong to the same batch of influences, so they sound barely distinguishable despite obvious differences among them: only the shortest one, Vermin, is the one that’s single-riff based, way more minimal than the other three.

Typical digital production work results in metronomically-precise tempos (a not-so-easy feat in such slothful genres), conventional- flat-sounding guitars, prominent bass and multi-tracked vocals with plenty of reverb. This is stuff that can’t simply be listened while being idle, because it easily turns to bore, and can’t even be considered relaxing due to the vocals. This is excessive stuff, to the point of regurgitation, especially when you consider the I-hate-you-all-and-you-must-kill-yourself lyrics. It’s not my everyday cup of tea, but when I’m doing something else, stuff like this may go well for a spin… roughly once per year.