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Back to basics - 65%

we hope you die, September 19th, 2019

There’s still a place in this world for albums that exhibit all of death metal’s nuts and bolts out in the open, for all the world to see. I mean, I talk this album if it were released fairly recently, but alas, 2011 was quite some time ago now. But nevertheless, it fits with a very modern trend of old school revivalism. A more appropriate word would be ‘re-imagining’ maybe, as it takes the very familiar elements of older death metal, but manipulates them into a new take on an old form.

Funerus as an entity do actually hark back to the early 1990s, but their modern incarnation has only been around since the early 2000s. Their second post reformation LP ‘Reduced to Sludge’ (2011) saw them tighten up their very basic approach to doomy death metal. Drums are fat with a vaguely tinny snare which cuts through the mix but does not offer much impact on the slower passages. Guitars follow in the footsteps of Incantation (no surprises there given the clientele), in that they are sharp enough to lend clarity to some of the more complex leads, but with enough power and sustain to carry the doom riffs. Jill McEntee’s gruff vocals cut through perfectly with a balance of menace and clarity, making lyrics of gore and despair perfectly audible.

Musically this sits somewhere between the abstract doom of late Incantation and the more playful Autopsy, particularly in some of the guitar leads. Speed wise it matches mid era Bolt Thrower, and they follow a very similar pattern usually on the opening to a track, with a slow chugging riff set atop mid-tempo drums and pounding double bass underpinning it all. Simple leads will comment on the ringing chords of the rhythm guitar, which will either settle into a full-on breakdown, or pick the tempo up briefly before an ultimate collapse.

This music is very basic, but there are just enough novel ideas to hold one’s interest. Although one can clearly hear two guitars on different tracks, it sounds oddly empty, in a good way. Despite everything making up this music telling us otherwise, this feels lonely, almost mournfully so. It lends a post-apocalyptic sheen to this death metal that so many have aimed for but few succeed in, especially with music that is – as a rule – chaotic. But the apocalypse is happening somewhere over there now, we are left as bystanders to witness it from afar. As opposed to much death metal that throws one into the middle of the chaos, the din of warfare sounds distant but ever present. This aura is aided further by the tinny yet echoing snare. It may be a mere fluke of production and the stop/start nature of their approach to death/doom, but it certainly works to give this otherwise average album an edge.

Originally published at Hate Meditations