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Conceptual Funeralism Unto The Reissue. - 90%

Evil_Obsidian, March 15th, 2007

Loss are a quartet hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, however, you won’t find a single note of country music on this disc. What you will encounter instead is monolithic and impressive Funeral Doom/Death, forgoing the usually tiresome swathes of synths for a more organic, metal approach. It’s a pity that this approach tends to be the exception to the rule nowdays, but that makes Loss stand our from the crowd, and makes their music all-the-more impressive.

This particular release is actually a re-release of Loss’ 2004 three-track demo, which was self-released by the band as a cd-r, plus two bonus tracks. It beggers belief that music of such a high standard could have remained unheard for the most part had Deathgasm Records not stepped in to make this more widely available. It goes to show how vital and exciting the underground really is, and makes the tracking down of such hidden gems a truly worthwhile pursuit.

The disc opens with the obligatory intro, “Coffin Nails (Intromancy)”, which is just shy of the two minute mark and consists mainly of feedback and drones, with the occasional muffled scream. This sets the tone perfectly for what is to come, yet gives little indication of the style Loss purvey.

The first proper song “Conceptual Funeralism Unto The Final Act (Of Being)” is eight minutes long, but feels more like half that. The guitars are lacking the crunch one would expect, but the riffs they churn out are perfectly showcased by the warm, analogue sound, which allows every note space to breathe. This is important as the guitars rely more on single note melodies than powerchords, often played in harmony, to get their message across. The vocals are exclusively limited to deep growls, which some may consider monotonous, but I feel are well suited and provide an effective counterpoint to the melodies swirling around them. As is often the case with this style of music, the rhythm section is subdued, and plays no greater role than to keep time.

Next up is “Cut-up, Depressed and Alone”, which clocks in at just over 9-and-a-half minutes. It follows in the same vein, kicking things off with a long, drawn out riff invoking both anguish, yet bizarrely also hope, which eventually dies away to a breakdown of clean guitars, before getting heavier again. Subtle changes to the riffs keep the atmosphere forlorn at all times, but the pace never picks up pace beyond a crawl. The song fades out with a subtle bass interlude and is over far too quickly.

This release has two bonus tracks recorded live at The End in their hometown, on the 11th of June 2004. The first of these is a cover version of Katatonia’s “Brave”, a highlight from that bands distinguished career to date, and a tune that you all ought to be familiar with. Vocals on this version are handled by Lord Imperial of Krieg fame. The song is performed competently and with sensitivity to the original, and the sound is of a decent quality.

A live version of “The Barebacked Burial Of A Torn Angel” which can be found in its original form on the split with Necros Christos rounds off this mini-album, and marks the weakest moment on here. The track is newer than those it follows, which doesn’t bode well for the future. It’s not a bad track, but it’s by far the shortest and most straightforward, being more slow Death Metal than Doom. Having said that, I’m unfamiliar with the studio version, and it may be a bit harsh to judge from a live recording, especially as most bands tend to speed up somewhat in this environment.

Regardless, the live material on offer here comes across more as filler, and only serves to indicate that Loss are an entertaining live act. I’d have preferred the studio versions of “The Barebacked Burial Of A Torn Angel” and “An Ill Body Seats My Sinking Sight” from the split with Worship to have been included instead, thereby collecting all Loss’ original studio recordings on one disc.

Despite being neither the heaviest nor most extreme band around, Loss have managed to create an enjoyable work that remains melancholy throughout yet is strangely uplifting, showcasing the power of the riff and quality songwriting over the fake atmospherics often favoured by bands in this genre. In conclusion, I’d urge fans of quality music, and in particular Doom, to check Loss out.