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Hahaha, this is adorable - 70%

Noktorn, April 27th, 2007

Funeral doom is really ripe for parody these days. While I'm a tremendous fan of the style, even I have to admit that it's incredibly easy to make fun of, and the only thing that saves it from an impressive lambasting at the hands of the greater metal community is its own relative obscurity. Come on, look at the elements that that compose a funeral doom song: trundling, subterranean tempo, a handful of three-finger power chord riffs, whispery growls bellowing such melodramatic lyrics that it would make Dani Filth weep for our future; while I take it seriously, it's pretty silly when you boil it down to its simplest elements. Obviously, my opinion isn't quite as derisive when you put all those elements together, but by virtue of its description, it deserves a great mocking from all of us.

I say this because Remembrance, a two-piece funeral doom group from France, makes possibly the most archetypical (and, naturally, stereotypical) funeral doom in the world. 'Frail Visions' is most certainly an album I have to listen to in the right frame of mind, lest I be reduced to a fit of giggling simply by how very SERIOUS it all is. I'm pretty sure the members of Skepticism have a greater sense of humor than Carline and Matthieu, whose compositions simply drip with the nascent drama of existence. And it seems so remarkably intent at being depressing that it doesn't seem to really work; perhaps they should not try as hard, because as it stands, I have no doubt that this album was written by candlelight, individual lines of lyrics slowly crafted between sips of red wine and with the smoke of cigarettes held dejectedly to the respective members' sides clinging to the air. Perhaps it was even recorded in a church; it wouldn't really surprise me.

Yeah, but I'm being kind of cruel, because musically, I like it, more or less. You know how an album such as, say, 'Transilvanian Hunger', despite adhering so strictly to all the (current) clich├ęs of the genre, still manages to be effective and stirring? Well, 'Frail Visions' certainly isn't on the same level of 'Transilvanian Hunger', but it does have some of the same qualities. 'Frail Visions' is pretty much a walking stereotype of what funeral doom is supposed to be, but still manages to retain musical quality despite this. It is, of course, a slave to genre conventions, and it doesn't present them in a particularly new way, but it does well for what it does have.

Growled/spoken word vocals, very slow to somewhat midpaced tempos, guitars that alternate between monolithic power chords and winding leads, programmed drums (though I'm not really sure why, because it's obviously not robustly percussive music), and ethereal keyboards, it's all there. And it's all wrapped up with the spectacular sense of melodrama that this band somehow manages to harness in a form of music that often is defined by some level of emotional minimalism. A couple isolated piano pieces make up interludes through the album, but most of it is pretty typical 'chun... chun... grrrrrr' funeral doom. I'd say that there's something of a gothic atmosphere at work here, something like Pantheist, but lacking that band's subtlety in delivery. I can't say that any songs stand out in particular, because they all sound the same. And it's not even that they all sound like Remembrance songs, they just all sound like funeral doom songs.

Despite how critical I'm being of the album's lack of originality, I still give it a listen somewhat frequently. It's nothing that I completely soak in like Skepticism, but it's something enjoyable that I like to put on in the background while I work. It's lightly depressing, well-composed, emotional music, so I can't fault it for all the things it does, because it does them well. Pretty much any funeral doom fan is going to find themselves enjoying this, so you can take this review as a fairly solid recommendation of 'Frail Visions'. Yeah, it's kind of silly, but it's still a fun listen.

Wait, this is Remembrance. No moshing possible, no core present, a minor trend followed, and fun strictly forbidden.

Remembered - 100%

Jinn, July 12th, 2006

[note, a revised and edited version of this review can be found in the ezine Maelstrom. This is the original document]

Most funeral doom consists of long, drawn out chord patterns amid extremely slow melodic lines in a repetitive fashion while low growls pour forth eulogies of sadness and loss. It's nice when you find a funeral doom band that can keep you interested throughout their entire album, with catchy yet mournful riffs, slow but flowing tempos, raw guitars, and a groove. France's Remembrance have sighted the fine line between doom/death and funeral doom, and they have erased it, merging the two genres into one masterfully done album, full of darkened, distraught misery through over 60 minutes of atmospheric depression.



The riffs in the eight tracks are seamlessly brought together to create a swirling flow, accented by echoing percussion, foreboding keyboards, raw and impending guitars, and mournfully depressing vocals. Mixed in are the odd female vocals along with crushing piano melodies, adding a touch of beauty without straying into the boundaries of gothic metal. As far as funeral doom goes, Frail Visions can become quite fast, although it is to their benefit, as it is most fitting and works marvelously with everything else. Tracks such as 'Your Insignificance' and 'Where All Has Been Wasted' will leave the listener spellbound, and in reflection of failures past. There are very few words to describe what can only be felt as pure, utter, depression.



Trying to find flaws in this album is hard, and at most, not possible. Everything about this album truly defines the genre and shows dedication and soul among the two musicians. Frail Visions is the epitome of funeral metal, and will leave you in fascination and awe. This is the level that more funeral bands should operate on, and could if they wanted to.



If there are any bad points to this album, they are of no consequence. This album is definitive, and represents what every funeral doom lover expects from a doom band, and then some. This is a masterful work of beauty, sorrow, and musical accomplishment, full of intricate and mysterious melodies that will torment you and wrench your soul from your body. Depression never sounded so good. If you want to feel sorrow and pain from the deepest of emotions, then get this album, and treasure it for a lifetime.

The Doom Metal fashion... - 65%

Descalabro, April 8th, 2006

The looks of this band made me consider the idea that it could be something good, but at the end it turned out to be something no more than mediocre.
An exemplification of the first track will show you the reason for my disappointment:

The title track starts with a drama-like, dense and simple, keyboard melody, composed of long notes, each one supporting 4 shorter notes in a regular tempo. The guitar and the programmed drums soon appear, then the lead guitar, then the male growl, in a completely predictable way, though not a particularly bad one. At minute 2 there's a piano following the same basic melody from the beginning, while the guitars become lower in volume, and sorrowful growls are sung. At minute 3:30 we have only piano, then drums and dragging notes from the keyboard, with again more growls. Another 40 seconds go by and thin, dragging notes are played again, along with a spoken male voice, until the drums are left to play alone for a few seconds, fading. From here, the song goes back to the begining, the exact same begining, and at the minute 07:40 the keyboards reproduce a pipe organ while the rhythm guitars play in a bit more dynamic way than before. This feels like the climax of the song, although it is a rather weak climax. The song ends with lasting notes from the ''pipe organ''. Note that throughout the whole song the basic rhythm is the same, as well as the basic melody. It all sounds listenable, but there's a feeling of lack of inspiration, of musical and emotional depth.

The second track, with a piano line and heavy guitar, is very short and serves as an introduction for the third, ''Eternal Disease''. Track 5 will also serve as an introduction, to 6. Except for these small ''intros'', all tracks have a very similar structure, they bring practically nothing new, and that isn't helpful in attracting my interest, as the first track didn't really please me.

The drum programming is average, but manages to suffice for the regular Doomster, while strong bass lines are lacking during most of the time. Guitar melodies are full and there are often two lead guitars playing simultaneously. Clean female vocals are added sometimes.

The band has several interesting ideas during the album, but the way the musicians perform them is limited, and uninteresting. I think the main problem is the rhythmic and, especially, the melodic variety, as the different ideas are performed in similar rhythms and melodies. Monotony is a good in element in music, if one wishes to create a melancholic or tedious atmosphere, but it must be used wisely. In my opinion music must have fluctuations of intensity, it must be dynamic, and Funeral Doom Metal is no exception.

The track I like the most is ''Where All Has Been Wasted'', as it manages to be interesting amidst these problems.