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Rating:
8.8
Funeralium - Funeralium
10 July 2007


01. First Symptoms
02. Transcendance N°26
03. Funeralium
04. Let People Die
05. Light Crisis
06. Nearly The End


Step by step, the French doom scene extends its mourning grip on the underground world. Funeralium had already stuck a few claws in 2004, when their demo "Ultra Sick Doom", a fair warning to any soul brave enough to plunge into their tortured universe, was generally acclaimed by the experts of the genre. Formed by members of Ataraxie, Funeralium had been a staggering surprise: where Ataraxie's doom death teems with sounds, riffs and musical life, Funeralium chose the minimalist approach. And the result is as breathtaking as it goes.

By minimalist, I don't mean "tr00 black metal minimalist", although the production is indeed quite raw and very organic. Minimalist here means that the music does not indulge in arrangements, bombastic keyboards and romantic atmospheres. Funeralium is the exact opposite of Shape Of Despair, for instance. Instead of warmth and beauty, the only things you find on this album are ugliness, coldness, emptiness, despair, barrenness and sickness. This is almost visual: the tormented guitars and the distorted bass speak of nuclear landscapes, of deformity and disease, while the evil vocals remind of a madman screeching and pleading in his asylum. The vocalist really did an amazing job. He sounds like possessed and seems to carry all the weight, all the misery of the world on his wretched shoulders.

The songs are long, very long - the album clocks above 75 minutes, with only 6 tracks. They creep up slowly, painfully, in order to actually drown the listener in an ocean of fever and insanity. The approach can be considered as similar to that of Esoteric for example. Sometimes, but sometimes only, they end up in an explosion of death metal ("Funeralium"). Sometimes, but sometimes only, Funeralium goes melodic ("Let People Die"), but these melodies still carry an apocalyptic touch. Every inch of hope, every parcel of light is mercilessly trampled, ground and torn apart by the inhuman sickness that emanates from Funeralium's music.

A lot of you probably think this album is boring. Don't make this mistake. Though you won't find anything obviously catchy, this album is so well written that every new listen reveals something new and that there is always a riff, a particular sound or vocal line that you remember. It never gets tedious also because the riffs and the whole musical pattern borrow a lot from the old-school doom masters such as Black Sabbath, St Vitus, etc.

I was about to conclude with old clichés such as "this is not for all ears", or "you need a certain mood to get into this album", or "fans of this or that will like it". But this would not be fair. Albeit probably condemned to remain in the underground forever, Funeralium is a band which deserves to be tasted and appreciated by the whole spectrum of metal fans. Funeralium proves that you don't need to wear corpsepaint and to pose as the biggest defenders of satanic beliefs to be extreme. They show that you don't need lightspeed guitar riffs and blastbeats to be extreme. This is more violent, more extreme than a lot of black, death or grind bands. And this will also appeal to people who want feelings and emotions, however negative and wretched, in their music.

In other words, this is an awesome record, among the year's best in the doom metal category. This is music that speaks to the soul. A difficult listen, and a disturbing one, but an experience to live nonetheless.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: Funeralium
Album: Funeralium


 


written by Collin | 07.11.2007



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Marcel Hubregtse - 07.11.2007 at 17:11  
Totally agree with your review this album is one beautiful piece of misery, coldness, hatred.
One of the best extreme doom releases this year.
Lokomotiv - 10.11.2007 at 01:18  
I hated this album... I was expecting something better as I really liked Ataraxie, but this is no more than senseless whining... the only goos track is the pseudo-intro "First Symptoms", everything else is shit.
Collin - 10.11.2007 at 13:02  
Written by Lokomotiv on 10.11.2007 at 01:18

I hated this album... I was expecting something better as I really liked Ataraxie, but this is no more than senseless whining... the only goos track is the pseudo-intro "First Symptoms", everything else is shit.


Well, if you expected something like Ataraxie, I guess it's normal you hated it, as the only similarities are in the line up. I can't even say it will grow on you with time, as I (and the other people I know who enjoy this) liked it more or less the first time I heard it
deathovertime - 18.09.2008 at 18:06  
As long as it sounds like Tides Of Awakening then I'll be happy. Haven't heard the album yet but it does sound like the funeral doom sound I'll like, so I think I'll be buying it.
pdepmcp - 19.05.2010 at 16:19  
'Disturbing' is the best way to describe it. It could sound as a negative note on the record, but it's not. Disturbing is what the spirit of "extreme music" is all about. Great.
InnerSelf - 20.05.2010 at 17:01  
I like this album a lot
the rawness of the music and the well structured songwriting alongside the sick haunting growls and screams makes this one of my favorite Extreme Doom releases

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