I remember when I first realized that it doesn’t matter if a band clones its style. I was listening to the first General Surgery and thinking that, while it was basically a Carcass clone, it was also good. Pathologist followed that.
Funeral Circle is an unabashed and faithful Candlemass clone that manages to extend this style in a new direction through the band’s personality, which is slightly less purely dark than Candlemass’s. As a result, we end up with a doom metal band that puts more of an emphasis on epic atmosphere than purely doom atmosphere.
While this release does not have the fully formed personality that Candlemass did, it creates a middle of the room entry point to epic doom. Melodies sometimes borrow from alternative rock, folk and country; riffs are brought from the past with a sensibility derived from power metal, just slowed down. Sometimes, as in power metal, we hear a melodic sense similar to that of religious music.
Funeral Circle as a result is an enjoyable venture into creativity where atmosphere is the goal instead of crushing riffs or catchy choruses. This makes for a listening experience that like ambient music, hopes to store itself in the background and color consciousness, not abruptly direct it.
Underground Never Dies!, a book about the underground metal explosion of the 1990s, will address the complex interweaving of bands, fans, zines, promoters, DJs, artists and labels that fostered the underground metal movement and allowed it to expand with maximum flexibility.
The book will include tons of fanzines from all over the world, plus a huge selection of underground flyers, so the book will be not only a narrative of the history of underground metal, but also a massive and interesting menu of diverse viewpoints for all those Death Metal devotes.
Doomentia Press will release/publish/distribute Underground Never Dies!, which will be released with a compilation 12″LP including some of the finest acts exhumed from the 80s, such as Slaughter Lord (Aus), Mutilated (Fra), Incubus (Florida, US), Poison (Ger), Exmortis (US), Fatal (US), Armoros (Can), Mental Decay (Dk), Funeral Nation (US) and Insanity (US) among others. Gatefold format ! Limited to 500 copies. CD + Tape version will include bonus tracks.
The cover art will be done by Mark Riddick. Introductions come from by Ian Christe (Bazillion Points), Chris Reifert (Autopsy), Erik Danielsson (Watain) and Alan Moses (Glorious Times). This celebration of the underground will attempt to make sense of the fertile but chaotic years of its origins.
Sinistrous Diabolous creates funeral doom metal from the fragments of death metal. It uses the rapid strumming of slow chording that made Incantation so thunderous, merged with the abrupt tempo changes of Autopsy, and the mixed sounds and dynamic variation of Winter.
Total Doom // Desecration is as a result both shockingly absent of any of the trimmings of civilization or what we recognize as music, and also momentarily beautiful, like a ship emerging from the fog only to be lost again. Its primitive production and dark chromatic riffs enhance this sense of naturalism emerging against the hopeless mental muddle of humanity.
The atmosphere of murky ambiguity that enshrouds this album also grants it a resonant sense of purpose. Between power chorded riffs, interludes of pure sound or lighter instruments pervade, creating a sensation like slowly poling a raft through a dense swamp, looking for enemies.
Of note are the vocals, which deliberately abstract themselves into an uncivilized and primitive growl that calls alongside the music like a pack of dogs howling at a kill. Percussion fits the Autopsy model, being both alert and intense and knowing when to fade out into the drone.
Sinistrous Diabolous use heavy sustain not only on their guitars, but in the way riffs are sliced into these songs. Notes of doubt and ambiguity hang over every change, waiting for the song to roll over again and from the relentless ferment of its imagination, pull forth another riff.
While many doom albums come and go, and most either slide into the 1970s style or death-doom, this album cleanly integrates the last two decades of the variation in the latter styles, and comes up with something that is not only bone-crushingly weighty in sound and meaning, but also brings forth a beautiful melancholic isolation at sensing what has been lost.
Inverloch are an Australian Death/Doom four piece mostly known for being composed of half of the members of Disembowelment and for being considered their rightful heir. With projects like these there is a fine line between upholding the heritage of a previous project and reiterating past works in hope of achieving former glory. Inverloch straddle that thin line but also manage to find influence in much more recent branches of Death metal and the Funeral Doom subgenre and overall create an enjoyable piece of work that may push the listener towards the greater releases in the genre, especially Transcendence into the Peripheral.
There seems to be a new method of recording extreme metal albums that is coming into vogue as the modern home studio techniques provide very digital clean sounds and any attempt at adding power relies on extensive knowledge of mixing and mastering and cannot be conveyed through the playing abilities of the music. The guitars and vocals are heavily processed and have a strong digital tone and do betray the band. The drums are recorded acoustically but with some light touches as every hit is far too consistent but the low end of the double bass is very well conserved sounding full and dominant in the mix but eating a lot of the bass sound. Though this is a better alternative to the expensive studio sound that has dominated metal recently it still leaves a lot to desire as there is still to much emphasis on achieving a clear and powerful recording but at the expense of the musicianship and the particularities of the musicians.
Inverloch excel during the Incantation-esque passages that separates them from the horde of Incanta-clone bands through an actual understanding of dynamic and tension and the songs progress very fluidly throughout these riff mazes. Rapidly modulating tremolo picked melodies that seek to lead the composition further underground converge towards a Funeral Doom conclusion. These conclusions are created through slow syncopated power chord attacks over simple arpeggios as they glide through simple minor scale progressions. These parts tend to be overly static and last too long as they swallow all the momentum that has been generated and end up like the Euro-Doom bands, wallowing in their own self pity leaving the listener bored or aching for some of the better moments of this album. The slower Doom riffs when played in unison by both guitarists and when they lead the song really do capture Disembowelment’s magic as the riffs utilize the slower tempos to expand without forcing themselves to stay within the safety of the lower notes available on the guitar.
The album is short when compared to other releases in this style, clocking in at just under forty minutes but contains far too much filler and should have been released as a twenty-minute ep to reflect the actual potency of the ideas being presented here. “From the Eventide Pool” is just a continuation of the slow passage on the first track and it communicates nothing that hasn’t been done by the title track and is the prime example of filler in a Death/Doom context. The central piece of the album “The Empyrean Torment” fluctuates brilliantly through these multiple passages and shows a genuine understanding of how a Death Metal song functions. The composition slowly leads up to a poignant fast pace climax before settling down for the ominous conclusion that truly conveys fear, destruction and despair. “Cataclysm of Luna” is fixated on the simple My Dying Bride twin lead guitar trope and fails to do nothing but reiterate that same melody without any variation as some sort of extended outro for the previous track.
Inverloch are capable of producing truly good music as seen on the title track and ‘The Empyrean Torment” that can consider itself a worthy successor to Transcendence into the Peripheral but often times becomes far too attached to the idea of producing stagnant ambient music. Hopefully the band can learn to identify the filler and eliminate most of the fluff to focus more on the excellent Death metal aspects and the well-structured arrangements of the better songs. In the meantime, this remains an enjoyable listen for a spin or two as nothing here hasn’t been done better by other bands. With some introspection and the will to move on from their past legacy, Inverloch may produce some excellent in the near future and here at Death Metal Underground we shall follow this band and hope that our expectations are met.
Now here is a recording I am really quite enjoying, by Lousberg. This captures the spirit of the desolate winter-time, but not in a dreary way. Rather, the elegance of nature shines through. Low drones set the landscape, while tip-toing keyboard patches enunciate the mid and higher ranges. This has a nice balance between droning and suggesting a melody, which does a very nice job creating a virtual landscape. I prefer this to the other black metal I saw on this label such as Goat Semen, which was pretty cool too, since it reminded me of Norz Norz Norz. There is a sophistication to this particular composition, which reminds me of Maurice Jarre’s score to Runaway Train, which is a wintertime classic. Also, the Mosquito Coast, about leaving society for nature, is another majestic score by Jarre that this harkens. It seems easy to the passive listener to create such an album. As a keyboardist myself, I can tell you that it actually takes a lot of inspiration to write an album like this.
Australian funeral doom Mournful Congregation return with their latest offering after a four year hiatus. Initially demonstrating a style in the vein of overly melancholic eurodoom bands, this four piece have slowly shedded the lugubrious sound of their former works in exchange for a more pensive and maximalist vision. Developing the ideas from their last full length The Book of Kings, Mournful Congregation create musically literate and complex songs that dance on the line between being nostalgic 70s rock and accessible funeral doom.
2017 was a shit waste of a year when it came to metal music. Yet with a whole generation of useless neckbeard millennials frantically trying to pursue a career in metal journalism via a desperate pursuit of vindication from that $40,000 of communications-degree student loan debt we have hundreds of “best metal albums” lists every year. Because there are thousands of metal releases each year hundreds of shitty musicians and journalists are somehow convinced that their opinion matters and that people care about their lists, we now have list after list with totally different picks because no one can possibly sit through a listen of thousand releases ever year. Where the commonality lies is that all of the number one picks are fecal matter on toilet tissue, usually not metal and certainly not even worth listening to.
Let’s cremate the foul miasma of 2017 with a funeral pyre of epic proportions: a sadistic metal review carbonization of #1 picks from the fakest of the fake metal news outlets… (more…)
After a decade of nothingness and decay, Denmark’s Nortt re-emerges in the form of a third full length on pt. 2 of the Avantgarde Music canon (the rock n’ roll/new wave edition). Rising to prominence in the early days of the suicidal black metal wave but vanishing just as the Thy Lights and Nocturnal Depressions of those days brought the movement to self-parody black and white Myspace-metal, Nortt returns to a world that has mostly forgotten their existence. As fate has seen their fellow Total Holocaust Records peers of that time fall into the pits of post-rock (Hypothermia), drug addiction (Nachtmystium), or straight up oblivion (Blodulv), will Nortt’s funeral doom foundation lead to a more desirable outcome? (more…)
Murky and obscure like the style itself, a definition of doom metal proves elusive. Proponents of doom metal uphold it as a qualitatively discrete sub genre within metal on the grounds shared set of aesthetic, formal and ideological particularities that binds together a seemingly disparate conglomerate of artists and styles.