At some point even the ablest writer runs out of adjectives and nouns to describe a bad release, but in this case, I will unleash the nastiest word of all: fraud. This album, the typical moron normies pretending to be black metal fans, and the industry that supports it are all frauds.
Black metal fans confuse — like everyone else on planet Earth — surface with substance. They want more of what made black metal great, and they think that this “more” means worse production, more pounding of the drums, even simpler riffs, and more blasphemy. In reality, they are just imitators and pretenders aspiring to inhabit the throne once held by worthier men.
We can make fun of Pantera and Tool around here, but Funeral Winds is the black metal equivalent: a bunch of one-note riffs tied together with borrowing from old Repulsion and Hellhammer albums, tricked out to “sound like” black metal, but missing all of the grandeur and adventurous spirit of the original. The vocals lead the song, just like on a Taylor Swift album, and the guitars are there to fill enough space to make it sound good.
The almighty riff that metal worships? Here riffs are not only not distinctive, but not expressive of much of anything other than consistency with the Funeral Winds image, and they do not tie together in any interesting order. It is like hearing snippets of conversation. Little bits might sound good if listened to in isolation, but once you put them together into a song or album, it is clear that none of these bits go anywhere. They just repeat on endless loop, coming back to very similar rhythms. Songs sort of trail off or just quit when the repetition is enough for one day.
If you go into your average San Francisco record shop, you will find pretenders. The indie-rock guy will tell you about this new great band that sounds like two bands from the 1990s had a baby. There will be some hipster who will play you a dozen Grateful Dead bootlegs that are basically the same long solo with the licks in a different order. Some grizzled old punk veteran, wearing his Doc Martens and greasy tshirt, will bring out a whole bunch of rare seven-inches by bands that sound identical except for the voice, and are just as random as Funeral Winds. I wouldn’t go down those paths for anything, and I will not go down this one either.
With a few exceptions, at this point black metal consists entirely of frauds like Funeral Winds. They mimic the old, and try to make it more intense, but in doing so break it down to the point where it expresses nothing other than maybe a desire to make a competitive black metal product. Even the “avantgarde” parts are sad old cliches from the 1970s chained together in otherwise unexceptional songs. The old criticism about listening to a box fan comes to mind here, and it fits because all of these very similar parts never add up to an interesting whole. There is no gestalt, but even worse, there is no coherence. This is aesthetics pretending to be content and substance.
A good album makes you feel something because you perceive something. It sounds like a moment in life, or maybe in your idle thoughts, but either way, you recognize the shape of that structure and the significance it has by the conflict around it. This album makes you feel nothing other than the decomposition odors of a once-respectable genre.