total rust


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t was rather surprising reading that two members of Heol Telwen, an amazing French folk metal band in its own right, had teamed up with members from doom band Ataraxie to work on a project together. Doom metal was the chosen style and Funeralium the very apt name that was chosen for the band. Then 2004 saw the arrival of the first Funeralium demo named (also very aptly) “Ultra Sick Doom,” containing 3 songs and spanning some 30 minutes. And as a follow-up to that fairly successful demo, there is now a self-titled, full-length album.

With the exception of the first and last song, none of the titles on this album clock in under a quartre of an hour. With one hour and sixteen minutes on the counter in total, Funeralium give us a long and tormenting tour through what can only be described as aural torment. Of course, not all pain and suffering is bad; indeed, it can be a rather pleasing and enriching experience. At the end of every song, the listener is left wondering what will be next for him and this feeling of suspense makes this album a tense and exciting listen.

For the most part, the guitars are of course slow and droning, yet it does not get taken to such extremes that droning is the only thing that is going on in the songs. As crushing and heavy as the riffs are on this album, there is always a sense of melody and at no point is there any question about whether you are still listening to a song or just some random noise. In that sense, a lot of the music is more akin to traditional doom than it is to more modern interpretations of the doom genre.

Of course, there is always the risk that an album becomes repetitive and, ultimately, boring. But Funeralium manage to remain rather dynamic throughout the songs. This is done in various ways such as either quickening the pace or by resorting to a more minimalistic approach with clean guitar playing accompanying excruciating screams of anguish. When the pace quickens, the music sounds highly reminiscent of suicidal black metal bands such as Bethlehem and Shining (not surprisingly both listed on their myspace as influences).

Funeralium have created a good mixture between traditional doom metal, funeral doom and ‘suicidal’ black metal, which is highly enjoyable and insanely crushing at the same time. There is no instant gratification to be found on this album at all, but in the end, who needs a quick fix of happiness, when torment and anguish can be so much more pleasurable?