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Funeral Winds – 333

funeral winds – 333


Although Funeral Winds never officially stopped it went on some sort of hibernation after the ‘Nexion Xul – The Cursed Bloodline’-album from 2007. Hellchrist Xul got his stuff together and moved from The Netherlands to Czechia from where he slowly started to reactive his life’s work. The ‘Sekhmet’ 7” EP from 2015 was the first feat of the “second coming” of Funeral Winds with only Hellchrist Xul now solely helming his musical and spiritual vehicle. Ever since the subsequent release of the ‘Sinister Creed’-album a few years later we are presented with new Funeral Winds material on a regular basis, with ‘333’ being the latest effort, even arriving within a year from the 2023-released ‘Stigmata Mali’.

Funeral Winds has always been a synonym for what could be called “traditional” Black Metal, the cold way and inspired by the forerunners from the Scandinavian school, with Gorgoroth and Darkthrone being the main examples. The band’s persistency in its musical direction over the course of the three decades of Funeral Winds’ existence can certainly be considered praiseworthy, yet the careful listener will discern minor differences along the discography. Especially the two Avantgarde Music releases, ‘Sinister Creed’ (2018) and ‘Essence’ (2020), tend to be a bit harder to get into because their more crude character. But with my personal favourite, ‘Gruzelementen’ (New Era Productions, 2021) Hellchrist Xul struck back in a way that seemed to me like the perfect storm, blending the vengeful hatred of the band’s earlier works and the more hooky and angular song structures of those Avantgarde Music album. ‘Stigmata Mali’ (the first album for Osmose Productions) felt like a logical continuation of the path chosen with ‘Gruzelementen’, maybe a bit more predictable but certainly further purveying a sound that fits the band like a glove.

With this new album, Funeral Winds just continues the musical course chose with the last two albums. When comparing ‘333’ to ‘Stigmata Mali’, this latest offering certainly feels a bit more dynamic, even within the range of the Raw Black Metal genre. Songs like ‘Ancient Wrath Unleashed’ for instance symbolizes what Funeral Winds anno 2024 stands for: still raging and full-on misanthropic Black Metal, but it slows down here and there giving way for a haunting melody and even a doomy feel. If, with the passing of time, and especially since the band’s transition to a one-man instrument, Hellchrist Xul has proven anything it is that his song writing skills have impressively progressed. Without wanting to short change anything, the early albums or recordings that can be considered “the old classics”, mostly feel like an important stepping stone for what the band became in the recent years – and, to me personally, mostly after ‘Gruzelementen’.

The whirling riffs, fierce melodies and Hellchrist’s trademark snarly and hostile vocals feel like they are entranced in a kind of ritual dance. All elements in the music complement and empower each other, resulting in a way more cohesive outcome. Purists may want to stick to the band’s 90’s (cult) material or ‘Koude Haat’ (2004), and of course they are completely free to do so, but to me the last three albums, including ‘333’, prove that within the narrow confines of the genre, there clearly is still room for musical development, progression and improvement.

Osmose Productions

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