French Funeral Doom band Funeralium last year unveiled a new studio album. ‘Decrepit’ is the follow up to 2017’s ‘Of Throes and Blight’ and has been put out on CD, cassette and an impressive looking double LP. Whilst the album features only four tracks, the run time isn’t that far off an hour and a half you’ll need to leave yourself time to fully appreciate this release.
Opener ‘Aviditas’ is the albums shortest track at just shy of ten minutes and builds slowly and steadily to a crescendo of anguish plagued vocal shrieks and deep, deathly growls. Musically this opening offering has the sound of an inevitable slow moving catastrophic event, all chaos and grief and fear. As the mood settles we are treated to anticipation building drum rolls and lengthy, drawn out guitar leads stretching almost beyond sight! And yet there is also a sonic shift in the brooding atmospherics as bludgeoning riffs clash head on with thick rumbling bass play and cacophonous drums and suddenly the calm before the storm has vanished, the heavens ripped open and the fragile balance that once was is torn asunder in a blistering display of depressive wailing, furious guitar leads and tumultuous beats, before just as spontaneously simmering down into the calm folds of ‘Ruination’ whose bleak, symbol clashes stand sentinel, watching for more incoming waves of upheaval.
It isn’t long before the crest of the wave breaks and with it a punishing deluge of intensive, blackened riffs punctuated with sparse drum beats washes through your ears and floods your mind with sombre, miserable melodies. Once you are fighting for air whispered mutterings speak to you in tongues before darker, ominous doom laden riffs beat down in slow motion mercilessly. From bereft insanity to crawling, growled savagery, spewing forth bile and anger in equal measure. The vocal stylings of Funeralium feels like some powerful ancient Deity whose two personality are at thunderous on going war with each other. As with the opener, this barbaric beast of a track, over thirty minutes in length, rises steadily, ominously to a crushing crescendo that when it’s full fury is finally unleashed it feels like a shift in sound, as if straight forward Funeral Doom cannot fully contain what lies within and a furious, raucous Black Metal sound breaks loose momentarily until Funeralium remember themselves, and reign in the visceral carnage until all that remains once more are bleak guitar tones, the rumble of bass and mournful drums tones. I’ve wandered miles now into this labyrinthian review but it’s time for a comparison. When the mood takes them, Funeralium’s vocals take on a deranged, maniacal tone. This puts me in mind of A Forest of Stars when combined with the changeable nature and flow of the melodies, and the explosiveness of the ferocity when it hits. As ‘Ruination’ plays out the harmonies created are breath taking, as subtle bass play, clean guitar picking and thunderous monolithic riffs all combine with savage, violent beats as spoken word monologue clashes with desperate emotional roaring.
At a mere twenty four minutes, ‘The Lunatic Escalation Towards Extinction’ brings into the mix a more Doom/Death element, mixed with a little Drone, with a more relentless pace being dragged out in places by grim sounding guitar tones and raw, growling intense vocals.
I’ve likened Funeralium’s sound to that of clashing Gods, yet their lyrical concepts are decidedly more down to earth, and as you read through the lyrics for this album you feel one concept float to the surface like a dawn of awakening. The descent of Humankind is obvious for all to see, and Funeralium pull no punches in getting down to the sheer misery and grit of our society, be it our warlike tendencies, the damage being committed to the planet or the societal shift that has seen our species morph into a venal, self-obsessed attention whore. “A spiralling evolution towards the worst. The worst, The absolute fucking worst, The worst. Now look at yourself and please deaden your own wailing. By swallowing silently the excrement of your cowardice“. Moving through the epic ‘Ruination’ the lyrics delve heavily into the apocalyptic future that confronts us all. “Just a few years left to laugh, And death won’t come soon enough, The end will be more than just bitter, Global starvation and disease harsher, A slow moving apocalypse, Shoving billions of corpses into the mass-grave we built for ourselves“.
Personally I like Funeralium’s finale and the graphic detail that ‘The Terminal Purge’ goes into to describe our grisly, mutually deserved fate! “No more vice, no more greed, it’s so soothing here, No more gods, no more faith, it’s so peaceful here“. It’s a fitting end to a true experience of an album. You will need perseverance, determination and an iron will to endure ‘Decrepit’, and the fruits of those toils will be felt in the end! (Luke Hayhurst)