Released: 2017, Weird Truth Productions
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Complaining that a funeral doom record is too long is like going to the beach and complaining that the water is too wet; you know what you’re signing up for and you should probably bring a towel. Still though, Funeralium’s latest OF THROES AND BLIGHT runs in excess of 90 minutes. That’s longer than the movies This is Spinal Tap, Stand By Me, and Office Space. Chew on that for a minute, droning funeral doom that runs longer than Milton can complain about his stapler…
But somehow it’s not obsessive or obnoxious. Merging equal parts Morgion, My Dying Bride and atmospheric resonance, if you can persevere through the duration it’s a surprisingly satisfying experience. The opening 27-minute “Slowly We Crawl Towards Crumbs” would be enough for most bands to qualify as an album on its own, but no, this is just the salad course; a salad course full of menacing progressions and spooky cadences, peppered with moments of total absence. Ready for the second course? Probably not, but strap in, here we go…
“Spit at My Face, I Will Pluck Your Tongue Out” is my favorite tune of the bunch, partially because it’s a great title, but moreso because it’s an effective use of the musical space. Half of the tune creates conflict between atonal riffs and wailing vocal pain, the latter half of embraces slow waves of distorted, hypnotic headbanging. “Vermin” seems like a breeze at a mere 10 minutes, but the closing “Vanishing Once and For All” is longer than an episode of Seinfeld, complete with commercials. It’s a bleak and exhausting artistic statement, but the cinematic scale with which it's presented makes you want to continue on.
Funeralium have a respectable track record for creating music that's both challenging and engaging, and this latest album might be the gold standard for the funeral doom movement. OF THROES AND BLIGHT is a commitment. Find the time and proper setting to immerse yourself in it entirely or don't even bother; anything less than that is missing the point.