Funeral Phantoms is the 6th full-length studio album by Danish death metal act Exmortem. The album was released in October 2008 by Mighty Music. Exmortem is one of the longer running Danish death metal acts. Their debut full-length studio album Labyrinths of Horror was released as far back as 1995. Their last album release was Nihilistic Contentment from 2005. The band have unfortunately just announced ( on the 5th of July 2010) that they´ve disbanded so Funeral Phantoms will be their last album.
The music on Funeral Phantoms is brutal death metal. The music is well balanced between heavy mid-paced and faster parts. Mostly the former though. The lyrics, the cover and the booklet are really dark and suits the music well. In the case of Funeral Phantoms the package really means a lot for the atmosphere of the album. I really enjoy the short explanations in the booklet below the lyrics where the inspirations for the lyrics are mentioned. The vocals are really convincing, growling and aggressive. While Exmortem certainly hail old school death metal aestethics on Funeral Phantoms they don´t sound too retro. They have a fresh approach to the genre, that´s greatly appreciated. I can´t pin down too many obvious influences but the song Slow Death Regimes does share some similarities with the Morbid Angel classic God of Emptiness from Covenant (1993).
The musicianship is generally excellent on the album. Note the strong drumming by Morten Siersbæk. There are some cool cymbal work going on there. I really enjoy his playing style, but the rest of the band are also very well playing.
The album was recorded at various studios in Aarhus, Denmark between November 2007 and April 2008 and mixed by Jacob Bredahl ( former Hatesphere lead vocalist) and Exmortem during May and June 2008. Allthough the album was recorded at various studios it´s not something you notice when listening to the album. All songs have a similar sound production and the album is generally very well produced. Powerful and raw.
Funeral Phantoms is one of the better Danish death metal albums I´ve heard in a while and fans of brutal and mostly mid-paced ( with occasional faster parts) death metal are recommended to check this one out. A 4 star rating is deserved. With a death metal release of this high quality it´s such a shame that the band have decided to call it quits, but at least they ended their career when they were at the top of their game.